RELIGIONS & CULTS

Answers to some of the most asked questions about religions and cults can be found here.  

Question: "What is Mormonism? What do Mormons believe?"

Answer: The Mormon religion (Mormonism), whose followers are known as Mormons and Latter-day Saints (LDS), was founded less than two hundred years ago by a man named Joseph Smith. He claimed to have received a personal visit from God the Father and Jesus Christ (Articles of Faith, p. 35) who told him that all churches and their creeds were an abomination (1 Nephi 13:28; Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith – History 1:18, 19). Joseph Smith then set out to "restore true Christianity" and claimed his church to be the “only true church on earth” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670; 1 Nephi 14:10). The problem with Mormonism is that it contradicts, modifies, and expands on the Bible. Christians do not have a reason to believe that the Bible is untrue or inadequate. To truly believe in and trust God means to believe in His Word, and all Scripture is inspired by God, which means it comes from Him (2 Timothy 3:16).

Mormons believe that there are in fact four sources of divinely inspired words, not just one: 1) the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly” (8th Article of Faith). Which verses are considered incorrectly translated is not always made clear. 2) The Book of Mormon, which was “translated” by Smith and published in 1830. Smith claimed it is the “most correct book” on earth and that a person can get closer to God by following its precepts “than by any other book” (History of the Church 4:461). 3) Doctrine and Covenants, containing a collection of modern revelations regarding the “Church of Jesus Christ as it has been restored.” 4) The Pearl of Great Price, which is considered by Mormons to “clarify” doctrines and teachings that were lost from the Bible (Articles of Faith, p. 182–185) and adds its own information about the earth’s creation.

Mormons believe the following about God: He has not always been the Supreme Being of the universe (Mormon Doctrine, p. 321) but attained that status through righteous living and persistent effort (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345). They believe God the Father has a “body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). Brigham Young taught that Adam actually was God and the father of Jesus Christ—although this teaching has been abandoned by modern Mormon leaders.

In contrast, Christians know this about God: there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6–8). He always has existed and always will exist (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17). He was not created but is the Creator (Genesis 1; Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 37:16). He is perfect, and no one else is equal to Him (Psalm 86:8; Isaiah 40:25). God the Father is not a man, nor was He ever (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hosea 11:9). He is Spirit (John 4:24), and Spirit is not made of flesh and bone (Luke 24:39).

Mormons believe that there are different levels or kingdoms in the afterlife: the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, the telestial kingdom, and outer darkness (Mormon Doctrine, p. 348). Where mankind will end up depends on what they believe and do in this life (2 Nephi 25:23; Articles of Faith, p.79).

In contrast, the Bible tells us that after death we go to heaven or hell based on whether or not we had faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. To be absent from our bodies means, as believers, we are with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6–8). Unbelievers are sent to hell or the place of the dead (Luke 16:22–23). When Jesus comes the second time, we will receive resurrected, glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50–54). There will be a new heaven and new earth for believers (Revelation 21:1), and unbelievers will be thrown into an everlasting lake of fire (Revelation 20:11–15). There is no second chance for redemption after death (Hebrews 9:27).

Mormon leaders have taught that Jesus’ incarnation was the result of a physical relationship between God the Father and Mary (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115; Mormon Doctrine, p. 547). Mormons believe Jesus is a god, but that any human can also become a god (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345–354). Mormonism teaches that salvation can be earned by a combination of faith and good works (LDS Bible Dictionary, p. 697).

Contrary to this, Christians historically have taught that no one can achieve the status of God—only He is holy (1 Samuel 2:2). 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 (John 3:16), is the only one ever to have lived a sinless life, and now has the highest place of honor in heaven (Hebrews 7:26). Jesus and God are one in essence, Jesus being the only man who existed before physical birth (John 1:1–8; 8:56). Jesus gave Himself to us as a sacrifice, God raised Him from the dead, and one day everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:6–11). Jesus tells us it is impossible to get to heaven by our own works and that only by faith in Him is it possible (Matthew 19:26). We all deserve eternal punishment for our sins, but God's infinite love and grace have allowed us a way out. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Clearly, there is only one way to receive salvation and that is to know God and His Son, Jesus (John 17:3). Receiving salvation is not done by works but by faith (Romans 1:17; 3:28). We can receive this gift no matter who we are or what we have done (Romans 3:22). “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Although Mormons are usually friendly, loving, and kind people, they are deceived by a false religion that distorts the nature of God, the Person of Jesus Christ, and the means of salvation.

(Editor’s note: many of the references in our articles on Mormonism are Mormon publications, such as Mormon Doctrine, Articles of Faith, Doctrines of Salvation, History of the Church, Doctrine and Covenants, and so forth. Others are from the Book of Mormon itself, e.g., books such as 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, and Alma.)

Question: "Who are the Jehovah's Witnesses and what are their beliefs?"

Answer: The sect known today as the Jehovah's Witnesses started out in Pennsylvania in 1870 as a Bible class led by Charles Taze Russell. Russell named his group the “Millennial Dawn Bible Study.” Charles T. Russell began writing a series of books he called “The Millennial Dawn,” which stretched to six volumes before his death and contained much of the theology Jehovah’s Witnesses now hold. After Russell's death in 1916, Judge J. F. Rutherford, Russell's friend and successor, wrote the seventh and final volume of the “Millennial Dawn” series, “The Finished Mystery,” in 1917. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was founded in 1886 and quickly became the vehicle through which the “Millennial Dawn” movement began distributing their views to others. The group was known as the “Russellites” until 1931 when, due to a split in the organization, it was renamed the “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The group from which it split became known as the “Bible students.”

What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe? Close scrutiny of their doctrinal position on such subjects as the deity of Christ, salvation, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and the atonement shows beyond a doubt that they do not hold to orthodox Christian positions on these subjects. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the archangel, the highest created being. This contradicts many Scriptures which clearly declare Jesus to be God (John 1:1,14, 8:58, 10:30). Jehovah’s Witnesses believe salvation is obtained by a combination of faith, good works, and obedience. This contradicts countless scriptures which declare salvation to be received by grace through faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the Trinity, believing Jesus to be a created being and the Holy Spirit to essentially be the inanimate power of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the concept of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and instead hold to a ransom theory, that Jesus’ death was a ransom payment for Adam’s sin.

How do the Jehovah’s Witnesses justify these unbiblical doctrines? First, they claim that the church has corrupted the Bible over the centuries; thus, they have re-translated the Bible into what they call the New World Translation. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society altered the text of the Bible to make it fit their false doctrine, rather than basing their doctrine on what the Bible actually teaches. The New World Translation has gone through numerous editions, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses discover more and more Scriptures that contradict their doctrines.

The Watchtower bases its beliefs and doctrines on the original and expanded teachings of Charles Taze Russell, Judge Joseph Franklin Rutherford, and their successors. The governing body of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the only body in the cult that claims authority to interpret Scripture. In other words, what the governing body says concerning any scriptural passage is viewed as the last word, and independent thinking is strongly discouraged. This is in direct opposition to Paul's admonition to Timothy (and to us as well) to study to be approved by God, so that we need not be ashamed as we correctly handle the Word of God. This admonition, found in 2 Timothy 2:15, is a clear instruction from God to each of His children to be like the Berean Christians, who searched the Scriptures daily to see if the things they were being taught lined up with the Word.

There is probably no religious group that is more faithful than the Jehovah’s Witnesses at getting their message out. Unfortunately, the message is full of distortions, deceptions, and false doctrine. May God open the eyes of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the truth of the gospel and the true teaching of God’s Word.

Recommended Resource: Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses, Updated and Expanded by Ron Rhodes.

Please note - by this article, we are not claiming that all who are involved in Freemasonry are cultists, or that all Freemasons believe all the items mentioned below. What we are saying is this - Freemasonry at its core is not a Christian organization. There are many Christians who have left Freemasonry after discovering what it is truly all about. Please visit Ex-Masons for Jesus for more information. There are also good and godly men, true believers in Christ who are Freemasons. It is our contention that this is because they do not truly understand Freemasonry. Each person should pray for wisdom and discernment from the Lord as to whether to be involved with Freemasonry. This article was reviewed and approved for accuracy by a former Worshipful Master of a Blue Lodge.

Question: "What is Free Masonry and what do Free Masons believe?"

Answer: Freemasonry, Eastern Star, and other similar "secret" organizations appear to be harmless fellowship gatherings. Many of them appear to promote belief in God. However, upon closer examination, we find that the only belief requirement is not that one must believe in the True and Living God, but rather, that one must believe in the existence of a “Supreme Being”, which includes the “gods” of Islam, Hinduism, or any other world religion. The unbiblical and anti-Christian beliefs and practices of this organization are partially hidden beneath an outward appearance of a supposed compatibility with the Christian faith. The following is a comparison of what the Bible says with the "official" position of Freemasonry:

Salvation from Sin:

The Bible’s View: Jesus became the sinner’s sacrifice before God when He shed His blood and died as the propitiation (payment) for the sins of all those who would ever believe (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:8, John 3:16).

Mason’s View: The very process of joining the Lodge requires Christians to ignore the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. According to Freemasonry, a person will be saved and go to heaven as a result of his good works and personal self-improvement.

The View of the Bible:

The Bible’s View: The supernatural and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures—that they are inerrant and that their teachings and authority are absolute, supreme, and final. The Bible is the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Mason’s View: The Bible is only one of several “Volume(s) of Sacred Law,” all of which are deemed to be equally important in Freemasonry. The Bible is an important book, only as far as those members who claim to be Christians are concerned, just as the Koran is important to Muslims. The Bible is not considered to be the exclusive Word of God, nor is it considered to be God’s sole revelation of himself to humankind; but only one of many religious sourcebooks. It is a good guide for morality. The Bible is used primarily as a symbol of God’s will, which can also be captured in other sacred texts, like the Koran or Rig Vedas.

The Doctrine of God:

The Bible’s View: There is one God. The various names of God refer to the God of Israel and reveal certain attributes of God. To worship other gods or to call upon other deities is idolatry (Exodus 20:3). Paul spoke of idolatry as a heinous sin (1 Corinthians 10:14) and John said that idolaters will perish in hell (Revelation 21:8).

Mason’s View: All members must believe in a deity. Different religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.) acknowledge the same God, only call Him different names. Freemasonry invites people of all faiths, even if they use different names for the ‘Nameless One of a hundred names,’ they are yet praying to the one God and Father of all.

The Doctrine of Jesus and the Trinity:

The Bible’s View: Jesus was God in human form (Matthew 1:18-24, John 1:1). Jesus is the second person of the trinity (Matthew 28:19, Mark 1:9-11). While on earth, He was fully human (Mark 4:38, Matthew 4:2) and fully divine (John 20:28, John 1:1-2, Acts 4:10-12). Christians should pray in Jesus’ name and proclaim Him before others, regardless of offense to non-Christians (John 14:13-14, 1 John 2:23, Acts 4:18-20).

Mason’s View: There is no exclusivity in Jesus Christ or the Triune God who is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; therefore there is no doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ. It is deemed to be un-Masonic to invoke the name of Jesus when praying, or mention His name in the Lodge. Suggesting that Jesus is the only way to God contradicts the principle of tolerance. The name of Jesus has been omitted from biblical verses that are used in Masonic rituals. Jesus is on the same level as other religious leaders.

Human Nature and Sin:

The Bible’s View: All humans are born with a sinful nature, are totally depraved, and need a Savior from sin (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, Psalm 51:5, Ephesians 2:1). The Bible denies that because of the Fall, humanity has within itself the capacity for moral perfection (1 John 1:8-10, Romans 1:18-25).

Mason’s View: Through symbols and emblems, Masons teach that man is not sinful, just “rude and imperfect by nature”. Human beings are able to improve their character and behavior in various ways, including acts of charity, moral living, and voluntary performance of civic duty. Humanity possesses the ability of moving from imperfection toward total perfection. Moral and spiritual perfection lies within men and women.

When a Christian takes the oath of Freemasonry, he is swearing to the following doctrines that God has pronounced false and sinful:

1. That salvation can be gained by man’s good works.
2. That Jesus is just one of many equally revered prophets.
3. That they will remain silent in the Lodge and not talk of Christ.
4. That they are approaching the Lodge in spiritual darkness and ignorance, when the Bible says Christians are already in the light, children of the light, and are indwelt by the Light of the World—Jesus Christ.
5. By demanding that Christians take the Masonic oath, Masonry leads Christians into blasphemy and taking the name of the Lord in vain.
6. Masonry teaches that its G.A.O.T.U. [Great Architect of the Universe], whom Masonry believes is the true God of the universe, is representative of all gods in all religions.
7. Masonry makes Christians take a universalist approach in their prayers, demanding a “generic” name be used so as not to offend non-believers who are Masonic “brothers”.
8. By swearing the Masonic oath and participating in the doctrines of the Lodge, Christians are perpetuating a false gospel to other Lodge members, who look only to Masonry’s plan of salvation to get to heaven. By their very membership in such a syncretistic type organization, they have severely compromised their witnessing as Christians.
9. By taking the Masonic obligation, the Christian is agreeing to allow the pollution of his mind, spirit, and body by those who serve false gods and believe false doctrines.

As you can see, Masonry denies and contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture and numerous issues. Masonry also requires people to engage in activities which the Bible condemns. As a result, a Christian should not be a member of any secret society or organization that has any connection with Freemasonry.

Again, for more information, we strongly recommend Ex-Masons for Jesus.

Question: "What is Judaism and what do Jews believe?"

Answer: What is Judaism, and who or what is a Jew? Is Judaism simply a religion? Is it a cultural identity or just an ethnic group? Are Jews a clan of people or are they a nation? What do Jews believe, and do they all believe the same things?

Dictionary definitions of a “Jew” include “a member of the tribe of Judah,” “an Israelite,” “a member of a nation existing in the land of Israel from the 6th century B.C. to the 1st century A.D.,” “a person belonging to a continuation through descent or conversion of the ancient Jewish people,” and “one whose religion is Judaism.”

According to rabbinical Judaism, a Jew is one who has a Jewish mother or one who has formally converted to Judaism. Leviticus 24:10 is often cited to give this belief credibility, although the Torah makes no specific claim in support of this tradition. Some rabbis say that it has nothing to do with what the individual actually believes. These rabbis tell us that a Jew does not need to be a follower of Jewish laws and customs to be considered Jewish. In fact, a Jew can have no belief in God at all and still be Jewish based on the above rabbinical interpretation.

Other rabbis make it clear that unless the person follows the precepts of the Torah and accepts the “Thirteen Principles of Faith” of Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, one of the greatest medieval Jewish scholars), he cannot be a Jew. Although this person may be a “biological” Jew, he has no real connection to Judaism.

In the Torah—the first five books of the Bible—Genesis 14:13 teaches that Abram, commonly recognized as the first Jew, was described as a “Hebrew.” The name “Jew” comes from the name of Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob and one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Apparently the name “Jew” originally referred only to those who were members of the tribe of Judah, but when the kingdom was divided after the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 12), the term referred to anyone in the kingdom of Judah, which included the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. Today, many believe that a Jew is anyone who is a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, regardless of which of the original twelve tribes he descends from.

So, what is it that Jews believe, and what are the basic precepts of Judaism? There are five main forms or sects of Judaism in the world today. They are Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, Reconstructionist, and Humanistic. The beliefs and requirements in each group differ dramatically; however, a short list of the traditional beliefs of Judaism would include the following:

God is the creator of all that exists; He is one, incorporeal (without a body), and He alone is to be worshipped as absolute ruler of the universe.

The first five books of the Hebrew Bible were revealed to Moses by God. They will not be changed or augmented in the future.

God has communicated to the Jewish people through prophets.

God monitors the activities of humans; He rewards individuals for good deeds and punishes evil.

Although Christians base much of their faith on the same Hebrew Scriptures as Jews do, there are major differences in belief: Jews generally consider actions and behavior to be of primary importance; beliefs come out of actions. This conflicts with conservative Christians for whom belief is of primary importance and actions are a result of that belief.

Jewish belief does not accept the Christian concept of original sin (the belief that all people have inherited Adam and Eve's sin when they disobeyed God's instructions in the Garden of Eden).

Judaism affirms the inherent goodness of the world and its people as creations of God.

Jewish believers are able to sanctify their lives and draw closer to God by fulfilling mitzvoth (divine commandments).

No savior is needed or is available as an intermediary.

The 613 commandments found in Leviticus and other books regulate all aspects of Jewish life. The Ten Commandments, as delineated in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, form a brief synopsis of the Law.

The Messiah (anointed one of God) will arrive in the future and gather Jews once more into the land of Israel. There will be a general resurrection of the dead at that time. The Jerusalem Temple, destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans, will be rebuilt.

Beliefs about Jesus vary considerably. Some view Him as a great moral teacher. Others see Him as a false prophet or as an idol of Christianity. Some sects of Judaism will not even say His name due to the prohibition against saying an idol's name.

The Jews are often referred to as God's chosen people. This does not mean that they are in any way to be considered superior to other groups. Bible verses such as Exodus 19:5 simply state that God has selected Israel to receive and study the Torah, to worship God only, to rest on the Sabbath, and to celebrate the festivals. Jews were not chosen to be better than others; they were simply selected to be a light to the Gentiles and to be a blessing to all the nations.

Question: "What is Christian Science?"

Answer: Christian Science was begun by Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910), who pioneered new ideas about spirituality and health. Inspired by her own experience of healing in 1866, Eddy spent years in Bible study, prayer, and research of various healing methods. The result was a system of healing she dubbed “Christian Science” in 1879. Her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, broke new ground in the understanding of the mind-body-spirit connection. She went on to found a college, a church, a publishing enterprise, and the respected newspaper “The Christian Science Monitor.” Because of its similarity to other groups, many believe Christian Science to be a non-Christian cult.

Christian Science teaches that God—Father-Mother of all—is completely good and wholly spiritual and that all God's creation, including the true nature of every person, is the flawless spiritual likeness of the Divine. Since God’s creation is good, evils such as disease, death, and sin cannot be a part of fundamental reality. Rather, these evils are the result of living apart from God. Prayer is a central way to come closer to God and heal human ills. This differs from the Bible, which teaches that man is born in sin inherited from Adam’s fall and that sin separates us from God. Without God’s saving grace through the death of Christ on the cross, we would never be healed of the ultimate sickness—sin.

Rather than teaching that Jesus heals our spiritual sickness (see Isaiah 53:5), Christian Scientists see Jesus’ ministry as their own paradigm for healing, believing it demonstrates the centrality of healing in regard to salvation. Christian Scientists pray to realize more of the reality of God and God's love daily and to experience and help others experience the harmonizing, healing effects of this understanding.

For most Christian Scientists, spiritual healing is an effective first choice and, as a result, they turn to the power of prayer in lieu of medical treatment. Government authorities have occasionally challenged this approach, especially in circumstances when medical treatment is withheld from minors. However, there is no church policy mandating members' health-care decisions.

Christian Science has no ministers. Rather, the Bible and Science and Health act as pastor and preacher. Bible lessons are studied daily and read aloud on Sunday by two elected lay members of each local congregation. Christian Science churches also hold weekly testimonial meetings, at which congregation members relate experiences of healing and regeneration.

Of all the “Christian” cults in existence, “Christian Science” is the most inaccurately named. Christian Science is neither Christian nor based on science. Christian Science denies all the core truths of what makes a system “Christian.” Christian Science is, in fact, opposed to science and points to mystical new-age spirituality as the path for physical and spiritual healing. Christian Science should be recognized and rejected as the anti-Christian cult that it is.
 

Question: "What is Seventh-day Adventism (SDA), and what do Seventh-day Adventists believe?"

Answer: Seventh-day Adventism is a sect of Christianity that believes, among other things, that worship services should be conducted on the “seventh day” (the Sabbath) instead of on Sunday. There seem to be different "degrees" of Seventh-day Adventism. Some Seventh-day Adventists believe identically to orthodox Christians, other than holding to the Saturday Sabbath. Other Adventists, however, go much further into aberrant doctrine.

Seventh-day Adventism has its roots in Adventism, a 19th-century movement that anticipated the imminent appearance (or advent) of Jesus Christ. The Adventists were also called Millerites because their group was founded by William Miller, a false prophet who predicted Jesus would return in either 1843 or 1844. When Miller’s prediction of Christ’s second coming failed to come to pass, the Millerites disbanded in dismay; this event became known as “the Great Disappointment.” But then a couple of Miller’s followers claimed to have visions to account for the failed prophecy. Instead of coming to earth, Jesus had entered the heavenly temple—thus, Miller was right, after all, they said, except his prophecy had a spiritual fulfillment instead of a physical one. One of the seers who covered for Miller was 17-year-old Ellen G. Harmon, who had her first of 2,000 purported visions in a prayer meeting shortly after Miller’s disgrace. With her vision, Ellen soon became a beacon of hope for disillusioned Millerites. She united Adventist factions and became the spiritual guide for a new religious group.

In 1846, Ellen married James White, an Adventist preacher. Soon they became convinced that Sabbath-keeping was for all Christians. In 1847, Ellen G. White had another vision—this one confirming her new belief that Sabbath-keeping was to be a primary doctrine. The Adventists under Ellen G. White’s influence became Seventh-day Adventists. Ellen G. White’s many visions and writings—she was a prolific writer—greatly shaped the doctrine of Seventh-day Adventism. Today, most Seventh-day Adventists still consider Ellen White to be a prophetess of God, even though many of her prophecies failed to come true. In fact, Seventh-day Adventists consider Revelation 19:10 (“the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”) to be a reference to Ellen G. White’s writings.

In 1855, the Seventh-day Adventists settled in Battle Creek, Michigan, and in May 1863 the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was officially incorporated. In the next five decades, Ellen G. White wrote nearly 10,000 pages of prophetic material. Included in the visions was the doctrine of “The Great Controversy,” a cosmic war being waged between Jesus and His angelic army and Satan and his. Other visions dealt with healthy eating habits, which Mrs. White called “the gospel of health” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 327). Seventh-day Adventism places restrictions on consuming meat, or “flesh food,” as Adventists call it. “Flesh food is injurious to health, and whatever affects the body has a corresponding effect on the mind and the soul” (The Ministry of Healing, Chapter 24: “Flesh as Food,” p. 316). It is no surprise that, after requiring Sabbath-keeping, Adventists began to add other elements of legalism into their creed.

Interestingly, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was an Adventist creation: John Harvey Kellogg was a Seventh-day Adventist doctor in Battle Creek who wanted to manufacture a “healthy” vegetarian alternative to “unhealthy” breakfasts containing meat. Meanwhile, Mrs. White kept having visions, and she began teaching the unorthodox doctrines of soul sleep and annihilationism (which contradicts Matthew 25:46).

Other problematic doctrines in Seventh-day Adventism include the teaching that Satan is the “scapegoat” and will bear believers’ sins (The Great Controversy, p. 422, 485)—this is the opposite of what the Bible says about who bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24). Seventh-day Adventism also identifies Jesus as Michael the archangel (Jude 1:9, Clear Word Bible, published by Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1994)—a doctrine that denies the true nature of Christ—and teaches that Jesus entered a second phase of His redemptive work on October 22, 1844, as prophesied by Hiram Edson. And, of course, the Adventist promotion of Sabbath-keeping as a primary doctrine goes against the teaching of Scripture on the matter (see Romans 14:5).

Seventh-Day Adventism is a diverse movement, and not all SDA groups hold to all the doctrines mentioned above. But all Seventh-Day Adventists should seriously consider the following: a recognized prophetess in their church was a teacher of aberrant doctrine, and their church has its roots in the failed prophecies of William Miller.

So, should a Christian attend a Seventh-day Adventist church? Due to the penchant of Adventists to accept extra-biblical revelation and the doctrinal issues mentioned above, we would strongly encourage believers to not get involved in Seventh-day Adventism. Yes, a person can be an advocate of Seventh-day Adventism and still be a believer. At the same time, there are enough potential risks to warn us against joining a Seventh-day Adventist church.

Question: "What is Islam, and what do Muslims believe?"

Answer: Islam is a religious system begun in the seventh century by Muhammad. Muslims follow the teachings of the Qur’an and strive to keep the Five Pillars.

The History of Islam
In the seventh century, Muhammad claimed the angel Gabriel visited him. During these angelic visitations, which continued for about 23 years until Muhammad's death, 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.”

The Doctrine of Islam
Muslims summarize their doctrine in six articles of faith:
1. Belief in one Allah: Muslims believe Allah is one, eternal, creator, and sovereign.
2. Belief in the angels
3. Belief in the prophets: The prophets include the biblical prophets but end with Muhammad as Allah’s final prophet.
4. Belief in the revelations of Allah: Muslims accept certain portions of the Bible, such as the Torah and the Gospels. They believe the Qur'an is the preexistent, perfect word of Allah.
5. Belief in the last day of judgment and the hereafter: Everyone will be resurrected for judgment into either paradise or hell.
6. Belief in predestination: Muslims believe Allah has decreed everything that will happen. Muslims testify to Allah’s sovereignty with their frequent phrase, inshallah, meaning, “if God wills.”

The Five Pillars of Islam
These five tenets compose the framework of obedience for Muslims:
1. The testimony of faith (shahada): “la ilaha illa allah. Muhammad rasul Allah.” This means, “There is no deity but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” A person can convert to Islam by stating this creed. The shahada shows that a Muslim believes in Allah alone as deity and believes that Muhammad reveals Allah.
2. Prayer (salat): Five ritual prayers must be performed every day.
3. Giving (zakat): This almsgiving is a certain percentage given once a year.
4. Fasting (sawm): Muslims fast during Ramadan in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. They must not eat or drink from dawn until sunset.
5. Pilgrimage (hajj): If physically and financially possible, a Muslim must make the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia at least once. The hajj is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.

A Muslim's entrance into paradise hinges on obedience to these Five Pillars. Still, Allah may reject them. Even Muhammad was not sure whether Allah would admit him to paradise (Surah 46:9; Hadith 5.266).

An Evaluation of Islam
Compared to Christianity, Islam has some similarities but significant differences. Like Christianity, Islam is monotheistic. However, Muslims reject the Trinity—that God has revealed Himself as one in three Persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Muslims claim that Jesus was one of the most important prophets—not God’s Son. Islam asserts that Jesus, though born of a virgin, was created like Adam. Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross. They do not understand why Allah would allow His prophet Isa (the Islamic word for "Jesus") to die a torturous death. Yet the Bible shows how the death of the perfect Son of God was essential to pay for the sins of believers (Isaiah 53:5-6; John 3:16; 14:6; 1 Peter 2:24).

Islam teaches that the Qur'an is the final authority and the last revelation of Allah. The Bible, however, was completed in the first century with the Book of Revelation. 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). The Qur’an, as a claimed addition to God’s Word, directly disobeys God’s command.

Muslims believe that paradise can be earned through keeping the Five Pillars. The Bible, in contrast, reveals that sinful man can never measure up to the holy God (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Only by God’s grace may sinners be saved through repentant faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Because of these essential differences and contradictions, Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. The Bible and Qur’an cannot both be God’s Word. The truth has eternal consequences.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-4; see also John 3:35-36).

The information below was gathered from GotQuestions.org.  For more information on Religions & Cults, please click here: https://www.gotquestions.org/questions_cults-religions.html