Hindu religion has somewhere around 330 million gods (polytheistic).
It also has one god, Brahma, that is supreme. Hindus believe Brahma is
both impersonal and unknowable and inhabits every portion of reality and
existence throughout the universe. Brahma is believed to exist in three
separate forms: Brahma — Creator, Vishnu — Preserver, and Shiva —
Destroyer. Trying to explain what Hindus believe is like trying to
explain gravity. Suffice it to say that there are a wide variety of core
beliefs and sects in the Hindu religion.
What are your thoughts on this article?
The religion of
Islam believes in one God (monotheistic), Allah. Muslims hold that
Allah is the only true God and that Muhammad was Allah's prophet.
"Muslim" means "one who submits to Allah."
Buddhism has an elaborate theology of deities and exalted beings. I
must elaborate a bit here. "Buddhism can be hard to pin down as to its
view of God. Some streams of Buddhism could legitimately be called
atheistic, while others could be called pantheistic, and still others
theistic, such as Pure Land Buddhism. Classical Buddhism, however, tends
to be silent on the reality of an ultimate being and is therefore
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
teaches that God "has not always been the Supreme Being of the universe,
but attained that status through righteous living and persistent effort.
They believe God the Father has a "body of flesh and bones as tangible
as man's." As well, Mormons believe the true faith was restored through
its founder Joseph Smith and that the entire structure of Christian
orthodoxy is corrupt and false.
The great confrontation of this century is between the
New Age movement (NAM) and historic, orthodox Christianity. NAM is a
hodge-podge of such Christian cults as New Thought, Unity School of
Christianity, Religious Science, religions of the Far East (specifically
Hinduism and Buddhism) as well as spiritism, theosophy, scientism,
mysticism and many other pagan beliefs.
NAM holds to monism, we are one and pantheism, all-is-God. New Agers
believe in "humanity's fall into ignorance and the gradual ascent into
enlightenment." They receive enlightenment through mystical spiritual
experiences and spiritual searching.
You can create your own reality say New Agers. "As your thoughts are so
is your life." Because thoughts have a power of their own, whatever
thoughts you send out into the "universe" will come back to you. Their
faith is in the power of positive thinking. "A positive mind anticipates
happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and
action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds."
One New Ager describes God in this fashion: "Our daily reality is not
only a matter of connection with God or Universal Consciousness. We are
in fact, actually composed of the same essence as that which is called
God....we are as 'cells in the infinite body of God.' There are no
ultimate boundaries in the cosmos. The universe is actually composed of
the very same underlying substance in all places, peoples, and times. We
are all 'made of God,' or in other words, Consciousness."
Many New Agers consider themselves Christians.
Here's why they are not. A true Christian believes in a personal God. We
believe there is one God (monotheism), the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob. Traditional orthodox Christianity, which is the objective
standard by which to define what is and is not Christianity, holds to a
belief in the Trinity.
The doctrine of the Trinity is the most basic Christian belief of all.
Trinitarians hold that God eternally exists in three persons, the
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There never was a time when God was not,
nor was there a time when the Son and Spirit were not. In other words,
the three Persons of the Godhead have eternally existed. However, the
Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, the Father is not the
Spirit and so forth. In essence, they are one in nature (nature
describes what it is to be God) with three separate, distinct
personalities. When Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit, He used the
personal pronoun, referring to the Spirit as a person, not a "force," as
the cults believe. "The
Holy Spirit is a person who can be grieved (Eph 4:30), bear witness
(1 John 5:7), and teach (John 14:26) among many other things." (For more
info on the Trinity check the links below.)
Individuals do not have to understand the Trinity to be saved.
However, a belief in the Trinity is essential. It is not a
peripheral issue Christians can vigorously debate but not divide over.
How you baptize; the sign gifts; eschatology (future things);
instruments or no instruments in churches are non-essentials. "In
essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love."
The Trinity is a central doctrine of Christianity, as are the authority
of Scripture; Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man; Christ was born
of a virgin; He led a sinless life; He died to atone for our sins; He
was bodily resurrected from the dead and will come again in power and
glory to judge the world and deliver His people.
THE BODY OF CHRIST
Protestants (evangelicals) hold to the view that the Bible — the
inspired Word of God — is the sole authority (sola Scriptura) for
establishing and confirming our Christian beliefs — not the Pope of Rome
or any other person, alive of dead. The Bible says that salvation cannot
be obtained through our "good works." Salvation comes by faith alone (sola
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved
us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with
Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and
made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the
ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his
kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved
through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of
works, lest any man should boast" (Eph 2:4-9). (See also John 11:25,
John 14:6, John 6:40, Rom 10:13, Gal 3:26)
Let Us Reason Ministries has an article posted on its website "Salvation,
A hidden teaching of the Roman Catholic church" that details Roman
Catholic's completely different approach to salvation:
"They combine elements from the Old Testament (ie. priesthood, dress,
rituals etc.), as the means of grace is dispensed by the priest and
through the church.
"Canon 4 'If anyone shall say that the sacraments are not necessary for
salvation, but are superfluous, and that, although all are not necessary
for every individual, without them or without the desire of them,
through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification; let
him be anathema.'"
"According to Catholic teaching, 'Baptism is a sacrament which
cleanses us from original sin, makes us children of God and heirs of
heaven.' 'Baptism is necessary to salvation, because without it we
cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.'
"Catholics also believe that water by baptism takes away their original
sins. Baptism becomes the means of cleansing."
As for the
Eastern Orthodox view of justification by faith:
"[T]he doctrine of justification by faith is virtually absent from
the history and theology of the Orthodox Church. Rather, Orthodoxy
emphasizes theosis (literally, "divinization"), the gradual process by
which Christians become more and more like Christ. What many in the
Orthodox tradition fail to understand is that "divinization" is the
progressive result of salvation, not a requirement for salvation itself.
... The call of the Reformers for 'Scripture alone, faith alone, grace
alone, and Christ alone' is missing in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and
that is too precious a treasure to do without."
Protestants, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox affirm the Trinity.
To begin with the Body of Christ should have a thorough knowledge of the
essential doctrines of the faith. Additionally, believers should at
least know what the Person they have committed their lives to and to His
discipleship had to say about life's most pressing issues. I will go out
on a limb and say that most professing Christians do not have a clue
what Jesus taught about most things. Hello! The very words of Christ are
preserved in the pages of Scripture — and He has a lot to say!
No one is born into Christianity. Authentic Christians have made
a confession of faith. Romans 10:9-11 says:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt
believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou
shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and
with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture
saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."
Moreover, followers of Jesus are commanded to "earnestly contend for the
faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3) And by the way,
we are not given a choice in the matter. The last thing Jesus told his
disciples to do was, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to
every creature. (Mark 15:15). How can a person preach the gospel if
he/she hasn't the foggiest notion what the
true gospel is? Gospel means "good news" and the good news is:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"
(John 3:16). The bad news is: "He that believeth on him is not
condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he
hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John
3:18). (Read more
NOW TO THE BURNING QUESTION...
Are you praying to the only true God? For those who are not regenerate
(born again) Christians, the answer is a resounding No! As I said above,
God does not hear anyone's prayer unless it is put into words by the
At this point readers are wondering: Does God even hear, act on, or
grant the prayers of unbelievers? Dr. John MacArthur was asked this very
question. In response he said, "A strict yes or no answer is difficult
without qualifying the answer in various ways." He then offered 15
reasons for unanswered prayer:
1. Who have personal and selfish motives. (James 4:3).
2. Who regard iniquity in their hearts. (Psalm 66:18).
3. Who remain in sin. (John 9:31).
4. Who offer unworthy service to God. (Malachi 1:7-9).
5. Who forsake God. (Jeremiah 14:10-12).
6. Who reject God's call. (Proverbs 1:24-25, 28).
7. Who will not heed God's law. (Zechariah 7:11-13).
8. Who turn a deaf ear to the cry of the poor. (Proverbs 21:13).
9. Who are violent. (Isaiah 1:15; see also 59:2-3).
10. Who worship idols. (Jeremiah 11:11-14; see also Ezekiel 8:15-18).
11. Who have no faith. (James 1:6-7).
12. Who are living in hypocrisy. (Luke 12:1).
13. Who are proud of heart. (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).
14. Who are self-righteous. (Luke 18:11-14).
15. Who mistreat God's people. (Psalm 18:40-41).
Writer and preacher John Bunyon gave us this insight into prayer:
"Prayer is a pouring out of the heart to God, through Christ, in the
strength of the Spirit, for such things as God has promised. Prayer must
be within the compass of God's Word; it is blasphemy or at best
babbling, when the petition is beside the Book. David therefore in his
prayers kept his eye on the Word of God: 'My soul cleaves to the dust;
quicken me according to Your Word.'
"'Remember Your Word to Your servant, on which you have caused me to
hope.' Indeed the Holy Spirit does not immediately quicken and stir up
the heart of the Christian without, but by, in and through the Word. The
Spirit, by the Word, directs the manner as well as the matter of
Someone one said that we argue our case with God, not to convince Him,
but to convince ourselves. God is not a cosmic sugar daddy as the
prosperity preachers would have us believe. Biblical prayer is to bring
Christians into conformity with God's will. When we don't know how to
pray according to God's will, "the Spirit of God intercedes for us
according to the will of God" (Rom 8:27).
"What is it to pray according to God's will?" asked John Cotton.
"When we pray for things which are agreeable to God's will, i.e. His
revealed will; we should ask for nothing but what He commands us . . .
for those things we have warrant to pray."
Further Study on the doctrine of the Trinity:
What is the Trinity — By Let Us Reason Ministries
Trinity — By Theopedia
Jonathan Edwards essay on the Trinity (heavy reading for some of us)
Sovereignty of God and Prayer — By John Piper
Justification through Faith Alone — By Zacharias Ursinus
Don't we all believe in the same God, but try to know Him in different
ways? — By Watcher's Lamp
Communion with God — By John Owen
© Marsha West