Oxygen’s attraction to iron causes the formation of iron oxide (FeO), better known as rust, and while that’s a problem, this attraction between the two elements is needed for our survival. It’s iron in the hemoglobin of red blood cells that attracts oxygen we inhale. We’re in trouble if we inhale carbon monoxide (CO), a molecule similar to oxygen (O2). One of these molecules is two oxygen atoms combined (oxygen atoms are never alone); the other is one oxygen atom and one carbon atom combined. Carbon monoxide is similar enough to oxygen that when it enters the bloodstream it attaches to hemoglobin just as oxygen does. What makes this deadly is oxygen can’t be pumped throughout the body when carbon monoxide takes its place. You can’t live by breathing a gas similar to oxygen. You need the real thing. It’s no different with doctrine taught in a church. Anything unbiblical that takes the place of the real thing will cause spiritual death. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 14:12)
People who attend a church that’s “close enough” to true Christianity have no direction and are disoriented like the birds that die by crashing into skyscrapers, mistaking artificial lights for the stars they use to navigate. Artificial doctrine will kill a person spiritually, and to say the same Scripture can have more than one interpretation is to basically say the Bible serves no purpose. If people felt the same way about textbooks as some do about the Bible, everyone could be a straight-A student without knowing fact from fiction. It would be even scarier if laws worked that way. How could anyone be found guilty of a crime if there’s no agreement on what a crime is? The apostle Peter warned that people who distort the meaning of Scripture do so to their own destruction (II Pet. 3:16). Sadly, there are probably people who interpret this to mean something other than what it clearly says.
There should be no mistake that undistorted information is of the highest quality. In our digital age, video and audio recordings can be copied and recopied over and over again without distortion, because each digital copy contains the exact same series of digits that encoded the information for the original. Analog recordings, however, are prone to distortion and yield copies that are merely analogous to the original. Each copy of a copy is more distorted than the one before it, and some people believe the same is true of the books of the Bible, which have also been copied and recopied over time. I refuted that claim in my essay called Christianity Among Other Religions. God saw to it that Scripture was preserved over the ages, so there’s no excuse for altering what has never changed.
If believing in Jesus was all it took to attain eternal life, the Bible wouldn’t warn of false teachers. The apostle John warned about some of them in his day who taught that Jesus was an apparition with no physical body. Regarding them he wrote, “This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (II John 7) So what are we to make of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who deny Jesus is God? They teach false doctrine, and unfortunately many mainstream churches do the same. It’s an issue the apostle Paul addressed in his first letter to Timothy (I Tim. 4:1-3), who stayed in Ephesus to ensure false doctrine wasn’t taught in the Ephesian church. Every Christian should study Scripture to avoid becoming the prey of these “false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Even the evangelist Billy Graham was a false teacher who denied Jesus is the only way to Heaven before his death, though he was going astray long before then. In a January 1978 interview for McCall’s magazine, he said, “I’ve found that my beliefs are essentially the same as those of orthodox Roman Catholics.” Essentially the same is not the same, and God rejects all diluted versions of Christianity.
Besides calling false teachers antichrists (II John 7), John warned the recipients of this letter not to welcome false teachers into their houses, which they used as makeshift churches. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (II John 10, 11) No matter how similar a doctrine may be to biblical truth, if it’s not fully true, it should not be welcomed. Out of all the pseudo-Christian religions, Roman Catholicism is the greatest threat to true Christianity. It has the largest following and an astounding influence over the world. Most troubling is the kind of control popes have over followers. Catholics believe popes are descendants of the apostle Peter, founder of the first church in Rome, and so each pope is alleged to have perfect judgment regarding matters of faith. Even Peter didn’t have that perfection (Gal. 2:11-16), so popes definitely don’t have it.
In my essay called Signs of the End I give reasons why we should expect the False Prophet to be the last pope. As a master deceiver, he won’t look evil on the outside. He’ll have the appearance of a lamb and speak as a dragon (Rev. 13:11). I can’t say at this time whether or not Pope Francis is that man, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he is. Instead of speaking out against sin, as a man of God should, he has said, “Who am I to judge?” That was a pleasing statement for people who want an excuse to sin, and this pope is so appealing that people of other religions are saying, “He’s my pope too!” Then I find this YouTube video about Francis in the Middle East and his quest to unite people of all religions. If Francis isn’t the foretold False Prophet, he has certainly set an example that will make things easier for whoever that man may be. His message of peace and unity at the cost of sound biblical doctrine is a deception straight from Satan’s playbook. Don’t be deceived! Paul warned there would be a falling away from true Christianity before the Antichrist becomes the god of an apostate world religion (II Thes. 2:1-4). Roman Catholicism is leading the way, and if you’re Catholic, I want you to know I’m not trying to put you down. I’m trying to lift you up out of a destructive organization. I care about you, and I don’t want you to be led astray.
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