“ISMS” vs. Biblical Authority (5-28-06 300k)

“ISM’s” vs. Biblical
Definition: “ism” is a suffix, or that which is fixed to
the end of a word. It indicates a system of belief, a
doctrine, a theory, a cult, a class of principles.
Here is an incomplete list of some of the more often
mentioned ones, and a brief definition of them:
ATHEISM = The belief that there is no God;
godless-ness, or no-God-ism (from “a”= no, and
“theos” = God)
SKEPTICISM = The doctrine that all knowledge is
un-certain; doubt and uncertainty as to the
truthfulness of Christianity; unbelief.
ISM’s Continued 2
MODERNISM = it is a disbelief in the deity of Jesus, denies
the inspiration of the Bible, resurrection, miracles, creation
by God, Judgment Day, Heaven and Hell.
RATIONALISM = The theory that human reason is the
superior source of knowledge; rejection of divine revelation
and all that cannot be explained to the satisfaction of
(some) human thinking.
CALVINISM = The doctrines originating with John Calvin,
including total depravity, unconditional predestination,
limited atonement, irresistible grace and the perseverance
of the saints.
ISM’s Continued 3
UNIVERSALISM = The teaching that all men will be saved;
universal salvation. All heaven, no hell.
DENOMINATIONALISM = The doctrine that Christ’s church
consists of many, or all of the sects and parties professing
Christianity; sectarianism. “Church universal,” or “mystic
body of Christ.” (“Christ saves, not the church.” The church
is the saved!)
ROMAN CATHOLICISM = The beliefs and practices of
those who hold to the infallibility of the Pope of Rome and
look to him as their spiritual “father.”
SPIRITUALISM = The theory that the living can
communicate with the dead; a kind of witchcraft.
ISM’s Continued 4
PHARISAISM = The practice of binding human traditions
and leaving undone the commandments of God; having the
self-righteous spirit of the Pharisees in general.
MORMONISM = The religious system based on the Book
of Mormon and the supposed revelations by an angel
named Moroni to Joseph Smith.
ECCLESIASTICISM = (Gr., ekklesia = church) An
authoritative governing body or hierarchy in the church; a
central governing body in religious affairs; also, making a
distinction between clergy and laity.
ISM’s Continued 5
SOCIALISM = The movement among churches that
stresses the “whole man” concept rather than the need of
salvation from sin; the preaching of the “social gospel,”
emphasizing man’s betterment here and now, rather than
in the hereafter.
(Luke 2:52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in
favor with God and men.)
LIBERALISM = An attitude of loose and broad application of
the Scriptures; no Bible pattern; “free” to practice without a
“thus saith the Lord.”
PREMILLENIALISM = The theory of the rapture then Christ
will return to earth, reign in person in Jerusalem over an
earthly kingdom for one thousand years, before the
Judgment Day.
ISM’s Continued 6
JUDAISM = (Gal. 1:14, “the Jews’ religion”),
conformity to Jewish rites, ceremonies, beliefs.
PROTESTANTISM = This term came to be used as
the collective name for those individuals and
churches who advocated a seperation from Rome.
“ISM’s” are human wisdom, God’s Word is divine
What is Institutionalism?
The practice of the local church financially supporting
human institutions to do the work of the local church. In
addition to that, brethren form organizations to teach the
gospel, train and locate preachers, provide education, and
many other things. The institutions are doing the work of
the local church for which they have no authority
Ephesians 3:10-13
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold
wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and
authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal
purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with
freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be
discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are
your glory. “
Humanism vs. God’s Divine Wisdom
Jas. 3:15-17, “Such "wisdom" does not come down
from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there
you find disorder and every evil practice. But the
wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of
mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of
Listen to Jesus! Mat. 15:8-14 “These people honor
me with their lips; But their heart is far from me. They
worship me in vain, their teachings are but rules
taught by men...”
Humanism vs. God’s Wisdom 2
Matt 15:12-14
Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you know
that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?"
He replied, "Every plant (organization) that my heavenly
Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.
Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a
blind man, both will fall into a pit."
“ISM’s” are beyond the doctrine of Christ!
2 John 9-11
“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the
teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues
in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone
comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take
him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who
welcomes him shares in his wicked work.”
Humanism vs. God’s Wisdom 3
“ISM’s” are promoted by false teachers.
2 Pet. 2:1 “…there will be false teachers among you. They
will secretly introduce destructive heresies,…”
“ISM’s,” when tested by the Word of God, are always
proven to be false. Rev. 2:2 “I know your deeds, your hard
work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate
wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be
apostles but are not, and have found them false.”
The test: Do they speak according to the doctrine of the
apostles? Of course not; they cannot appeal to apostolic
doctrine so they don’t! “Is it from heaven or of men?”
1 John 4:1-6
“Dear friends, 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. This is how you can recognize
the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that
does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God…
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them,
because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in
the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from
the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We
are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but
whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we
recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles'
teaching (or doctrine) …”
Humanism vs. God’s Wisdom 4
The “ISM’s” of men are something different from the
gospel delivered by the apostle Paul.
Gal. 1:6-10 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting
the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning
to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently
some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to
pervert the gospel of Christ.”
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a
gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be
eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say
again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than
what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or
am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men,
I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Humanism vs. God’s Wisdom 5
“ISM’s” are philosophies and traditions of men. Let us
Col. 2:8-22 “See to it that no one takes you captive
through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on
human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather
than on Christ…”
“Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this
world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit
to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"?
These are all destined to perish with use, because they are
based on human commands and teachings.”
“ISM’s” can arise among the brethren!
Acts. 20:30 “Even from your own number men will arise
and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after
Humanism vs. God’s Wisdom 6
Some “ISM’s” result from apostasy.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 “The Spirit clearly says that in
later times some will abandon the faith and follow
deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such
teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose
consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain
from certain foods, which God created to be received
with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know
the truth.”
Humanism vs. God’s Wisdom 7
1 Thess 4:13-14 “Brothers, we do not want you to be
ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the
rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died
and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with
Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
1 Thess 5:1-3 “Now, brothers, about times and dates we
do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the
day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While
people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will
come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant
woman, and they will not escape.”
What do we do?
Hold the pattern of sound words.
2 Tim. 1:13 “What you heard from me, keep as the
pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ
Hold to apostolic doctrine.
1 Thess. 2:13-14 “And we also thank God continually
because, when you received the word of God, which you
heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but
as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you
who believe. For you, brothers, became imitators of God's
churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered
from your own countrymen the same things those churches
suffered from the Jews,…”
What do we do? 2
1 Cor. 11:2 “I praise you for remembering me in everything and
for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.”
2 Tim. 4:2-7 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of
season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and
careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put
up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will
gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their
itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the
truth and turn aside to myths.
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the
work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For
I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time
has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have
finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
What do we do? 3
Never deny the faith of which Jesus is the Author!
Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because
anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he
rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
There is only one faith. We must “contend earnestly for that faith
which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3
When human wisdom conflicts with divine, God is true and every
man is a liar!
Rom. 3:4 “Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written:
"So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail
when you judge.”
1 Peter 4:11 “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking
the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the
strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised
through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever
and ever. Amen.”
How To Establish Authority:
– Direct Command – “Take Eat” – 1 Cor.
– Approved Apostolic Example – “on the first
day of the week” – Acts. 20:7
– Necessary Inference – “on the first day of
the week to break bread.” – Acts 20:7
River Jordan
Local Church
(Acts 11:22; 1 Thess.
1:8; 5:11; Eph. 4:11-12,
16; 1 Tim. 5:16; Acts 6)
Institutionalism Quote
“For the church to turn aside from its divine work
to furnish amusement and recreation is to
pervert its true mission. It is to degrade its
mission. Amusement and recreation should
stem from the home or individuals rather than
the church. The church, like Nehemiah, has a
great work to do: and it should not come down to
the plains of Ono to amuse and entertain.”
(B.C. Goodpasture, Gospel Advocate, May 20, 1948)
Institutionalism Issues
What Is The Issue?? – In Evangelism:
– May churches of Christ build and maintain Missionary
Societies or sponsoring churches to do the work God
gave the local church to do?
Select Area
Select Preachers
Provide Place
Missionary Society
President, Board,
Select Area
Select Preachers
Provide Place
Institutionalism Issues 2
What Is The Issue?? – In Edification:
– May churches of Christ build and maintain church
colleges, to do the work God gave the local church to
Select Sermons
Select Teachers
Provide Place
President, Board,
Select Sermons
Select Teachers
Provide Place
Institutionalism Issues 3
What Is The Issue?? – In Benevolence:
– May churches of Christ build and maintain
Benevolent Societies (Orphan Home, Widow Home,
Hospital, etc) to do the work God gave the local
church to do?
Sees need - Acts 6
Appoints Men
Provide Place
Benevolent Society
President, Board,
Sees need – Acts 6
Appoints Men
Provide Place
Otto’s Experience
Brother Otto was supported for many years as an
evangelist under the auspices of the Batzell-Barrett-Baxter
Bible Institute of Houston, Tx.
As he labored throughout Mexico and Central America he
became aware that many of the practices and doctrines he
had been taught were contrary to the scriptures.
As Otto began to preach the truth, the Bible Institute
threatened and eventually cut off all of his support. Otto
was forced to work and support himself as he continued
part-time evangelistic work.
Otto’s Example
Document approved by the Government of
Honduras: “A church in Houston, Texas appoints
social work among the Honduras population. The
churches of Christ establish a local representative
who has control of the local churches and
therefore no local church or preacher has the right
to make decisions without the consent of its local
representative. Also the representative does not
have the right to make decisions about the church
or its members (in Honduras) without the
authorization of the church in Houston.”
What happened to church autonomy?
Example Philippine Islands
Personal encounters:
Philippine Island Bible Society (PIBS)
PIBS Representative Bart Dayo
– Panay
– Chris and Premie
– Loss of Property
– Payoff to PIBS
– Water Buffalo
“ISM’s” are contrary to the Word of God.
Human Wisdom brings division and false
What is it that we do? Follow the bible pattern.
Examples from personal experience.
The church is all sufficient to do the work God
has assigned it to do.