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Spiritual Urban Legends
By Larry Rouse
Men have always been gullible and quick to believe and spread false stories they have heard from another. In this internet age and with the use of e-mail, false stories are spread like lightning and are accepted by millions without a second thought. Even when websites are dedicated to debunking these falsehoods, and conscientious people inform others about what is true, these false stories never seem to die. The modern term coined to describe these deceptions is “Urban Legends.”
Here are but a few of these Urban Legends that sincere people have sent me:
“Forward this e-mail and Bill Gates will pay you $156.29!”
“NASA scientist has found a missing day that proves Old Testament miracles!”
“Terrorists are buying UPS uniforms!”
“You must write the FCC now or Madelyn Murray O’Hare will ban all religious broadcasts.”
As Christians, we should be concerned about every word that comes out of our mouths and every e-mail that we write or forward that bears our names (Matthew 12:36). These and other false stories cost others money, damage the reputations of others, and hurt the creditability of those that spread them.
Our society thinks of themselves as being informed and enlightened and above the ignorant beliefs of past generations. The hard truth is that this generation is just like all past generations and has often accepted falsehoods without any attempt to investigate what is true.
How does this apply to our religious world? How many doctrines and practices that are commonly believed are actually taught in the Bible? God commended the Bereans because they “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). When you begin to actually “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1), that is check what men do and say by God’s word, then you will also find many things that are accepted by millions and practiced by “mainline” denominations are nothing more than spiritual “Urban Legends.”
The Literal Reappearing of the Body and Blood of Jesus
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper to
commemorate His death, He used bread and fruit of the vine to represent His
body and blood that was to be given as a sacrifice for our forgiveness. “And
as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to
the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from
it, all of you. 28
For this is My blood of the new
covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew
26:26-28). Just as the Passover meal
reminded the Israelites of a past merciful act of God, so the Lord’s Supper
or Communion would remind all Christians of all times about the sacrifice of
Jesus. The power in this act of worship is found in the remembrance and not
in some mystical strength in the physical elements
Sadly, many years ago men took verses that
had no direct bearing on this
memorial feast and twisted
them to mean something that is contrary to the scriptures. Jesus said, “Most
assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and
drink His blood, you have no life in you
In order to gain power over men, a whole series of assumptions have been made about this text that push men to believe that only the Catholic Church through their priests has the power to administer the Lord’s Supper. This service is called a “Mass” and claims to be a literal sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus anew. These assumptions are widely accepted, even though the scriptures teach that the sacrifice of Christ was “once for all,” and because of that it would never be repeated again (Hebrews 9:26-28).”
Accepting Jesus as Your Savior through Prayer
How many people, that have come to be convicted of their sin and thus have seen their need of salvation, were then urged to say the “sinner’s prayer?” From the popular Billy Graham crusades of years past, to today’s typical Protestant services, millions are told that they have been forgiven and now are Christians because they have “received Jesus into their hearts” by this prayer. Where is this taught in the Bible?
When you look in the scriptures, you will
not find a command or any example of men finding forgiveness in this manner.
However, you will find that out of a belief in the resurrected Jesus, that
men were to repent of their sins, confess Jesus as Lord and then be baptized
(in water) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins
Ordained Priests or Clergy are Needed in Our Service to God
In both Catholic and Protestant churches there exists a special class of men that act as priests, or as ordained men, that alone can perform certain services to God. Because of this distinction, these men have special callings, special ordained educational institutions that they must attend, and that they alone can baptize, conduct marriage ceremonies, and speak with a special authority about the word of God.
In the church that Jesus Christ built there are no such classes of men. Rather than having special titles such as reverend and father, Jesus taught that we are all brothers (Matthew 23:8). If you are a Christian, then you are a priest. ”But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Do you understand that no one stands between you and God except the Lord Jesus Himself (1 Timothy 2:5)?
Have these things been part of some of the spiritual “Urban Legends” that you have accepted? Why not begin today to look at the Bible anew, and test the things you have heard? By taking that step you will begin to glorify Jesus in your life and be able to confidently stand with Him in your beliefs. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11)
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