The following appeared in a chat room of a major Christian website. The author had recently visited Blow the Trumpet and was sharing his displeasure at what he saw. Below are his comments and our response. 

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They have nice pictures, however, they also promote special diets (no more BLT's or pork chops) and the proper time to worship  (Friday-Saturday Sabbath). They also believe there are seven special holidays a year which must be kept. The list goes on and on.

I won't list all the unscriptural points they present, except for this last one. They teach that at death a person's thoughts die. That there is no consciousness after death. These teachings of H. W. Armstrong have long been recognized as unscriptural.

Name withheld

  

  

Our response

   

Dear Friend,

    Our purpose for writing is to address some of the issues you brought up in your recent post regarding Blow the Trumpet and its beliefs. Let us begin by saying that we genuinely respect your right to express views that go contrary to ours. As a matter of fact, your feelings regarding our beliefs are not uncommon in “Normative Christianity.” Furthermore, we readily acknowledge that many of our positions regarding God’s word are not in the religious mainstream. However, that is not the standard we use to formulate our doctrines. Our beliefs are defined by the sacred scriptures, not by the traditions of men. Therefore, virtually every one of them are clearly enunciated in God’s word. We realize this claim may sound arrogant but it truly is the case. There is a Biblical precedent for every doctrine we embrace. Furthermore, we do not try to “spin” the scriptures to conform to our own ideas, nor do we employ contorted arguments when explaining our beliefs. Rather, we diligently inquire into God’s word to determine His wisdom on such matters. With this in mind we respectfully submit for your consideration the following response to the issues you raised.

 

Issue 1: The Sabbath

    You are correct when you say that we believe the seventh day Sabbath (Friday evening to Saturday evening) is still binding on God’s people. However, you error in suggesting that this belief is “unscriptural.” The Bible speaks with great force regarding the Sabbath in both the Old and New Testaments and nowhere does it hint that this holy time is no longer holy.

    The scriptures reveal that the Sabbath was created by God Himself (Gen. 2:2-3). At that time He “sanctified” it and made it holy. This fact alone should cause every “believer” to think long and hard about this profoundly significant day. So important is the Sabbath that God included it in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:8-11). He actually wrote it with His own hand (Ex. 31:13-18). Furthermore, to profane it was a capital offence in ancient Israel. Tragically, God’s people thought they could ignore that command and still be right with Him. The twentieth chapter of Ezekiel reveals how wrong they were. This just touches the surface regarding the Old Testament’s view of this HOLY time.

    With respect to the New Testament, God’s instructions regarding the fourth commandment did not change. Virtually all the apostles honored this day. This includes Paul and the Gentile churches he raised up (see: Acts 13:42, 17:2, 18:4). The scriptures also reveal that Jesus “remembered the Sabbath and kept it holy” (Mk. 1:21). He did so because he knew what it meant. Furthermore, He loved what it meant.

    When it comes to this very significant command the real question should be: why isn’t it honored today? For the real answer to this question we recommend you read our booklet Sabbath Confessions. This is not some cheap religious tract. It is a collection of quotes from leaders in the Sunday keeping world acknowledging the authority of the seventh day Sabbath and where the idea of Sunday worship came from. It is very telling. The following are a few quotes from it.

“You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we [The Roman Catholic Church] never sanctify.” Faith of Our Fathers, pg. 111, James Cardinal Gibbon

“The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. This fourth commandment begins with the word ‘remember,’ showing that the Sabbath already existed when God wrote the law on the tables of stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away when they will admit that the other nine are still binding?” Weighed and Wanting, Dwight L. Moody

“I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ The Catholic Church says: ‘No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.’ And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.” Roman Catholic Priest T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18, 1884.

“...Nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible.” Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947

“Examining the New Testament from cover to cover, critically, we find the Sabbath referred to sixty-one times. We find too, that the Savior invariably selected the Sabbath (Saturday) to teach in the synagogues and work miracles. The four Gospels refer to the Sabbath fifty-one times. In one instance , the Redeemer refers to Himself as ‘Lord of the Sabbath’ as mentioned by Matthew and Luke, but, during the whole record of His life, while invariably keeping and utilizing the day, (Saturday), He never once hinted at a desire to change it.” The Catholic Mirror, Nov. 25 1893, James Cardinal Gibbons

"Sunday is our mark of authority. The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact." The Catholic Record, Sept. 1, 1923

"Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observation can be defended only on Catholic principles . . . From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first." The Catholic Press

"And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day... The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church has enjoined it." Plain Sermons on the Catechism, Isaac Williams, Vol. 1, pp. 334, 336

“The Primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the Day in Devotion and Sermons. And ‘tis not to be doubted but they derived this Practice from the Apostles themselves." A Discourse in Six Dialogues on the Name, Notion, and Observation of the Lord’s Day, p. 189

"Which church does the whole civilized world obey? Protestants call us every horrible name they can think of , anti-Christ, the scarlet colored beast, Babylon, etc. and at the same time profess great reverence for the Bible, and yet by their solemn act of keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the power of the Catholic Church." (Father T. Enright, Roman Catholic Priest, Kansas City, MO)

"The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ But the Catholic church says, ‘No, keep the first day of the week,’ and the whole world bows in obedience." Father T. Enright, Roman Catholic Priest, Kansas City, MO.

    These are just a few of scores of quotes by leaders in “Normative Christianity” acknowledging that God’s true Sabbath was and is still the seventh day, not Sunday as so many assume.

 

Issue 2: The Holy Days

    Your comments about our position regarding the Holy Days is also correct. We do keep the feasts God designed and revealed in His word. However, your contention that the church today is not required to honor these feasts is simply not true. In the Old Testament God Himself called them “HOLY CONVOCATIONS” in other words, COMMANDED ASSEMBLIES (Lev. 23:1-2).

    These days picture an incredible plan God is working out in man. It is one filled with great hope and proclaims that God will ultimately prevail and His desire for man will be accomplished. These are wonderful days that are rich in meaning. Furthermore, they were an integral part of the New Testament Church and were kept by Jesus and His disciples as well as Paul and the Gentile Churches he raised up. In the book of Acts Luke uses the Holy Days as benchmarks when chronicling the missionary journeys of Paul. We would recommend that you review our Mini Study on this subject Gods Holy Days It will provide you with overwhelming scriptural evidence on this issue including its application in the New Testament.

    The fact of the matter is that festivals enjoined by the vast majority of professing Christians like Christmas and Easter are the ones you should be suspicious of because they lack any Biblical authority whatsoever. Such days come straight from the pagan world, a fact that even Protestant leaders reluctantly admit. We once spoke to one of the leading TV evangelists in the United States about this very topic and he said, “I know it (Christmas) comes from paganism. But we confiscated it for Christ.” That was his justification for keeping a festival whose symbols are pagan to the core. The question that needs to be asked here is: WHO GAVE HIM THIS AUTHORITY? Who told him he could “confiscate” pagan idols and use them to praise the Creator of Heaven and Earth? It certainly wasn’t the God of the Bible. That God said, “learn to the way of the heathen” (Jer. 10:1). Additionally, the Eternal commanded the children of Israel to NOT INQUIRE ABOUT OTHER RELIGIONS (Deut. 12:30-31). God declared that only He has the authority to determine how He is to be worshipped (vs 32).

    It is interesting to note that this leading evangelist isn’t the first to try sanitizing the practice of incorporating pagan traditions into the worship of the true God. Aaron did it with a golden calf. When he had fashioned it, he had the audacity to declare a “feast to the Eternal” (EX. 32:1-10).

    God’s true feasts as outlined in Leviticus 23 were honored by Jesus Christ and His apostles. Furthermore, they were created by God Himself. They were not manufactured by pious men trying to decide for themselves how they could enhance their worship. They are not some counterfeit from a godless world. Before you condemn the creators of this site as being at odds with the scriptures ask yourself who in the Bible ever kept Christmas. It is a very short list. ZERO! Now ask yourself who kept the festivals God ordained in His word. The answer to that question is quite different. All the GREAT champions of faith honored God’s Holy Days.

 

Issue 3: The Dietary Laws

    With respect to God’s dietary laws, once again you are correct in your understanding of our position. And you are right in concluding that we believe it is a sin to eat that BLT sandwich or those pork chops. As a matter of fact God calls such a practice an ABOMINATION!! (Lev. 11:11,20, 23). Furthermore, you can’t find a single scripture where God’s people consumed such things with his blessing. If you use Acts 10, we would suggest you read the entire chapter and let Peter himself interpret what God was showing him.

    God’s laws regarding what is suitable for food were in force from the very beginning. He even instructed Noah to allocate space in the Ark based on this vital truth (Gen. 7:2). The Bible also reveals why God made such a distinction. He sanctified the clean animals to reveal that He also sanctified His people (Lev.11:). The point here is that God’s children are not to be unclean. To be so would prevent them from entering into His Kingdom (Eph. 5:5). These are serious words indeed and we at Blow the Trumpet believe they mean exactly what they say.

    Tragically, almost all professing Christians ignore God’s word regarding this critical law. They think of it as burdensome, legalistic and even Pharisaical. These “believers” somehow think they can decide for themselves whether they will honor God’s commandments regarding what is to be eaten and what is to be avoided. Consider for a moment what those accusations are actually saying about God. Remember, it was He who fashioned these laws in the first place. These laws reflect His wisdom and His VIRTUE. To suggest that God’s instructions regarding clean and unclean meats as revealed in the scriptures are “burdensome” is to suggest that God Himself is a burden. Why would anyone do such a thing? For additional information on this subject visit our Articles and Notes on Unclean Meats

 

Issue 4: The Immortality of the Soul

    Finally, it would seem that Blow the Trumpet’s position with respect to the immortality of the soul causes you the greatest difficulty. This might come as a surprise to you but the belief that the soul is immortal is not scriptural either--and God’s word makes that fact abundantly clear. The Bible calls death the great enemy. It robs man of the opportunity to create, to share, to hope and even to love. When speaking of the dead the Psalmist wrote, “His breath goes forth, he returns to the earth, and in that day his thoughts perish” (Psa. 146:4). The great king of Israel, Solomon said “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing neither have they any more reward; for the memory of them is forgotten” (Eccl. 9:5). When describing the power of death the Bible says, “ His sons come to honor him but he knows it not.”

    The idea that man has an immortal soul and therefore is still conscious upon the death of the body was never taught by Jesus or His apostles. However, such thinking was an integral part of pagan religions at that time. This fact is supported by very credible works of scholarship such as the Jewish Encyclopedia. Notice what it says about the origin of the doctrine regarding the “immortality of the soul.”

“The belief that the soul continues its existence after the dissolution of the body is speculation nowhere taught expressly in the scripture. The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended.” (Jewish Encyclopedia, “Immortality of the Soul,” Vol. VI, pp. 564, 566)

    Down through the ages, pagan religions have embraced an endless array of deities, as well as a “you can take it with you” view of the afterlife. Under this view, the soul lives on in perpetuity. To them it is immortal; it cannot be destroyed.

    It is astonishing that the vast majority of well-intended “believers” embrace many of these godless practices and beliefs – but embrace them they do. Virtually every leader in the Protestant world today believes the soul is immortal. Furthermore, they are convinced that this belief has been accepted by all the great champions of the faith throughout time. However, this is simply not true. This error in thinking is borne out in the words of author Frank Eakin in his book The Religion and Culture of Israel.

“Because of Greek influences on western culture, man is generally understood to be composed of either body and soul, or body, soul, and spirit. This bisection or trisection is totally incompatible with Judeo-Christian tradition which accepts neither a body-soul dichotomy nor a body, soul, spirit trichotomy: man does not have a soul, he is a soul... Man is a psychosomatic (or psycho physical) whole, an entity who cannot be divided.” (The Religion and Culture of Israel, pp. 92-93)

    We hope this helps you to understand that we have not simply grabbed our beliefs out of thin air. Furthermore, these beliefs may be many things but “unscriptural” is not one of them. Jesus himself kept the Sabbath, celebrated God’s holy days, and honored God’s dietary laws.

    Finally, on a more personal note we want you to know that virtually everyone associated with our work once believed like you. However, at some time during our Christian walk someone exhorted us to blow the dust off our Bibles and to prove all things. We accepted that challenge and by the grace of God  repented. For this reason we sincerely hope that you too will blow the dust off your Bible and diligently inquire into God’s wisdom in all matters. And although our words may appear strong and perhaps even angry, we want you to know they are not. We don’t feel the slightest bit superior to anyone who sees truth differently than we do. We actually long for the day when we will walk together as brothers in God’s Kingdom.

 

Regards,

Blow the Trumpet

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