by Dr Pence Dacus
(Church History Correspondence Course)


  • Introduction
  • The Ten Commandments are Still Binding
  • Baptism of the Holy Spirit
  • Baptism for the Dead
  • Death is Annihilation
  • Second Chance After Death
  • Men Cannot Sin
  • Student Instructions

  • THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION  "Is Christ Divided?" I Cor. 1:13

    Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of your saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (I Cor. 1:10-13)


    In addition to the doctrines studied in Lesson 19, there are many other teachings with the essential form and rituals having been adopted straight from the Catholic Church and which are even now widely practiced in various Protestant denominations around the world. We have already touched upon some of these in Lesson 15. The purpose of this present study will be to examine denominational doctrines, some of which may have had their roots in the Reformation, or even before it, but which for the most part are products of the post-Reformation era.

    The Ten Commandments are Still Binding

    The Bible teaches that we are no longer bound by the restrictions of the law of Moses, having been released from it when Christ died on the cross. We are now under the New Testament of Christ, ALL of the Old Testament having been removed. (See Hebrews 9 and 10).

    After about 1831, a denomination (Adventist) arose which began teaching that we are still bound by the ten commandments today, that the law of Moses had two parts, and that only one part, the ceremonial part, was abolished while the other remained. Inasmuch as they believe that the ten commandments are still in force, one of their fundamental doctrines is Sabbath-keeping. Another peculiar doctrine of this group is the sleep of the soul, or unconsciousness after death.

    Did the law of Moses Have Two Parts -- One Moral and One Ceremonial?

    There is one law:
    II Chron. 31:3; Heb. 8:4; 3, 8; Mal. 4:4; Psalms 19:7
    The Law -- never the LAWS!
    The "Book of the Law" in the receptacle by the side of the ark quotes the ten commandments twice. Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-22

    The "law of the Lord" contained both the so-called "moral" and "ceremonial" laws. II Chron. 31:3; Matt. 22:36-40

    The "law of Moses" and "the law of the Lord" are used interchangeably in Luke 2:22-24 in which purification rites are mentioned, showing that there is no distinction within the Law of Moses (Law of the Lord) for "moral" and ceremonial" divisions.

    The law of Moses has been removed (Heb. 10:9 and many other references).
    "One law was written on stones and related to moral duties only, and the other was given by Moses privately and related to ceremonial duties" (Synopsis of Present Truth, page 255).

    "That the will of God as it relates to moral conduct is comprehended in his law of ten commandments; that these are great moral, unchangeable precepts, binding upon all men in every age" (Stewart, page 55).

    Consider: Moral conditions are holy within themselves, but ceremonial things are made holy by commandment (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath commandment is part of the ceremonial law and was made holy by commandment (Ex 20:8). The law -- all of it -- was abrogated, completely taken away. Thus, one of the foundation rocks of this denomination is removed and the false doctrine upon which it stands (or falls, as the case may be) is exposed.

    Are We Required to Keep the Sabbath?

    Old law (all of it) removed (Col. 2:14).

    Weekly Sabbath associated with meats, drinks and feast days -- All blotted out (Hosea 2:11 and Col. 2:14-17).
    The Ten commandments are still binding. Men must keep the Sabbath.
    Same references in previous section.

    Does the Soul Sleep after Death?

    God is the father of spirits. John 3:16; Acts 17:29

    The spirit does not die with the body. Eccl. 3:21; 12:7; Acts 7:59; II Cor. 5:1-8

    The departed spirits are conscious. Luke 16:19-21; Matt. 22:32; Rev. 6:9-11

    The body is said to sleep in the grave, but not the spirit. Matt. 27:52
    "That the condition of men in death is one of unconsciousness. That all men, good and evil alike, remain in the grave from death to the resurrection" (Stewart, p. 56).

    Adventists believe further that at the first resurrection the faithful will be restored to life. A thousand years later at the second resurrection, the wicked will be revived, only to be annihilated by fire.

    Baptism of the Holy Spirit

    There is a difference between the baptism of the Great Commission and Holy Spirit baptism. Recall further that there is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5). Which one baptism do we use today?

    There are several sects who believe in Holy Spirit baptism: the Holiness groups and Churches of God, the Pentecostals and Assemblies of God. The first two groups while accepting Holy Spirit baptism do not accept speaking in tongues and divine healing. The last two groups claim all manifestations of Holy Spirit baptism.

    Are Men Baptized of the Holy Spirit?

    There is one baptism (Eph. 4:5). That is the water baptism of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20 and Rom. 6:3-6). This eliminates Holy Spirit baptism.

    There are only two cases of Holy Spirit baptism in the New Testament (Acts 2:1-4 and Acts 10:44-48).

    The first case was to endue the apostles with the Holy Spirit.

    The second case was to convince the Jews that the Gentiles were accepted of God

    The baptism of the Holy Spirit gave power to perform all kinds of miracles (Acts 2:1-2; 5:15; and 20:9-10). Those who claim to be baptized with the Holy Spirit today should be able to do the same miracles (Thompson p. 75).
    "The evidence of the experience of entire sanctification, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit, is purity of heart and the free manifestation in daily life of graces or fruit of the spirit" (Stewart, p. 41).

    Consider: The Lord gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who obey him and put him on (Gal. 3:27) in baptism (Acts 2:38). The gift of the Spirit promised in Acts 2:38 does not enable one to perform miracles. This is evidently the "indwelling," of the Spirit of I Cor. 6:19-20. No unusual feeling is promised to those who obey the command to repent and be baptized. However, one may rejoice in that he has obeyed the Lord (Acts 8:38-39). It is at this stage that he can have a clear conscience (I Peter 3:21). He baptizes no one in the Holy Spirit today. Water baptism is a command to obey (Mark 16:16). Holy Spirit baptism is a promise to be received (Acts 1:5). We can obey a command -- to be baptized -- and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. We cannot obey a promise -- Holy Spirit baptism -- therefore God places it on whom He chooses, when He chooses. It was promised to His apostles to guide them into all truth (John 16:13). But, we have the Bible which is all-sufficient for us today (II Tim. 3:16-17). Why do we need Holy Spirit baptism? Can those who claim to have Holy Spirit baptism do the same things the apostles did when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit? If not, why does their baptism differ from the kind outlined in the Bible? Cannot men be content with the gift (natural, not mysterious) of the Holy Spirit which he will deposit with all who obey him (Acts 2:38)?

    Thus, obedience to the command to repent and be baptised is prerequisite to receiving the "gift of the Holy Spirit" promised in Acts 2:38. "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6). God did not send the Spirit to make them sons. Instead the Spirit was sent into the hearts of those who had become "sons" by putting Christ on in baptism. (See Gal. 3:27).

    This notion came as a result of some who felt that they were not as pure or as sanctified as they should be after their conversion and that they needed something extra, to cleanse the soul. How can we tell if we are pure or not? Will our feelings tell us? And, how does a person know when he is pure enough, or too pure? The Bible says, "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17) and "ye are clean through the Word" (John 15:3). God promises us cleansing and purity of soul through His Word -- the Bible -- not by Holy Spirit baptism.

    Are Men Able to Speak in Tongues Today?

    The apostles had the power to speak in tongues on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

    The apostles could transfer that power to others (Acts 8:5-15; 8:18).

    Others than the apostles could not bestow that power on anyone else (Acts 8:5-15).

    Thus, the power was limited to the apostles.

    Speaking in tongues ceased about that time (I Cor. 13:8-10)
    Of Pentecostals: "They are confident that just as the apostles on Pentecost received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with its accompanying gifts of tongues, they too can receive a miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit" (Stewart, p. 46).

    Consider: How important is speaking in tongues? Paul said, "I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" (I Cor. 14:19). Will speaking in tongues save a person? Is it necessary to speak in tongues to be saved? This false idea started with those who felt that there surely must be something more -- something mysterious - about Christianity.

    The purpose of speaking in tongues (I Cor. 14:22) has long since passed. They were for a sign or evidence to non-believers. Today, those who claim to be able to use them do so for a different purpose entirely. This is a departure from scriptural authority.

    Consider further: There was a time (first century) when the Word of God resided in the Holy Spirit-filled apostles. The New Testament had not been written. When the apostles, through the inspiration of God, committed this word to writing, there was no further need for miraculous manifestations of the Spirit to support the apostles. The written word could speak for itself and men could be guided with the same unerring and infallible word of God through the pages of the New Testament. Thus, the age of miracles passed on. Those who claim these powers today obviously have other purposes in mind.

    Can Men Perform Miracles of Healing Today?

    Same as speaking in tongues. Same as speaking in tongues.

    Consider: Those who profess to have this power today should be able to do the same thing the apostles did in the first century. Mark 16:14-18 tells us that those who spoke in tongues, and healed the sick could also take up serpents and drink deadly poisons without being hurt. Doesn't it seem strange that people today could really do the first two things and not be able to do the latter. And, if they cannot, their false pretenses are exposed for all to see. The need for miraculous healing, the purpose of which was to serve as a testimony, has passed on. God's word, the Bible, both Old and New Testaments serves as its own witness today.

    Baptism for the Dead

    This is a peculiar doctrine taught by the Mormon denomination in Utah, U. S.A. Their belief in baptism for the remission of sins carried them all the way to the grave.

    Should Men Baptize for the Dead?

    Men are told to:
    Hear (Rom. 10:13-17).
    Believe (John 8:24).
    Repent (Luke 13:3).
    Confess (Rom. 10:10).
    Be baptized (Mark 16:16) while living.
    "That they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead; for this ordinance belongeth to my house..." Doctrine and Covenants 124:28). Thus the dead may be saved by having the living baptized for them.

    Consider: The proof text of those who practice baptizing for the dead is I Cor. 15:29. However, a careful study of this text will show that Paul is not approving of the practice of baptizing for dead bodies, but is only using that false notion as an argument to support his case regarding the resurrection of Christ. Some of the people were saying that Christ had not been resurrected and yet they were baptizing for the dead. He was simply showing the inconsistency of their position. The resurrection doctrine is true. The baptism for the dead teaching is false.

    Death is Annihilation

    This is a doctrine peculiar to Russelism (Jehovah's Witnesses) a materialistic group that started in about 1874. Russel was an immoral man, admittedly, and much of his doctrine is in complete contradiction to the Bible, but there are many people in the world who follow his teaching.

    Is Death Annihilation?

    Killing the body does not kill the soul (Matt. 10:28).

    Abraham, Isaac and Jacob still live though their bodies were dead (Matt. 22:32).

    Spirits of men live after they are dead (Heb. 12:22-23).

    The soul is conscious after death (Rev. 6:9-11).
    Russelism says: "It should be remembered however that it is not the pain and the suffering of dying, but death -- the extinction of life in which the dying culminates that is the penalty of sin" (Thompson, p. 105).

    Second Chance After Death

    This is another false teaching of Russelism. It has the Catholic idea of "purgatory" behind it.

    Do Men Receive a Second Chance after Death?

    "It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb.9:27).
    See also Luke 16:19-31.
    Jehovah's Witnesses say: "Every man shall have another chance and the second chance will be more favourable than the first" (Scripture Studies and the Watch Tower, Vol. I, pp. 130-131).

    Men Cannot Sin

    This is one of many QUESTIONABLE concepts of Mary Baker Eddy, a so-called prophetess for the Christian Science sect.

    "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (I Kings 8:46 and Rom. 3:23).

    All sin orginates in the heart of man (Matt. 15:19).
    "Man is incapable of sin." "Soul is the divine principle of man and never sins" (Thompson, p. 117).

    Summary: While the facts presented in this lesson do not imply that all denominations believe or endorse any or all of these teachings, these are some of the doctrines which have been introduced into the denominational world. This list is not exhaustive and many more peculiar teachings abound, however, it will serve to draw our attention to this pressing question: Why are there so many different denominations? Don't we all have the same God, Christ and Bible? Then, why the variety in teaching, and in contradiction to the Bible? The answer can be seen in the following lesson.

    Howard, V.E., Gospel Radio Sermons
    Stewart, J.D., The Living Word Series, A Study of Minor Religious Beliefs in America R.B. Sweet Company, Inc., Austin, Texas, 1964.
    Thompson, L.G., Churches of Today

    Student Instructions
    1. Study the lesson text carefully till you understand its meaning. Then answer the Questions to this lesson.
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    Please answer the following questions by typing your answers into the spaces provided or, where a choice of answers is given, click against the button for the correct answer.

    You will find answers to the questions in the lesson material as well as the Scripture references that are cited.

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    I. Put TRUE or FALSE before each of the following statements. (Example: True -- MoraI conditions are holy within themselves.)

    1. The Bible draws no distinction between the moral and ceremonial parts of the law of Moses, as for as our observance of it.

    2. According to the Bible, we must keep the Sabbath today.

    3. According to the Bible, the spirit of man dies at the some time the body dies.

    4. Holy Spirit baptism is a command to be obeyed.

    5. Water baptism is a promise to be received.

    6. The modern idea of Holy Spirit baptism probably arose as a result of some people feeling that they were still impure even after conversion.

    7. According to the Bible, we are made clean through the Word of God, the Bible.

    8. The Bible teaches us to baptize for dead people.

    9. The Bible teaches that we cease to exist at death.

    10. Christ is the only person who lived without sinning.

    11. The Bible approves of the many different doctrines taught by different denominations, especially those that contradict the Bible.

    12. The gift of the Holy Spirit promised to all Christians in Acts 2:38 gives us the power to perform miracles.

    13. Most modern-day preachers who claim to be able to perform miracles are also willing to drink deadly poison and take up poisonous snakes to prove their power.

    14. God sent the Holy Spirit to make (force) people to become the sons of God.

    15. According to the Bible, only the apostles had the power to transfer the power of God to others.

    II. Complete the following statements by choosing the proper word or phrase. (Example: In Eph 4:4 we learn that there is: one baptism.)

    16. (All; About half; Most; None) of the Law of Moses is binding upon Christians today.
    About half

    17. The Protestant denomination which teaches that the moral part of Moses' Law is still binding also teaches:
    Sabbath-keeping and foot-washing
    Sabbath-keeping and sleep of the soul
    talking in tongues and foot-washing
    none of these

    18. The Law of Moses is used in the same context (in Luke 2:22-24) with:
    the Law of the Lord
    the moral law
    the ceremonial law
    none of these

    19. In Luke 16:19-31, the Bible indicates that Lazarus and the rich man were:
    none of these

    20. The Bible identifies the "father of Spirits" as:

    21. (The body; The soul; The spirit) is said to "sleep" in the grave.
    The body
    The soul
    The spirit

    22. Two parties that received Holy Spirit baptism in the New Testament were:
    the apostles and Cornelius' household
    the apostles and 120 disciples
    the household of Cornelius and Peter's motherin-law
    the Christians and the Jews

    23. The one baptism of the Bible is:
    Holy Spirit baptism
    water baptism
    fire baptism
    none of these

    24. Men do not need Holy Spirit baptism today because:
    there is no Holy Spirit today
    God is dead
    the Bible is sufficient
    men have no sins today

    25. With regard to speaking in tongues, Paul thought that (understanding; speaking; listening; practice) was the most important thing.

    26. Those who received Holy Spirit baptism in the first century differ from so-celled modern religionists who claim to have received it today in at least two ways:
    speaking in understandable tongues and performing genuine miracles
    performing genuine miracles and seeing visions
    making prophecies and speaking in understandable tongues
    none of these

    27. The special gift of speaking in tongues came to an end:
    at Christ's death
    when Peter died
    when the perfect law, the New Testament, came
    none of these

    28. The purpose of speaking in tongues in the New Testament was:
    to confirm the preaching
    to provide for a better understanding when several language groups were together
    to provide sign
    all of these

    29. The "second chance after death" of Russelism is similar to another false teaching called:
    purgatory, sleep of the soul
    extreme unction
    none of these

    30. After men die, then comes:
    a second chance

    III. Match the denomination below with the doctrine it teaches, by placing the proper letter in the blank to the left.
    A. Holiness
    B. Church of God
    C. Adventist
    D. Morman
    E. Russelism
    F. Assembly of God
    G. Pentecostal
    H. Christian Science
    I. Roman Catholic.
    J. Jehovah's Witnesses

    31. Sabbath-keeping

    32. Miraculous divine heeling

    33. Annihilation at death

    34. Second chance after death

    35. No sin

    36. Talking in tongues

    37. Holy Spirit baptism

    38. Sleep of the soul

    39. Moses' law divided into two parts

    40. Purgatory

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    Your question or comment,
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    Your answers will be graded and returned to you through your e-mail address. Thank you for your interest in God's Book. May He bless you in the study of His Word.

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