Prof. Richard G. Benefield

Thomas Jefferson was anti-religion and anti-institutional church.  He said that he swore on the altar of God eternal hostility against every tyranny over the minds of man.  Jefferson was the third president of the United States, a philosopher, Bible scholar, theologian and founder of the University of Virginia.  Virginia University was the first state university and the first collage and university which was not started by a church denomination in the United States.

Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the USA, refused to become members of a church or religion.  Neither one believed in institutionalized, organized churches or religions.  They attended church services or religious activities when their duties as elected officials required it.  Jefferson was a Deist.  Deism is a philosophy which among other things, teaches that God created the world and then lost control of it.  Many scholars doubt that Jefferson was a Christian.  He produced his own version of the Bible by reducing most of it to not  being necessary.  The "Jefferson Version", which is published in paperback edition, threw away most of the Bible, and sort of reduced it to ethics which is behavior, conduct, and the treatment of our fellow human beings.

Benjamin Franklin was much more of a womanizer than President Bill Clinton (Clinton might not be guilty of womanizing).  Franklin wrote, "How to Select a Mistress".  He specialized in getting mistresses and in having sex with them.  He wrote 30 volumes, was a philosopher, logician, scientist, author, politician and publisher.  Like Jefferson, Franklin was a Deist.

Abe Lincoln read the Bible and believed in Christianity.  He, Jefferson included, and various American revolutionaries said some good things about the Bible.  They took religious activities in stride as the duties of their offices  required, as mentioned.

Jefferson, and the other Framers of the United States Constitution, made it easy for people to start new church denominations, new religions or cults in the United States.  Why?  Because Jefferson, and the other American revolutionaries, wanted divided religious power.  They thought that in many divisions there is weakness and in  unity there is strength and more power.  So religious people are encouraged to cause and start more divisions.  Such divisions, hopefully, will prevent the forming of a united super power church, and a united super religion.  The super church in the Dark Ages was a political and economic monster.

So let us hope that religious people will continue inter-denominational fighting and squabbling and political conflicts, and money squabbles, and various other divisions and split-ups.

Church denominations, religions, and cults are not the disunited CHURCH.  They are not different branches of the CHURCH.  The CHURCH consists of all Christians, past, and present, and will have included all future Christians.  All church denominations, religions and cults have engaged in breaking up families, and/or in politics, money schemes, war, nationalism, and/or slavery, physical punishments, self killings (suicide), and other various types of provincialism and violence.  Many oppose real science, not just non-proved scientific theories.  Many oppose education, the free exchange of ideas, academic freedom, and/or freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion, with the free exercise thereof.  Therefore all of these religious institutions should valiantly continue their splits and divisions.

But what does the Bible say about this?

Christians, some at least, developed contentions, and strife, and were trying to establish different Christian groups, based on the names of the Apostle Paul, or of Apollos, or of Peter (Cephas), or of Christ.  These groups would have been church denominations.  Their divisions would multiply.  (Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-12).  But the Apostle Paul opposed the starting of these different groups, and prevented the starting of church denominations at that time.  He wrote, "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas, and I of Christ."  Then the Apostle asks, "Is Christ divided?  was Paul crucified for you?  or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"  1 Corinthians 1:12, 13.  Protestants originally based many of their teachings on the writings of Paul.  For example, salvation by grace through faith; justification by faith, and the Holy Spirit inspired Bible.  Paul was a Hebrew.  Apollos was a Greek and the Eastern Orthodox Church holds him in high esteem.   Peter was a Hebrew and the Roman Catholic Church claims he was the first pope, but he never was a pope.  Onlyism church groups such as several which have the name "Church of Christ" and some "Church of God" highly emphasize their names.  They are "only name church groups".  They are organized denominations although they often deny it.  Now notice that we have the foundations in this passage of Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxism, Catholicism and Onlyism.  Such division are rejected as carnal.  As carnal groups, they are not Spiritual.  (Read 1 Corinthians 1:14-18).

Alexander the coppersmith tried to found (start) a lay-type denomination.  The laity group would no have ministers or preachers.  Alexander was a layman who could really argue.  But Paul opposed him and he was not successful in establishing a laity-type church denomination.  (Read 1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 4:14-18).

At the end of the writings (canon) of the New Testament, about 100 A.D., there was no church denomination.  There was no Roman Catholic Church, no pope, no Eastern Orthodox denominations, no onlyistic church groups and no lay-type groups or denomination.  But in time all of these institutions would be organized.  Today, there are hundreds of church denominations, church groups, cults and religions around the world.  While there are many Christians in different church groups, the groups themselves, i.e., the institutional organizations, are not Spiritual, but carnal.  They are all man made or woman made.  Various groups, in their long or short histories, have committed all types of crimes, caused and lengthened many wars, acted as persecutors, divided families, argued and squabbled, committed interdenominational fightings and divisions, at times martyred each other's members or disciples, chased economics and money, produced false prophets, false prophetesses, concocted many false doctrines, proclaimed false teachings and lies about their beginnings and histories, and caused much suffering and mental illnesses.  Confusions, contentions, schisms, hatreds, snobbism and divisions continue.  Many new groups, denominations and religions are always being started somewhere.  And the beat goes on, and on, and on.

As long as all of these religions and church denominational things are divided and disunited, then religions power will stay divided, and no super-church or super-religion will  seize control of the world.  So they should continue the road they are on--DISUNITED, DIVISIONS, DIVISIONS, and more DIVISIONS.  Thomas Jefferson and his fellow freedom lovers were right!

"Ecumenical Movement" means "universal" or "catholic" movement.  It started as the movement to unite all the church groups and denominations into one super-church.  It works today with less public display, and is stronger merely by cooperating, and mixing their members in various cooperatives, and compromising services and programs.  Television os one main instrument of ecumenicalism.  The World Council of Churches (WCC), National Council of Churches (NCC), and other councils of churches, and various cooperating programs and efforts among religions, including world religions, are promoted.  Much of this cooperating is called dialogue.  Many groups pay for, finance, their public relations unity efforts.

Some ecumenical people are hoping and praying to united all churches, cults, and religions into one world religion--ONE WORLD RELIGION.  It is too soon for a ONE WORLD UNITED CHURCH now, but it can happen in the future.  I think it will.  BUt it will be a carnal, ecumenical, political, and economic and legal hell!  Much worse than the united hell super-church of the Dark AGes!  Her powerful hierarchy will be Spiritually worthless, and as sneaky, cunning, manipulative, and vicious, and violent as hell!

Such people as Thomas Jefferson, Isaac Newton, in his Bible commentaries on "Daniel", and "Revelation", and the Biblical philosopher Bertrand Russell, and many theologians and Bible commentators, reasoned that the giant super-church institution will happen.  The question is, "WHEN"?

Some church denominations, religions and cults are pretty, artistic, and impressive in their outward appearance.  They often promote and pay for effective propaganda.  But inwardly, behind closed doors, they are full of dead bones, vile, Spiritually corrupt, money grabbers, property grabbers, and thieves or the souls of people.  They are up to their mouths in economics and politics.  Outwardly, they appear to be good.  Inwardly they are carnal.  Yet many millions of people are mentally hooked on these religions powers.  It almost appears that some strange things hold them as captives of religious illusions.

Churches, religions and cults, with their powers greatly divided, is a major hope of people who love freedoms, and the right to pursue real education, wisdom and knowledge.

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