Brief Answers to Myths,
Cliches, Accusations, Fears,
and Misapplied Verses
Used to support Holdemanism,
and common to many “one true church” groups
Myth 1—–This is the true Church because we have an unbroken lineage of unchanged faith from the New Testament Church.
The Holdeman denomination is a mere 150 years old. It was started by a 26-year-old layman in Ohio who left the Eight Square Mennonite church with his father, wife, and one other relative, ordained himself and called this group of four people the One True Church on earth. The church he left was a branch of Anabaptism, whose lineage leads no further back than the Catholic church. Anabaptism was born when three ex-Catholics baptized each other in 1525.
It is true that the supposed “forefathers” claimed by the Holdeman lineage—Cathars, Bogomils, Albigenses, etc.— were anti-Catholic, as were the Anabaptists who came later. But these former groups were dualistic Manichees who believe Satan created the earth and all matter, that reproduction was a sin, that eating products of reproduction (meat, milk, eggs) was sin, that Christ had a phantom body, did not rise from the dead, was born through Mary's ear or from a goose, and other heresies.
The beliefs of these groups is verified in 99% of all church history books. Broadbent, the one author we could find (on Holdeman shelves) that feels these groups were mistakenly represented has mysteriously "lost" all documents that might support his theory.
Holdemanism also claims an “unbroken lineage of unchanged faith” starting with the early church fathers, specifically named in their literature: Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin, Iraneaus, Tertullian--yet the doctrines of those men conflict drastically with Holdemanism. Each of these men left written testimonies that they considered heretics those who deny Jesus came from the genetic seed of Mary—something the Holdemans do vehemently deny, embracing docetism instead.
And Holdemanism considers belief in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth to be blasphemy--yet these early church fathers believed it.
Myth 2—This is the true Church because our forefathers died for the faith.
Muslims, Budhists, and Catholics also die for their faith. (The song Faith of Our Fathers was written by a Catholic about Catholics dying for their faith). Martrys Mirror relates the deaths of about 4000 people during a period of 135 years, a rate of about 29 martyrs per year.Voice of the Martyrs reports a verifiable 160,000 Christians killed for their faith in ONE year, 2002--the greater amount in China. CGCM ignores 160,000 present day martyrs a year and yet builds a religion around and reveres 29 per year martyrs of days gone by.
Myth 3—–This is the true Church because Christ has only one Bride
Christ indeed has one bride--not a bride and a concubine, which is the insulting result of creating two groups of Christians, "Church" and "Kingdom."
Holdemans acknowledge salvation exists among “kingdom Christians,” but view attendance at their church services spiritual fornication. But Jesus says where two or three are gathered in His name, He is present. If it is spiritual fornication for Holdeman members of the "church" to worship in the congregations of the "kingdom," then what's Jesus doing over there?
The Bible says all whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life (overcomers through faith in Christ 1 John 5:4,5) are in the Bride of Christ (Rev. 21:27) All others go to the lake of fire. (Rev. 3:5). There is no circle within a circle, there is no division of believers, Christ is not divided. All people are either part of the Bride of Christ or they will go to hell.
Myth 4—This is the true Church because Christ has only one body.
Christ indeed has one body, and the Holy Spirit baptizes each person who receives Jesus by faith into His body.”For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
“Ye are the body of Christ”;
“For we being many are…one body”;
“Your bodies are the members of Christ”
Who does God say this to? “All that in every place call upon the name of the Lord”
There is only One Body (Christ’s, to whom all believers belong) and One Spirit (The Spirit who indwells every believer) One hope (of heaven).One Lord, (Jesus Christ) One Faith (faith in the shed blood of Christ), One Baptism (The Spirit baptizes each new believer immediately into the body and the believer publicly demonstrates this later with a ceremony of immersion in water) One God and Father (father of every born-again believer.)
Myth 5--Church Christians and Kingdom Christians are different because kingdom Christians are not to cast out tares, but the Church is to remove sinful members.
In the kingdom parable of the wheat and tares, Christ does not entrust the weeding out to the angels because even they could not perfectly tell the difference. A tare looks almost identical to wheat. An unsaved person within the church who looks, acts, talks, and passes himself off as a Christian is very hard to detect. Neither the angels nor the church has the discernment to pry into and try the hearts of tares (as is done in staff meetings and panels) lest they mistakenly uproot one who is actually wheat!
What the church is given to do, however, is to excommunicate those outwardly, obvious sinning members: "if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner."
Myth 6—This is the true Church and other Christians are merely friends of the bridegroom.
John the Baptist said, "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’ voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease." Because people were looking to John as possibly the Messiah, John was illustrating the difference in importance between himself and the Messiah, and he chose to use an illustration of bridegroom and best man. He was not identifying himself as one of a different segment of saved people who are not part of the Bride of Christ. If the mere mention of a marriage is supposed to establish eternal roles, then the disciples are also not part of the Bride because Jesus called them "children [literally, sons] of the bride chamber.” But Revelation 21:14 says they form the twelve foundations of the walls of the Bride of Christ.
Myth 7—This is the true Church and other Christians are merely “other sheep.”
When Jesus said He had other sheep not of this fold, the gospel had only been offered to the house of Israel, not to Gentiles. Jesus testified that “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He forbade His disciples from preaching to Gentiles. But He was telling His disciples that there would come a day when Gentiles, those “other sheep not of this fold” would be brought and joined with them into One Fold. This happened at the cross when He “made both one and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us”
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles…. without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; ….And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby…..18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
Myth 8--This is the true Church because it is without spot and blameless.
The Bible speaks of a future when Christ will present the Church to Himself without spot and blameless.“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
This is the goal in every Christian’s life However, it does not say the church today, nor any individual Christian on this earth, is sinless and neither would the description of the New Testament congregations support this claim. Until individual Christians are completely free from the sin nature, the collective body of frail Christians will constantly need cleansing through the washing of the Word--which Jesus Himself does.
As with members of all denominations, carnal Holdeman members have committed adultery, theft, lying, homosexuality, child abuse and any other gross sin. Before they were found out and expelled, where was the purity of CGCM? At what moment can CGCM know that there is no secret sinner in the ranks, no hidden blemish? In answer to this, Holdemanism claims its purity is in the constant cleansing, but all Bible-teaching churches deal with the discovered gross sinner in the correct Biblical manner also.
Myth 9—This is the true Church because we alone teach all things that Jesus commanded
Jesus did not command us, nor did he live the example, of wearing clothing distinctive from our culture, or of parting the hair in a certain place, or of wearing black shoes or tie-less suits or having solid color cars or rejecting musical instruments or obeying all of the many Pharisee commandments of men the Holdeman denomination considers mandatory. Instead, He denounced Pharisees as blind guides, vipers, and sons of hell. The actual teachings of Jesus are indeed taught and revered in Bible-believing churches.
Myth 10—–This is the true Church because our women wear dresses.
Jesus wore exactly what his neighbors wore. He looked no different from “the world.” He wore what the Bible calls a skirt, just like Martha did. Both men and women wore dresses in those days. History tells us the shift-like dress could be to the knee or ankle and have short, long, or no sleeves. During running or work, men girded the loins” by bringing the sides and back of this dress up to be tucked beneath the belt, which resulted in the equivalent of shorts, leaving the thighs bare. For warmth and heat protection, and often a nighttime sleeping blanket, a large mantle was draped over one shoulder or sometimes the head.
Often Deut.22:5 is quoted to imply pants are inherently men’s clothing. But if a rebellious woman wanted to “wear that which pertains to a man” when that command was given, what would she have put on? Certainly not pants, because the men were not wearing pants! And if a man wanted to dress like a woman, what did he put on? Not a dress, because he was already wearing one!
That verse is not prohibiting a certain cut of clothing. It is abomination for men and women to cross-dress, disguising themselves as the opposite sex. Those who would follow Jesus’ example wear what their society considers respectable, which in His day was dresses for both men and women. In our age it is pants for either men and women, with color and accessories marking the gender.
A But Christians are to be a “gazing stock.”
“ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions” (Heb. 10:33) Would anyone claim the early disciples were made a gazing stock of reproaches and afflictions because they wore strange clothing? The afflictions mentioned in Hebrews are these: “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
An ancient letter to Diognatus said of early Christians: “Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. ..With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in.”
Not even the Anabaptists, antecedents of the Mennonites, wore distinctive clothing or they would have instantly been recognized in public, making arrest impossible to avoid.
B. But Christians are to be “peculiar”!
The Greek word translated “peculiar” means “a special possession.“ It doesn’t mean “weird” or “odd.”
Myth 11—This is the true Church because our women wear headcoverings.
The passage in 1 Corinthians 11 says that a man should not have something down over his head (literal meaning of Greek word for “cover”) when he prays or prophesies and a woman should have something down over her head when she prays or prophesies. There is nothing about cloth being the covering, but there immediately follows much about hair. It’s a shame for a man to wear his long and a shame for a woman to be shorn (a military buzz cut) or shaven ( bald with a razor). If she won’t cover her head with her long hair, her mannish short hair is no covering and she might as well go all the way and shave it off!
In the final verse the word for covering is a different Greek word which does mean cloth. It says, exactly in the Greek:
Long hair is given to her instead of a cloth veil (komē) (didō) (anti) (peribolaion)
Myth 12—–This is the true Church because we are “closer” by practicing simplicity and economy.
Practicing good economy is wise and a proper part of Christian stewardship, and most Bible-teaching churches give instruction for this area. It is an inconsistency, however, for Holdemanism to point out that others spend money on televisions or recreational vehicles, while the polished lifestyle of Holdemansim, with it’s china and crystal and suit coats and large wardrobes and mini-vans and landscaped lawns and much travel and preference for purchasing new is often a difficult and costly standard for newcomers to rise to.
Simplicity, as in plainness or austerity of decor, is a fabricated non-issue, never commanded in the Bible.
Myth 13—–This is the true Church because we are “closer” by not having photographs
The Ten Commandments forbids carving an image and bowing down to worship it. Graven images are carved likenesses to worship. A little girl’s doll would closer fit this description and even though she carries it everywhere, nobody would think of accusing her of idol worship.
Holdemanism points to a verse which says the day of the Lord will destroy “their pleasant pictures.“ Are we to imagine the penitent burning their Kodak photographs in ancient Tarshish? The Hebrew word here translated pictures means a carved image, or even a crafted ship. Photographs are so far removed from this scenario there is no comparison.
Photographs are memory-prompters of pleasant times we have had, usually shared with our loved ones. Because the memories are precious, people don’t like to lose their pictures, but they are in no way even coming close to worshipping them.
A. But pictures are the first thing people retrieve out of a burning house. That means they are idols!
If the first thing retrieved from a burning house qualifies as an idol, this would include whatever a Holdeman would retrieve from a burning house.
B. But pictures cause pride.
So can baking nice bread, sewing well, singing, or a myriad other things. We need to repent of pride, not ban everything that could prompt it--which is everything in our lives!
C. But aren’t we supposed to “forget those things that lie behind?”
We are to leave the old carnal life behind when we are born again. But God gave us memories to enjoy pleasant events in the past. Photographs simply are memory prompters, as are the post cards and memoirs Holdemans cherish.
Myth 14—–This is the true Church because we are “closer” by not having musical instruments.
The Bible commands us to praise Him with “musical instruments of God“(1 Chron. 16:14) and that command has never been revoked (Psa. 150: 3-6; Psa 81:2; Psa 98: 5-6) The Greek word for psalm means “to pluck the strings.” The very song beloved by Holdemans Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken, comes from Psalm 89, which they believe is a description of the church. And the last verse says, “As well the singers as the players of instruments shall be there.” Musical instruments pleased God in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and in Heaven.
Myth 15—–This is the true Church because we are “closer” by not having TV, radio, tape recorders, or Internet.
All Christians will agree a person can find trash on the TV, radio, and Internet, but that there is valuable content also. Magazine racks carry both Playboy and Good Housekeeping. Which does the Spirit-led Christian reach for? Banning media tools with a church rule is the forbidden legalism of “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle” and robs the Christian of his birthright to listen to the Holy Spirit, navigating through this wicked world, choosing the good and rejecting the bad.
Myth 16—This is the true Church because we are “closer” by not going to fairs and circuses.
All Christians will, of course, be prompted by the Holy Spirit not to take recreation where ungodly actions are on display--but this is hardly the case with family-oriented community fairs or circuses. There is not the slightest hint in the Bible to prohibit attending local events. Jesus walked among the common man the better to reach him.
Myth 17—–This is the true Church because we are “closer” by wearing a beard and no tie.
Twice in the Mosaic law the Jews were told not to mar the corners of their beard or cut their flesh in context with mourning the dead. Jesus, as a Jew under the law, was obedient to this Law. If Christians were still under the Law, the Holdemans would be in violation, for they very definitely “round the corners” of their beard. However, the Bible is plain that Christians are no longer under this or any other Mosaic law, including the one in the very same passage as the beard which says a fruit tree must not be harvested until its fifth year!
Circumcision, vastly more important as a vital sign of the covenant, was mentioned 32 times--yet we are told that if we try to import that commandment into the church, “Christ shall benefit you nothing.“
The tie? Jesus wore what his respectable fellow citizens wore. A tie is the mark in our society of formality. What is ironic is that Holdemanism disdains“casualness” but rejects our culture’s accepted mark of formality!
Myth 18—This is the true Church because our ministers are not paid.
The Bible says “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” Also: “Elders who do their work well should be paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.”
That this is speaking of material things is clear: For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?”
The Apostle Paul took wages from the churches but chose not to accept a wage from the carnal and problem-riddled Corinthians. In fact, he served the Corinthians while other churches footed the bill, which he says practically amounted to robbery! “I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.” God ordains a ministerial paycheck, though a minister may elect to temporarily decline.
Myth 19—This is the true Church because we are “closer” by being self-denied in all these things.
The Bible says the following of manmade rules looks like self-denial but actually has no value whatsoever to guard against sin.”(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” Col. 2:21
Worse, legalism actually turns men away from the truth and perverts the gospel. We are commanded not to yield to these seemingly pious but evil commandments of men. Read Galatians, Colossians, Titus. They all warn against commandments of men that seem pious but are sinful.
Myth 19—This is the true Church because we are “closer” by being non-conformed.
The Bible says we are not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds! Jesus did not practice nonconformity by wearing odd distinctive clothing--he wore exactly what his average, common, worldly neighbors wore. (And dress in Palestine then consisted of a knee-length sleeveless tunic over which a mantle was draped for sun and cold protection, or in colder regions, an ankle-length short sleeved tunic with wool mantle). The nonconformity of a Christian is that his goals, priorities, attitudes, and heart matters are vastly different from the unsaved world.
Myth 20—This is the true Church because we have complete unity.
Forced uniformity under threat of excommunication is not Christian unity. All Christians are in union with Christ, who is in God. We are in unity, joined together in God. This unity is far superior to being expected to wear the same color shoes to church. As for doctrinal harmony, all true Christians believe the core doctrines of the Christian faith alike. We are indeed to “speak the same thing” and we do! In peripheral things, Romans 14 and 1 Cor. 8 gives instruction on how to accept one another when we have different viewpoints, which is normal and allowable by Scripture. (Some have quoted Phil 3:16 to prove we are to “walk by the same rule” but the context is obvious that Christians, having attained a certain maturity, are to continue in that rule! Here are other translations:
16 But whereto we have attained, let us walk in the same steps. DARBY
16 only, whereunto we have attained, by that same rule let us walk.
16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. ESV
16 However that may be, let us go forward according to the same rules we have followed until now. NAS
16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. NIV
Myth 21—This is the true Church because we are “closer” by submitting to our brethren.
The Bible says we are to submit to one another, and all obedient Christians do this within their congregations. Submit does not mean blindly accept someone else’s understanding of the Bible. We are also to submit to those who preach the Word of God to us. Does this mean I should submit to the Pope? Or any religious preacher who requires it of me? We are to accept the Word preached gladly, then make sure it is accurate, like those in Berea who were called noble because they “searched the Scriptures daily to see whether those things were true.” If a minister is truly teaching the Word of God, we should submit to him because of that Word.
Myth 22—This is the true Church because we are “closer” by practicing foot washing and the holy kiss.
All Scripture must be seen in the light of the customs of the day. When Jesus spoke of bringing a gift to the altar, does that mean Christians today must construct an altar and literally lay their gifts upon it? Foot washing was the humble task of a servant during normal hospitality. That Jesus humbled Himself to perform this duty was the point, and He desires that we “wash one another’s feet” also. Whether this involves serving one another in the humble acts of a servant or performing literal feet washing ceremonies is not stated clearly enough to make a rigid doctrine of it. Likewise the holy kiss was a customary greeting. It seems likely that God is not commanding the specific mode of how Christians demonstrate their warm fellowship, but that they greet one another with the warmest greeting of their day. Today’s Christians demonstrate their warm (genuine and spontaneous, not forced!) love with shaking hands or giving a hug.
Myth 23—This is the true Church because we are “closer” by practicing reproof, excommunication, and avoidance.
All Bible-teaching churches obey the true Scriptural teaching of reproof, excommunication, and avoidance. Holdemanism has taken these Bible principles far out of scriptural bounds.
1. We are to consider as a publican those who refuse to repent of a wrong they have done to somebody after that person has brought it to them with repeated pleas (Matt 18:28):
2. We are to reject a heretic after two or three warnings (Titus 3:10)
3. We are to formally excommunicate and refuse to fellowship or eat with a brother who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner( 1 Cor, 5:11).
4. We are to avoid (it doesn’t mention excommunication) Those who won’t work for a living (2 Thess 3: 6-15) and those who live to eat, and cause division by false doctrine spoken in fair speeches. (Rom. 16:17).
5. We are to stop the mouths and rebuke those who teach commandments of men ( Titus 1:10-13)
6. The Bible tells us to not to invite into our home or even say, “God Speed” or give any other greeting to those who deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. (3 John 7-11).
Myth 24—This is the true Church because we are “closer” by practicing nonresistance.
Christians historically have had varying opinions on this issue. One’s opinion on this subject is not the litmus test of who is the “real” church.
Christians who go to war believe Jesus was speaking of literally turning the cheek for an insulting slap, going the second mile for an imposition, giving also the coat when sued for the cloke—all irritants that can only happen in one’s society, not in wartime.
Pacifists expand Jesus’s words to mean turn the cheek for a lethal attack or conquering army.
The following is only our personal understanding on why we believe Jesus was speaking about turning the other cheek for a slap in community circumstances, not turning the cheek to a lethal assault in war:
1. God sanctioned national security protection through war in the Old Testament and condemned those who refused to go to war.
“And Moses said to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye abide here?”Num. 32:6
“Blessed be Jehovah my rock, who teacheth my hands to war, my fingers to fight” Psa. 144:1
“Who teacheth my hands to war, and mine arms bend a bow of brass“ Psa.18:34
“Thou [Israel] art my maul, my weapons of war: and with thee I will break in pieces the nations, and I will with thee destroy kingdoms; 21 and with thee I will break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee I will break in pieces the chariot and its driver” Jer. 51:20
OBJECTION: Many things sanctioned in the Old Testament are sin now.
ANSWER: Just the opposite. The rituals and restrictions of the law are no longer in effect, so there are many things that were sin (eating pork, shaving the beard, harvesting first year fruit trees, allowing deformed people into the temple, etc.) that are no longer sin. But were there things that were right then and are sin now? Some people mention polygamy and divorce, but God did not sanction these, nor were they in His will. There is no precedent for an act God commanded later becoming sin. When Jesus said, “ye have heard that it was said, hate your enemy, but I say unto you...” He was not quoting Scripture, for God never commanded to hate the enemy, but rather to help the wandering livestock of your enemy—enemy being someone in your society who doesn’t like you, not an attacking army.
Some pacifists believe since the Bible says the policeman is a minister of God that it’s sanctioned for unbelievers to protect them as police or soldiers, but there has never been something that is sin for the people of God and not sin for the rest of humanity. God changes not.
3. John the Baptist did not tell the soldiers to quit being soldiers, but even to continue taking wages.
OBJECTION: But John told the soldiers, “Do violence to no man”!
ANSWER: The Greek word here translated “violence” means to shake down someone for money. John was telling the soldiers to be “content with your wages” and not to use their office to extort money from the local citizenry.
1286 διασείω [diaseio /dee·as·i·o/] From 1223 and 4579; 1398; translates as “do violence to” once. 1 to shake thoroughly. 2 to make to tremble. 3 to terrify. 4 to agitate. 5 to extort from one by intimidation money or other property.
1398 διασείω (diaseiō): 1286 57.245 extort (money)
1286. διασείω diaseiō; from 1223 and 4579; to shake violently, to intimidate:— take money...by force
14 And persons engaged in military service also asked him saying, And we, what should we do? And he said to them, Oppress no one, nor accuse falsely, and be satisfied with your pay.
14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
14 Even some soldiers were asking him, “And what should we do?” He told them, “Never extort money from anyone by threats or blackmail, and be satisfied with your pay.”
14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”
14 The soldiers asked John, “What about us? What should we do?” John said to them, “Don’t force people to give you money, and don’t lie about them. Be satisfied with the pay you get.”
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”
4. Jesus told the adulteress woman to quit sinning, but He did not tell the centurion to quit being a soldier--He praised him as a man of great faith and mentioned a place in the kingdom of heaven.
5. Cornelius was a pious and God-fearing soldier whose prayers were answered. After his baptism, he did not cease being a soldier.
6. Cornelius sent to Peter a man the Bible labels a “pious soldier”
7. Jesus said that if His kingdom were of this world, his followers would indeed fight his enemies, sanctioning the citizen soldier’s proper role in issues concerning the protection of earthy kingdoms.
OBJECTION: But we are not citizens of the kingdoms of this world but of heaven.
RESPONSE: While we are to seek heavenly things and have been translated into the kingdom of God, and are strangers and pilgrims to the lusts of the earth, there is no place in the Bible that says we give up our earthly citizenship while we are living in the kingdoms of this world. On the contrary, the Apostle Paul claimed his Roman citizenship.
OBJECTION: “We do not war according to the flesh, for the arms of our warfare are not fleshly”
RESPONSE: This verse is speaking about warring against thoughts, reasonings, and anything against the knowledge of God. Of course, physical weapons are not what we use in spiritual warfare!
OBJECTION: Jesus said we are to love our enemies and turn the other cheek and not resist evil.
RESPONSE: Wasn’t Jesus talking about relationships in our daily walk within our society? It seems so, because none of the examples He gave are situations of war or lethal threat, but they are occurrences in everyday community life: the light insult of a slap on the cheek, the minor irritation of someone forcing you to carry a burden, and the monetary loss of undergoing the civil action of being sued. (Also, an eye for an eye was Israel’s civil law of punishment) All these examples do not happen in war or a criminal attack situation. It seems Jesus was teaching us that a Christian should not be vengeful, or pay back evil for evil, or push the law to its limits, or be aggressively protective of his possessions, or be easily provoked to fight, but rather be a gentle, passively good-natured peacemaker in his environment. Jesus did not say a man is to allow someone to murder his wife and children--or all the wives and children of his country.
OBJECTION: We are to follow Jesus’ example, and he allowed Himself to be persecuted even unto death.
RESPONSE: Jesus was going to the cross as a lamb before shearers to accomplish the most important event in history. Not only did He go passively, but He did not verbally defend Himself. It was the Father’s will that He go, and He would not thwart this in any way. Likewise, if the issue is a spiritual matter and we are being persecuted because of our faith, we are to suffer in the same way, to bless, to pray for, to be lambs among wolves, to be harmless as doves, to suffer death as a testimony.
OBJECTION: Jesus told Peter to put up his sword, for all who take up the sword die by the sword.
RESPONSE: It was Jesus Himself who had told Peter just a few hours earlier to sell his garment and buy a sword! When the disciples had shown Him that they had two swords, He had said they were enough. But when Peter used one of those swords that Jesus had commanded him to buy to interfere with God’s plan of the Cross, Jesus rebuked him. (And it is true that those who battle with weapons often get killed.)
OBJECTION: When two disciples wanted to rain down fire on a town, Jesus rebuked them.
RESPONSE: Of course He did!! What sort of spiteful, vengeful missionaries were they, anyway?
OBJECTION: But aren’t we to beat our swords into plowshares?
RESPONSE: The prophecy says men will beat their swords into plowshares, and nations will war no more. Whatever time that prophecy is talking about, it’s not now, for men still learn war and nations still rise up against nation. A few chapters down, Isaiah talks about the same “day of the Lord” when infants can play with vipers and lambs can lie down with lions. Someday, but not yet.
CONCLUSION: In light of the fact that (1)God sanctioned national protection in the Old Testament and never revoked it, (2)the New Testament calls certain military men pious and of great faith,(3) Military men who became Christians were not required to quit ,(4) there is not one other instance where something is ok for the non-believer, but sin for the Christian, (5) the “proof texts” used to support nonresistance do not prove military pacifism, and (6) Jesus’ examples of when we should be passive are all minor irritations of everyday life rather than war, we believe pacifism is not scriptural. We believe a Christian should be harmless, passive, easy-going, and peaceable, and return good for evil for the enemies in his life. We also believe that a Christian should be willing to die as a lamb without protest for his faith.
But it is not evident anywhere in the Bible that encourages a man to deny his most basic God-given instinct and leave the family he is responsible to protect open to physical attack, either on a personal level or a national one.
Myth 25—This is the true Church because we are the only church that practices love.
This is an astonishingly subjective judgment! Many people who have left CGCM testify to finding a level of true brotherly love in local churches that so far exceeds the “mutual One True Church.
agenda” type of love in CGCM that dissolves as soon as one abandons the agenda.
Myth 26—This is the true Church because I had an experience in which God showed me it was.
Emotion-based testimony is common coin in all “one true church” cults. Mormons testify of a burning in the bosom, Cooneyites “profess” they believe that indoctrination. God did not tell us to lead by our emotions, or a conscience which can be trained or become seared, but to test things objectively by the unchanging Word of God!
Misapplied Scripture 1—Obey them that have the rule over you.
To whom do we choose to consider having the rule over us? The verse says those who preach the Word!
Misapplied Scripture 2—Remove not the ancient landmark of the fathers.
A verse about not moving a property boundary is a verse about not moving a property boundary. If it meant we should never change our minds about previously taught doctrine, CGCM could never accept converts from another faith, but direct them back to their “ancient landmark.”
Misapplied Scripture 3—No scripture is of private interpretation.
No scripture is (the word translated “is,” genomai, means “originated”) of private interpretation, for holy men of God spake as they were moved by God. This verse says no scripture originated from private interpretation. It means mere man didn’t dream up the inspired Bible! We are commanded to search the Scriptures daily to discern truth.
Misapplied Scripture 4—Love not the world.
The world is defined in the Bible as the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life. All other sins are listed in the Bible. Pharisee/Holdeman rules are manmade legalism, which is sin.
Misapplied Scripture 5—Holdeman ministers hold the keys to the kingdom.
In Holdeman teaching, the kingdom is the outer circle realm of all born again people, whose entrance into that kingdom Holdeman ministers would acknowledge is completely beyond their jurisdiction. How in the world can they claim to hold the keys to the kingdom if it is that “outer circle”?
In truth, Peter was given the keys (the gospel message) to the kingdom which he used on the Day of Pentecost and in other ringing testimonies to give the church a glorious start. The keys of David, the keys of death and hell belong to Jesus Christ. (Rev. 1:18; 3:7) No Holdeman minister has any power to keep one from the kingdom or cast one out!
Misapplied Scripture 6—In the multitude of counselors there is safety.
It is always wise to seek counsel from a broad range of Bible-teaching counselors, but this is not what Holdemanism means when it quotes this verse. Holdeman ministers would never urge their doubting members to seek counsel from the other ministers and Christians of their town?
Misapplied Scripture 7--The Spirit and the Bride say Come.
Holdemans use this verse to mean the Church sits with the Spirit and extends her royal hand to the sinner, and one cannot come without coming to her!! But in that passage The Spirit and the Bride are saying come to the Lord Jesus Christ!! “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come….He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.“
Misapplied Scripture 8--Flesh and Blood Hath Not Revealed This.
When someone asks for Scriptural proof for the doctrines of CGCM, this verse is quoted, illogically making Scripture represent the “flesh and blood” that cannot reveal their doctrines! (And in truth, Scripture cannot reveal Holdemanism, because Holdemanism is unscriptural.) This verse means that humans cannot penetrate another human heart to reveal spiritual truth—only the Holy Spirit can do that.
Misapplied Scripture 9--Unless ye remain on the Ship, Ye cannot be saved.
“And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.“
This passage has nothing to do with the church being a ship. Those who didn’t jump ship were saved from drowning. The ship in this passage sank.
Accusation 1—You are not being submissive.
I am under the same obligation to submit to a Holdeman minister as to the Pope. Does he teach the Word of God in truth?
Accusation 2—You are not being humble.
Humility is defined by any “one true church” cult as a blind obedience to their organization, not a humility toward God. True humility is understanding we cannot save ourselves but must rely completely in faith on the finished work of Christ on the cross.
Accusation 3—You are not being self-denied.
Jesus told us to deny ourselves. Deny that we have anything of merit in ourselves! It does not mean to deny ourselves something just for the sake of being aesthetic. All Christians, of course, will refrain from allowing themselves to indulge in sin.
Accusation 4—You are not being yielded.
We are to yield to God’s truth, not a manmade organization of falsehood. Apostle Paul said he didn’t yield even for an hour to legalism.
Accusation 5—You are not being teachable.
Shall we present ourselves teachable to the Pope? We are to remain teachable to the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.
Accusation 5—You have a wrong spirit.
Controlling cults always label any questioning of their dogma as demonstrating a “bad spirit.” But Jesus spoke emphatically to the Pharisees, calling them blind guides and sons of snakes and sons of hell. Decrying false doctrine with vigor is Biblical.
Accusation 6—You are deceived.
So the Pharisee accused Jesus and Apostle Paul. The only way to determine truth from deception is the Word of God.
Accusation 7—You are laboring in division.
All “one true church” cults are laboring in division from Christianity.
Accusation 8—You are holding up your own light above your brethren.
It is impossible to “lay down your light” in decision making. All people with normal minds use their own reasoning power to evaluate to whom they will submit. They remain with a group based on their own “light” or evaluation of the group.
Accusation 9—You are selfishly taking your own way.
Meaning any other way than Holdemanism? Was it selfish for the Apostle Paul to abandon Phariseeism? No, it was following the truth of Jesus Christ.
Accusation 10-You are not being childlike.
We are to be like little children in the faith in which we come to Christ. The Bible tells us not to be like children when trying to decipher false doctrine .”That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”
Accusation 11--your way has no cross and is easy on the flesh
Apostle Paul said the offence of the cross is the message of salvation by faith without works. If works were added, the offence of the cross would disappear. All “one true church” cults are offended at the cross, for they want desperately to add their own works at the point of conversion. Their legalism may be a trail and cross, but it is not the cross Christ was speaking of. True Christianity preaches salvation “to him that worketh not but believeth” and then urges a lifetime of good works after conversion.
Doubts and Fears
Fear 1—If I leave, how can I bear losing my loved ones?
Christ must be first in our lives above whatever loss we may incur in following Him in truth. Yet Jesus promises that those who forsake mother and father and lands and houses for His sake receive back a hundredfold.
If you stay, chances are your children and grandchildren will remain in the clutches of Holdemanism, living a life of submission to legalism and likely missing the true gospel and salvation. If you leave, you will be a testimony to them of the truth, and they may find freedom in Christ, also.
Fear 2—If I leave, what church would I go to?
Attend a church that truly teaches the Bible and glorifies Jesus Christ and Him crucified, rather than one who worships itself and teaches blasphemy, heresy, and idolatry--and practices mind control, legalism, and destruction of families.
Fear 3—If I leave, where will my children go to school?
Teach them at home, send them to a Christian school, or guide them carefully in public school. They are yours, not an organization’s, to raise as you feel led of the Lord.
Fear 4—If I leave, who will my children marry?
If your children marry in Holdemanism or any other “one true church” cult, that group will insert itself between spouses by establishing the minister as head of the home, enforcing manmade commandments with fear and doubt and guilt, and teaching false doctrine to them and all generations that follow.
Instead, free your family from the cycle and encourage your children to marry a sincere born-again Christian from a Bible-teaching church.
Fear 5--I don’t fit in anywhere
Cults are successful because they provide a haven of belonging--an instant and lifelong guarantee of an acceptance in a cloistered social group of clones. In real life, there are many different types of people, and social acceptance is genuinely based on whether you treat people well or not. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.”
Don’t worry about fitting in--most people, even popular and famous ones, feel they don’t! Just live your life to please Jesus Christ and make an effort to be friendly to folks around you. You will discover real friends who accept you for who you are rather than because you are mutually devoted to the same organization.
Fear 6--What if it’s true after all and I’m on my way to hell?
Lifelong indoctrination is extremely effective, even into old age. Many people who leave any of the “one true church” groups return because of this tormenting fear.
Holdemans have been taught since birth that any questioning doubt about “The Church” or her doctrines is the beginning of deception. They have been taught to fear deception above all else—a deception whereby one can read the Bible, think they see contradiction of CGCM, live an entire life in what they think is a spiritual life outside that organization—-and then arrive screaming and horrified in hell.
“One true church” members have also been taught that only the hierarchy of the organization can interpret Scripture, so the individual never trusts what he reads.
There is no more powerful deterrent to objective thought and honest Biblical scrutiny than this type of indoctrination, which in reality is simply brainwashing. It reaches deep into the trained conscience of a cult member or ex-cult member to torment him the rest of his life, even though he leaves—unless he clings to the Word of God.
There is only one hope for an excommunicated Holdeman If he evaluates truth by his emotion, his childhood indoctrination will win and he will return to Holdemanism in fear—or commit spiritual suicide believing he is lost anyway so might as well sin and enjoy it!
But if a person will implore the Holy Spirit to open the Word of God and strip away the Holdeman slant, he will see Scripture reveal that Holdemanism and the Bible do not harmonize. Only in this strength can he withstand a life’s upbringing of untruth.
The Bible is our only offensive weapon—our Sword—against deception. It is the only bedrock Truth upon which we can rest. Jesus, when challenged, always used the Word of God as response, and so should we.
When we honestly and objectively and prayerfully seek the truth of the Word of God, allowing the Holy Spirit (not indoctrinated conscience or emotion) to teach us, we will discover without doubt that Holdemanism is a false religion created by a false prophet, not much different than any of the other “one true church” cults that draw people away from Christ and encourage them instead to form a relationship with and even worship the organization.
We must cling to the objective truth of God’s Word rather than be swayed by emotion or trained conscience. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
This is our heartfelt prayer for all peoples, including our beloved Holdeman friends, who are locked into a “one true church” falsehood through the prison of their own closed minds.
There is deliverance through Jesus Christ and His Word!
“Thy Word is Truth.”
Love letter to the Holdemans:
Whether it be of God and No Proselytes in Zion--a Re-examination: (this is the original pamphlet sent to 2,000 members of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite)
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