Category Archives: Armstrongism

If We Are Not under the Law, How Do We Avoid Sin?–Part 1

by Peter Ditzel

The painting, Moses with the Tablets of the Law by Rembrandt.
“For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth were realised through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). But don’t we need the law to avoid sin? (Moses with the Tablets of the Law by Rembrandt.)

“For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be!” (Romans 6:14-15). Many people read this, and then they tag on this assumption: Paul is saying that just because you are under grace doesn’t mean that you should not strive to keep the law to avoid sin. But nothing could be further from the truth! If Paul were saying this, he would be contradicting himself. He would be saying, you are not under the law, but you must keep the law to avoid sin. This would be putting us back under the law. It would give us freedom from the law with one hand while taking it away with the other. It would be saying, you are not under the law, but you are under the law. This would be nonsense.

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Q. If we are no longer under the law, why did Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, raise the standard of the law?

A. It’s pretty common for preachers to say that Jesus raised the standard of the law or amplified or magnified it. This question is based on this belief that Jesus came to magnify the law. Those who teach that Jesus magnified the law usually cite Isaiah 42:21 and tie it to Matthew 5.

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A Personal Note

by Peter Ditzel

Before I left the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in 1991, I would have considered a website like this as just another attempt at persecuting God’s truth. In fact, since I was for ten years a writer in the WCG’s Personal Correspondence Department and Editorial Services, I might very well have been assigned the job of refuting the things said here.

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What the Bible Says About Tithing and Christian Giving

At a time when giving is reaching all-time lows in the church, ignorance about what is real Christian giving is reaching all-time highs. Surely, this is no coincidence. Not only does this article expose the misinformation we are fed in this area that can actually warp our thinking, but it sheds light on the true, biblical teaching about giving. I sincerely hope that all readers will give prayerful consideration to all this article has to say.

Has anyone ever told you to tithe by giving one-tenth of your income to the church? Or perhaps someone has told you to give to a particular ministry so that God will prosper you. Maybe you were even made to feel that you needed to make up for your sins by giving.

But have you ever stopped to wonder which, if any, of these approaches to giving is the right one for Christians? In this article, we will examine each of these ways of looking at giving to determine whether it is biblical. We will also see whether there is another approach to giving—one that is less popularly promoted. Because it is so commonly taught, we will devote the first section of this article to tithing.

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Old Covenant Law and New Covenant Law—Are They the Same?

by Peter Ditzel

Do you know that apples and oranges are not the same thing? Sure you do. I’m sure you also know that elephants and crocodiles are not the same. What about light and dark? That’s right, they’re not the same. These are pretty simple concepts. It is amazing, then, that so many preachers have such a gigantic problem with understanding that the law of the Old Covenant and the law of the New Covenant are not the same. The Bible clearly distinguishes the two.

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Q. Isn’t the teaching, “once saved, always saved,” arrogant?

A. At first glance, it may appear as though someone being totally assured of his or her salvation is prideful and arrogant. On the other hand, never knowing for sure whether you are saved seems humble and pious. But this is a deception.

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Q. In what way did Jesus fulfill the law?

A. Jesus’ last words on the Cross were, “It is finished” (see John 19:30). He had done everything His Father had sent Him to do (see John 17:4). One of things He had come to do is found in Matthew: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17). So, one of the things Jesus had come to do was to fulfill—not destroy, but fulfill—the law. Obviously, then, by the time He said, “It is finished,” He had done this. But the question is, in what way did He “fulfill” the law? What did He mean by “fulfill”?

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What Is the Christian Sabbath?

by Peter Ditzel

Have you ever wondered what day Christians are to keep? Saturday? Sunday? Are we to keep the day as a Sabbath or as a Lord’s Day? Or maybe there is no day for Christians to keep. This might sound like a relatively minor issue. But this question, simple as it sounds, has divided Christianity into four camps, each supporting its own view.

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Q. Don’t you think that your article, “Do you think Bible-believing Christians should keep Christmas?” is double-talk? I think that attending a Christmas dinner or having anything else to do with Christmas is observing the day and is an unacceptable compromise with pagan practices.

A. I want to point out that I was not promoting the observance of Christmas in any religious way. Under the New Covenant, there are no days, whether commanded under the Old Covenant or practiced by pagans, that Christians must keep. Day keeping is one of the “weak and beggarly elements” and “rudiments of the world” (Galatians 4 and Colossians 2). Paul clearly taught against such observations. But he also said that even an idol is nothing, his point being that he knew he could even eat meat that had been offered to an idol (see 1 Corinthians 8). In other words, it’s not the thing but what is in our mind. Yet he would not do it if it offended his brother.

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The Hebraic Roots Movement

by Peter Ditzel

Readers are increasingly asking me questions about a set of doctrines called Hebraic Roots. In recent years, Hebraic Roots teachings have invaded many churches and even some seminaries. There are even Hebraic Roots Bibles and a Hebraic Roots Network. Because this trend appears to be growing in numbers and adherents, we should know something about it. It would be too much to explore all of the teachings of this movement in one article, and, to complicate matters, there are some variations in belief from one specific Hebraic Roots group to another. What I would like to do is briefly examine a few of the core beliefs of this movement and compare them to Scripture.

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