This year (2005) a leaflet, entitled, ‘What Is The Christian Hope?’ was posted in my door from the ‘Household of Faith’ (The address is: The Local Secretary, The Household of faith, 319 Holyhead Road, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 2EZ). I sent off for their free introductory booklet, ‘What Is The Christian Hope? The Almost Forgotten Faith of the Apostles and Prophets’. As I had never heard of them before and wondered whether they were a Christian denomination or not. Some points in the booklet caused me concern so I sent off for further free literature. Here is an outline of areas that I feel are not true Christian teachings of the Bible:
In the introductory booklet it says:
“Christians…have repented of their sins, and as proof of their repentance, are striving to convert their minds…to God’s way of thinking. By their earnest endeavour, they have hope that their sins may be blotted out when Jesus returns from the heavens.” – What is the Christian Hope?, p.2.
We have in their text here, ‘striving’ and ‘earnest endeavour’ and only then do we have ‘hope’ that their sins ‘may’ be blotted out. Not only that, but they believe, we only get them blotted out when Jesus returns. But the truth is simple (see John 3:16 and 1 John 1:9).
In fact they have a strong emphasis on the Second Coming and it seems to me to be the central issue for them to gain followers. We are told (also on p.2) that the ‘majority of Christians do not believe in the Second Coming of Jesus’. That’s news to me.
On p.3 we are told that Jesus and the Apostles did not teach that the
“Soul…leaves the body and ascends into the heavens to be with Christ and God”.
But it actually says in Philippians 1:21-23,that “to die is to be with Jesus which is far better!”
The Apostles’ teaching is said to be an “almost forgotten faith” (p.7) which of course undermines the mainstream Christian churches of today. On page 8 we are told that the “resurrection of the dead” is “another forgotten element of early Christian belief”.
Their booklet, The Second coming of Jesus Christ states:
“Why …do we not hear anything about this momentous event?” – p.1.
I would ask why the Household of Faith do not know of the popular Left Behind series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins that have sold millions throughout western Christian bookshops?
In The Trinity: A True or False Doctrine? we are told (p.2) that :
“The Creed’s teaching of a trinity…was an ‘Adding’ to the word of God”.
They insist on p.3 that the fact that there is only one God is proof that there is no Trinity. But they even quote Isaiah 44:6 as proof, when in this verse we find the LORD (Hebrew: Jehovah – the I AM) the King of Israel AND the LORD (Hebrew: Jehovah – the I AM) the redeemer, as both singularly one God. How does this prove their point?
They say on p.5 that the Holy Spirit is the “power of God and not a person”. But I would ask, “How then does the Holy Spirit decide Himself what gifts to give to which Christians in 1 Corinthians 12:11?”
They believe Jesus had His beginning 2000 years ago and that He could not be God because He died (p.7). Have they not read John 1:1-3 or John 8:58?
“God’s purpose of salvation depended on a mortal man living a sinless life and then offering that life as a sacrifice…” – p.8.
Where do we get the idea that Jesus was just mortal? A mortal man can hardly take away the sin of the world!
We are told too that since Jesus was tempted (as in Hebrews 4:15), He cannot be God, on the basis of James 1:13, where it says God cannot be tempted (p.5-6). But they themselves even refer to Matthew 4:7 which is a quotation from the Old Testament that Jesus used against the Devil during the temptation in the wilderness.
This quotation used by Jesus is from Deuteronomy 6:16 where we are told not to put the LORD (in Hebrew – Jehovah/Yahweh) to the test (i.e. we are not to tempt Him). The passage adds “as you tested Him at Massah”. So, in reality we can actually put the LORD to the test although we are not supposed to.
James 1:13 however, needs a little explanation:
There are two kinds of temptation:
1. The subject trying to tempt, endeavouring to entice someone into a certain action.
2. Or the kind of temptation that we have within ourselves (as in James 1:14-15) which is our inward desires pushing us to respond in a bad way.
Jesus and/or God have been tempted/tested by this and that, but God being God, He never responds to the external pull because internally He has no sinful nature to draw Him into sin.
Jesus was not simply a mortal who did not sin, but He was God and man. He was tempted in the sense that He was barraged with all that we experience but was not tempted in the sense that He did not have any uncontrollable urges because He was ‘without sin’ (Hebrews 4:15)! He did not simply choose not to sin but He was intrinsically without any sinfulness.
The Household of Faith also say on page 8 that:
“The deceiver or deceived person will say that the trinity is proved by the words of Jesus, ‘I and my Father are one’ John 10:30”.
Here they imply that this is the Christian’s proof text, which it is not, and they are thereby undermining Christians who believe in the Trinity.
In their booklet: What Does The Future Hold? we are told that Jesus was in a state of ‘probation’ (p.15). But Jesus was the Word made flesh (John 1:1-15).
In their booklet: True Baptism: Essential for Salvation! we are told that:
“By the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles it [Baptism] is shown to be necessary for salvation” – p.1.
Adding this to the following statement:
“Baptism then, is a bodily immersion in water and not a sprinkling” (p.2),
we can see that a significant number of genuine Christians are not saved in their opinion. But we are not saved by deeds (see Ephesians 2:8-9)!
In fact, virtually every ‘Church of England’ Christian in this country and every other Christian who has not been fully immersed in other mainstream denominations is unsaved according to them. It also says it is impossible for people to become Christians on their death-bed unless they are fully immersed before they take their last breath. This makes a mockery of Jesus’ words to the thief on the cross in Luke 23:43.
Again on page 4 we are told:
“Baptism into Christ is essential for salvation.”
And on page 5:
“Baptism is the only way by which believers become joined to Christ and to the Hope of Salvation.”
“Salvation depends upon Baptism being followed by a life acceptable to God.”
But in reality it is more simple (see John 3:16).
On page 6 we read:
“Baptism is a spiritual birth.”
And on page 8:
“Receipt of the power of the Holy Spirit has never been essential for salvation, but repentance, baptism and a new way of life are essential.”
To see the error in this teaching read John 1:12-13 with 3:5. It is quite amazing that they can place a physical symbolic act above the activity of the Holy Spirit.
Again on the ‘salvation by works issue’ they say on page 3:
“Whoever believes in this crucifixion of human nature (and practices it in their life) shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Parentheses in the original)
But compare this with John 3:16.
What Are They Offering?
As I have already mentioned they seem to emphasise the Second Coming of Christ. They say:
“In accordance with our Lord’s request, any who want this great reward [i.e., to be with Christ in glory ‘judging the earth in uprightness’- see p.15] must endeavour to occupy themselves in this work of preparation so that they may be ready when he comes” – What Does The Future Hold?, p.16.
This reward is further alluded to in What is the Christian Hope? p.4; quoting a reference from Isaiah 32:1 they state:
“Behold a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgement…”
In What Does The Future Hold? (p.8) they say:
“Peace will come through the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth – a literal sovereign kingdom headed up by Christ.”
This “worldwide control” will be “under the authority of those who have proved themselves true disciples of Christ” (p.10) [i.e., those of the Household of Faith].
This is what they are presenting. They are promoting the hope of becoming a ruler over the earth. We must make sure we work for it in preparation. As we saw earlier they do not believe that our sins can be blotted out until the Second Coming (see What is the Christian Hope? p.2). This is their view of salvation; it is to become “immortal and perfected rulers of the world” (p.10).
So, according to them, we are to work hard to achieve the forgiveness of sins at a future unknown date. This blotting out of sins, according to them, coincides with becoming rulers on the earth at the Second Coming of Jesus. Jesus is not God and neither is the Holy Spirit according to the Household of Faith.
They believe the Holy Spirit is not needed for us to be saved whereas baptism by full immersion is and is the only way we can be joined to Christ; it is also in their opinion the only way to receive spiritual birth. There is not enough emphasis on loving God, but rather living a certain way to get the reward of ruling on earth.
There is no way I can accept the Household of Faith‘ as an evangelical Christian denomination. They are so at variance with the Gospel.
I could not see any date on these free publications. The version of the Bible that they use is not noted, but all the references I checked are from the King James Version.