Defending Christmas In An Unbelieving World – Scientology (Part 4)
What POWER do Christians have when witnessing to Scientologists? The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16
What does a Scientologist need to do to be saved? Confess the Lord Jesus and believe that God raised Him from the dead.
“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:8-13
What happens to a Scientologist when they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? They are washed, renewed, justified, sealed and protected by the Holy Spirit.
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:12-14
Salvation for a Scientologist is the same as for a Mormon, Hindu, Bahai, Buddhist, Jehovah’s Witness, Muslim, agnostic and atheist – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
What is different for every new Christian who comes out of a strong belief system is dealing with the beliefs, emotions and spiritual baggage from that system. The Apostle Paul dealt with it often in his ministry to Gentiles because of the kinds of belief systems they left when they became followers of Jesus Christ. Let’s see what we can learn from Paul’s Epistles about helping cultists who become Christians.
“For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10
General Cassander founded the city of Thessalonica in 315 BC. Cassander was married to the half sister of Alexander the Great. Her name was Thessalonike and was the daughter of King Philip II of Macedon (the city of Philippi was named after him). Thessalonica became an important port city in Greece and became the capital of Macedonia. By the time Paul visited Thessalonica, its culture was predominately Roman and was known for having a temple of Serapis.
Serapis was a god born during the 3rd century BC on orders from the Egyptian Pharaoh Ptolemy I. It was his way of unifying the Egyptians and Greeks under his control. Serapis looked Greek in appearance, but included cultic symbols from other religious backgrounds. Greeks and Romans embraced Serapis as a god and often replaced Osiris with its image. That image became the idol the people of Thessalonica worshiped.
Paul began his ministry in the Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica.
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.’ And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.” Acts 17:1-4
Paul persuaded some of the Jews that Jesus was “the Christ” (Messiah). A large number of devout Greeks and several of the leading women joined Paul and Silas and became the beginning of the Christian Church in Thessalonica. However, the Jews who were not persuaded were envious of Paul and took some wicked people from the marketplace and gathered a mob. They attacked the house of a man named Jason looking for Paul and Silas. When they didn’t find them, the mob dragged Jason and some of other believers to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” Jason and the other believers had to put up security before they were released by the city rulers. They immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea.
Paul’s visit to Thessalonica began soon after the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:6-29; Galatians 2:1-10). Paul had a strong desire to visit all of the churches in every city where they preached the Word of the Lord and see how they were doing. Paul wanted Barnabas to go with him since Barnabas had been with him on that first missionary journey, but the disagreement about taking John Mark with them again was so strong that Barnabas took Mark to Cyprus and Paul chose Silas to be his co-laborer. They went through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches. (Acts 15:36-41).
While Paul was in Derbe and Lystra he chose a young man named Timothy to travel with him. Timothy was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish woman named Eunice. His mother and grandmother (Lois) were Christians and had a big impact on Timothy’s life (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy went with Paul and began his training in being a missionary and pastor.
Paul, Silas and Timothy went through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not allow them to preach the Word in Asia. Paul tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. He must have wondered what God had in mind for him and it wasn’t long before he got the answer.
“So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Acts 16:8-10
God wanted Paul to take the Gospel to Macedonia, so He gave Paul a vision of a man pleading with him – “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Paul’s response was to “immediately” change his plans and go to Macedonia. He left Troas and his previous plans and ran a straight course to Samothrace, an island in the northern Aegean Sea. They traveled from there to Neapoli, then Philippi, which at that time was the primary city of that part of Macedonia.
In the next part of our study, we’ll see what Paul, Silas and Timothy faced during their journey and how they helped people leave cults and walk in the True Spirit of God. We’ll also learn how to help people in our lives do the same.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”