Christian Churches of God
Praying to Christ or Beings other than the Father
(Edition 1.0 20111224-20111224)
In the last half of the Twentieth Century a badly educated ministry began to teach that it was permissible sometimes to pray to Christ as well as to the Father who is the main object of prayer. Although they never actually did it in the Churches of God until the great apostasy of 1993/4, and only in some churches, the error is starting to permeate many of the WCG offshoots and needs to be exposed.
Praying to Christ or Beings other than the Father
In this paper we will discuss no small issue with the Churches of God that has reared its head for the brethren to seriously consider and for a chance to see a little deeper into the practices that stem from non-biblical based theology ascribed from these ministers of the various churches and the organizations that support them, including the Churches of God. Our attention has most recently been drawn to one of the offshoots of the former Worldwide Church of God (WCG), the Living Church of God, as they have stated on their web site in the Q and A section that “it is not wrong to pray to Jesus Christ.”
Herbert Armstrong made a similar statement in the May issue of the Good News in 1960, which appears to be where this error commenced and is clearly seen to stem from the Ditheism advanced by Armstrong as early as 1960 in this document: http://www.herbert-armstrong.org/Good%20News%201960s/Good%20News%201960%20(Vol%20IX%20No%2005)%20May.pdf
After setting out to show that Christ commanded us to pray to the Father and whatever we asked in his name would be granted he then tried to placate the heretics that had entered the church and who were being removed precisely for demanding that the church pray to Jesus Christ. He said:
“WE DO, WE MAY, WE SHOULD, ALSO PRAY TO JESUS CHRIST! Yet the teaching and examples of the Bible place overwhelming main emphasis on praying to the Father.
God's Church does not forbid any to pray to Christ. It is not so much a matter of to WHICH person we are to pray. We do not condemn this couple for praying to Christ. Rather, they condemn God's Church for praying to the Father. But we DO SAY that one who has no fellowship with the FATHER by prayer is CUT OFF from God!” (Capitalization and emphasis left as original quote.)
Now, if their ministry stand on this decision, and most likely the other splinter groups from WCG support this very stance, can those who attend these organizations who disagree with such a view simply “place it on the shelf” until the return of the Messiah and still be counted among the elect? Let’s look now at this question, and give it the answer that will determine if the law is truly being upheld among these organizations or blatantly being broken according to the word of God. So, we now ask the readers of this paper, “is it wrong to pray to Jesus Christ (or to any other being for that matter, other than the One True God who is the Father)?” This question has one specific answer and only one and we must be very sure of the Bible position. It must also be noted that never once in all the years of attending the WCG system did anyone of the long standing members who were present over these and subsequent years ever utter or heard uttered a prayer to Jesus Christ and it was never taught that it was permissible to pray to Christ in any congregation of which we are aware.
Based on the scriptures, it is absolutely wrong to pray to Jesus Christ. As this message will detail, when one prays to Christ one wills to break the First Commandment and place another god before God the Father as the object of worship and the object of prayer. Praying to a son of God, whether it be Gabriel, Lucifer or Jesus Christ, is still praying to a son of God. Such action is in flagrant breach of the very first of the Ten Commandments of God: “Thou shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3; Deut. 5:7). The logic of this matter is clear and for that reason some of the Armstrong ministry actually claim that the First Commandment refers to Jesus Christ who is the God of the OT. Such assertion is a blatant lie but comes from the corrupted reasoning of the Ditheism of Armstrong and his false theology regarding the God of the OT, which is not Christ but the One True God Eloah. Such views have also resulted in Sabellianism which elevates Christ as the One True God and Father as well as son. This view has always been regarded as a heresy both in the Churches of God and by the Trinitarians. It entered the Church of God in China becoming the True Jesus Church and has corrupted many there.
From Ezra 4:23-7:26 we know that Eloah is the God of the OT, God of the Temple, the source of the Law and the object of worship, prayer and sacrifice; and all the priests including the High Priest of the Temple of God worshipped and prayed to Him alone.
Those who are still falsely claiming that Christ was the ‘only’ son of God should be reading the other scriptures that do not support their idea of a two or three true God theology, i.e. Genesis 6:2, 4; Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7. For all the spiritual host are sons of God just as men will become sons of God (Jn. 1:12; Jn. 10:34-36). (See the paper The Significance of the Term Son of God (No. 211).) However, those who are considered the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the testimony and faith of Jesus Christ (Rev 12:17, 14:12) would never pray to another god being other than the One True God, God the Father, as Jesus Christ clearly instructed us in the gospels.
When the disciples asked Christ to teach them to pray, did Christ give them any other object to which all prayer is devoted to other than the Father? Did he add, “and occasionally throw a prayer to me personally once in a while?” By no means did he at all anywhere in scripture ever instruct for any prayer to be devoted to him. Never did he do so, and for very good reason – it breaks God’s law. Let us look at Christ’s instruction in this matter.
Matthew 6:9-13 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV)
Christ said “after this manner,” referring to it as a model for prayer. These words were not meant to be repeated verbatim in meaningless repetition as it was Christ’s clear instruction not to do so in verse 7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” It was the instruction in how to structure all prayer to the Father which is in secret and rewards in the open (vs. 4,6) (See the paper Teach Us To Pray (No. 111).)
These being the very words of Jesus Christ should allow this answer to suffice to those who use logic when reading the word of God. However, twisted arguments still arise from false doctrines that men try desperately to hold onto, who idolize other men over the word of God. Ignoring the instruction of Jesus Christ, men still teach that it is ok to pray to the son of God – Jesus Christ, the intercessor and mediator of our prayer, the one we call High Priest to God the Father, in an attempt to justify the perverse theology of having two true gods, which is otherwise known as Ditheism (two co-equal, co-eternal god beings). Another easy way to refute the idea of having two co-equal god beings is the fact the Jesus Christ is our High Priest. All priests, no matter of what rank in their order, high or low, serve and worship a god above them. They cannot be both priest and the object of worship. That is clearly idolatry to anyone with any diligence (see the papers Ditheism (No. 76B) and Binitarianism and Trinitarianism (No 76)).
Let us look at one of the scriptures that the idolatrous Ditheist, Binitarian and Trinitarian teachers use to justify this heretical teaching of praying to a lesser god – namely Christ. In the book of Acts chapter 7 we find the recording of the stoning of the deacon Stephen. There are many clues in this chapter as to why Stephen said what he said and to whom he said it, but it takes knowledge of the scriptures to piece together the entire account, along with the correct wording of the translation.
The exact scripture these men quote as a proof text to justify that praying to Christ is valid is verse 59 of Acts chapter 7. In the Revised Standard Version (RSV) it reads, “And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” In a few other translations the word ‘prayed’ is also used, but the Greek word in scripture is Strong’s G1941 – epikaleo, meaning ‘to call upon’ or ‘appeal to’. Many other words are used to signify prayer in the Greek and epikaleo is not one of them, unless the translators stretch to use it in this case in Acts 7:59 in an attempt to give weight to their faulty theology.
The issue of Stephen speaking to Christ and not God can be understood if the entire passage is read and understood along with other confirming scriptures as to why this interaction had taken place. If we read the text a few verses earlier we see that in Acts 7:35-38 it says: “This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send [to be] a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the Mount Sinai, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:” Here, it is clearly stated that the being that had spoken and appeared to Moses is given the title of ‘angel’, and that being is none other than Jesus Christ.
1Corinthians 10:4, And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
This was, and still is, doctrine in the Church of God for two thousand years, and in the first and second centuries particularly.
We have heard the ministers of the Churches of God say over and over again that it is blasphemy to call Jesus Christ an angel, but on what grounds do they base this accusation? It definitely is not on scriptural grounds that they make this claim because the Bible clearly states that Jesus Christ is the angel who was in the bush who spoke to Moses and the angel with whom Moses spoke with on Mount Sinai, and is confirmed elsewhere in scripture on many accounts. The word angel or malak means messenger. In Genesis 48:15-16, it reads, “And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” This god being, “The Angel” which redeemed Israel from all evil” was a messenger of the ONE TRUE God. This angel was Jesus Christ. (See the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24).)
Galatians 4:14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, [even] as Christ Jesus.
Yes, Jesus Christ IS the Angel of the Lord who spoke with Moses, called upon by Jacob/Israel to bless his sons, and clearly differentiated by Paul himself to this categorization. Is it blasphemy to refer to Christ as an angel? No, on the contrary – it is scriptural. So why do they keep up this false accusation of blasphemy in regards to Christ being the Angel of the Lord? They have to in order to support their false theology and other condemnations in scripture that forbid worshipping angels or other gods.
Colossians 2:18-23 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (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.
Yes, this clearly means that praying to Christ is worshipping one of the sons of God, who is classified in scripture as an angel or messenger. This breaks the First Commandment outright.
So why did Stephen appeal to the angel, Jesus Christ, as Christ stood at God the Father’s right hand in a vision to Stephen during his stoning? Acts 7:59, “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." The KJV reads: “And they stoned Stephen calling upon God and saying Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” The word God has been supplied by the translators (see Marshall’s as well as the Receptus) as the earlier texts (Acts. 7:48-58) show clearly that Stephen is praying to God the Most High and is speaking of Him and the fact that the law was ordained by Him in the hands of angels, and which they did not, and have not, kept. It is God he sees in the Spirit with Christ standing on His right hand. The simple statement re Christ receiving his spirit is because Christ is placed in command of the First Resurrection and Stephen is now reliant on that activity under Christ. In a few other translations the word ‘prayed’ is also used, but, as stated above, the Greek word in scripture is Strong’s G1941 – epikaleo, meaning ‘to call upon’ or ‘appeal to’. This is not a prayer to Christ by Stephen but an appeal similar to when Peter cried out to Christ to save him as he was sinking in the rough water after stepping out from the boat to meet Christ (Mat.14:28-30).
The Bible states, as we will read, that it is God the Father who tasks His sons, the angels, with the duty of collecting the spirit of his elected human sons upon their death and Stephen’s vision and knowledge of this led him to commit his spirit to the angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ, upon his death, as God accompanied by Christ appeared to him in his last moments of life.
This task of the angels is scripturally defined in the gospels.
Matthew 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Mark 13:2 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
The answer is simple. One cannot pray to Jesus Christ and keep the commandments of God. The loyal host who collect the prayers of the saints (Rev. 5:8) will gather no prayer made to Jesus Christ who is the angel of the Lord, our mediator, our High Priest, to the Living and One True God –“our Father which art in heaven.”
The High Priest is neither worshipped nor prayed to and is the head of an order of priests who are to become elohim as the Angel of the Lord at their head (Zech. 12:8). This is the order of Melchisedek to whom Levi tithed being in the loins of Abraham. Levi is thus an order subordinate to Mechisedek under Jesus Christ (see the paper Melchisedek (No. 128)).
Prayer to Christ is blasphemy. It has never been engaged in by the churches in services, neither in Catholicism who pray to the Father or to Mary (and not to Christ) in their services; nor is it engaged in by any of the Protestant Confessions from the Church of England to all the other confessions who prayed to the Father only in the name of Christ from the Reformation. Nor was it ever undertaken by any of the Churches of God until this heresy was introduced in 1960 under Herbert Armstrong in self justification dealing with these people who were correctly disfellowshipped from the Churches of God. The RCG/WCG wrote this heresy in 1960 but never taught it internally and never practised it.
We are however being informed by members of the Churches of God that this practice is entering from the theologically confused and badly educated junior ministry and is becoming prevalent among those such as the LCG. One of their officers was observed, by a CCG officer attending one of their services, to begin prayer to the Father and then switch to prayer to Christ and revert back to the Father all in the same prayer. Others have come to us from LCG informing us that many of their younger officers are now praying to Christ and that they consider it a matter of inconsequence that people do or do not believe Christ to be coequal and co-eternal with the Father.
In the same manner Ditheism, Binitarianism and now Trinitarianism are wrecking the other Churches of God based from the US such as UCG, and others of the WCG offshoots.
Prayer to Christ, or any other being other than to Eloah the One True God who is The God, Ha Elohim or Yahovah of Hosts is heresy.
This is doctrine in the Churches of God and anyone who offers prayer to Christ publicly instead of to the Father, in the name of Christ, is to be dismissed.