Frequently Asked Questions
“Great poets feel into the future with most sensitive antennas, and live out ahead of us, a piece of future development, and yet unrealized potential. Poets and philosophers, if they do not sell out to please, but have the courage to be themselves, represent the most precious and dangerous models a culture can have. They don’t supply a ready-made set of duties and doctrines to be followed, but they show and teach the opposite: the path to individuality and personal conscience.”
The Good News And The Great News
As a preemptive strike to the general confusion that comes with our approach to the Christian faith, it is vital to understand that Christian Ultra-Libertarians for Truth (cult) justifiably exists on the biblical position that says that everything in the Bible (relative to the practice of material religion) has been fulfilled. We maintain that God, in the face of the fall of Man, fixed everything that stood in the way of the human race (Satan, sin, hell and death) and opened the way for all people to come to Him in faith. He did this through the finished work of His only human Son, Jesus Christ.
We contend that this is the Great News that should be shared with the world, not the Good News that was given to the Nation of Israel that if they believed on Yeshua their Messiah they would be saved from hell and the promised destruction headed their way. In other words, the Good News was to them/then – but the elements of it have become, in the face of fulfillment, the Great News for the simple reason that Yeshua has had the total victory and “that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2nd Corinthians 5:19)
That said, we maintain that “the word of God endures forever” and that a serious study of it yields great benefits to anyone seeking to worship “the Father in Spirit and truth.” In addition to the abundance of spiritually derived principles found throughout the Bible we suggest that the following passages directly speak to the age in which we now live – the age of the Great News. The following is by no means an exhaustive list but includes some of the highlights that continue to have direct application to people today:
- Isaiah 9:6-7: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Jeremiah 31:31-34: Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (see also, Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16)
Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
1st Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1st Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
2nd Corinthians 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
2nd Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Galatians 2:19-20 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.
Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
2 with instruction about ablutions, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
1st John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
Revelation 21:1- Revelation 22:5 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. 9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 22:1-5 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
What are our Distinctives?
Though we strongly suggest that nobody on earth has all the facts correct about God and His will… we do maintain that we, at cult, have the story right. We suggest that the biblical narrative is, in almost every way, the retelling of what God has already done to reconcile the world to Himself. We maintain that everything (except Isaiah 9:6, Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Revelation 21 through Revelation 22:5) has occurred and been fulfilled. We also maintain that the Bible now presents eternal principles for people to embrace personally and spiritually, if they so choose.
In other words… we claim that that God has had the total victory over all things (Satan, hell, sin and death) through the victory of His only begotten Son. Because of this, the human race has been returned, as it were, to a garden of Eden state (spiritually) allowing for all human beings to choose whether to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (non-faith) or to eat of the tree of life (faith in God).
Because we stand by our claimed “right story” explained above, we believe that the formerly preached “Good News” to the Bible’s intended audience has now become “the Great News”. We might understand the difference using the following comparison:
The Good News:
- To the Nation of Israel.
- Repent and believe, or perish.
- Salvation from sin.
- Saved from prison / Satan.
- Saved to paradise.
- Saved from the Dreadful Day.
The Great News:
- To the world.
- Sin paid in full.
- All saved from hell, death, grave.
- Hell / Satan cast into the Lake of Fire.
- All saved to the heavenly realm.
- Believers saved to the New Jerusalem above.
In the face of the Great News, we see a shift from what was described as necessary for believers in the Apostolic Church to belong to His pure Bride to what is now in place for people seeking God in spirit and truth, which can be summarized in the following summary for all people to consider.
- The Spirit is primary and preferential.
- The Word is secondary and deferential.
- Church History is tertiary and referential.
- Modern brick and mortar religion is unnecessary and wholly inconsequential.
We theologically refuse both Calvinist and Arminian soteriology as limited and believe that there is a better view.
Of, course the Calvinist view of God necessitates: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints. In response, Arminius taught that God, knowing all things before creating them, (including the outcome of giving all human beings free will) still created the human race knowing that in and through their free-will choices and the effects of the Fall that few would choose faith and there isn’t anything God can do about it. As a result, to an Arminian, most people will go to a literal hell forevermore because God was incapable of saving them from it. To a Calvinist, God refuses to elect more than a few to heaven thereby deserting most of the human race to eternal punishment as well.
We stand by another view all the while allowing any and all people with the right to embrace the Calvinist or the Arminian view as they please. We suggest that God gave all human beings free will as evidenced by the circumstances surrounding Adam and Eve in the garden. We maintain that God then removed all the deleterious results caused by the Fall through His only Son and that all human beings are since placed in the same position as our first parents – free to choose life in Him or life without Him. We entirely reject the notion that God predetermine anyone to an eternal punishment. We also reject that God created Man knowing full well that most of the human race would wind up in such punishment due to their free will choices. Instead, we proclaim that God, through the physical Nation of Israel, sent the second Adam, Jesus, who overcame all things on behalf of the human race, reconciled the world to God and returned the entire human race to a position of freedom of choice; that all people have since stood, as it were, before the two garden trees with the first being the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil and the second being the Tree of Life (Jesus); that all are spiritually free to “choose this day whom they will serve” (God or self). We suggest that God has beaten Satan, sin death and hell through the victory of His Son and therefore all people are responsible for what they freely choose to pursue and believe. We also suggest that the result of choosing self in this life does not end with God’s wrath upon them but in them receiving a lesser resurrection in the hereafter (whatever that looks like) and that those who choose Him will enter into His Kingdom above (the New Jerusalem) rewarded with a glorious resurrected body (as promised).
Because of our view of fulfillment, we see John’s description of the afterlife in Revelation 21 through 22:5 as having application in the heavens today. We do not see hell as having a place in this description any longer and instead see there being the Kingdom (described as the New Jerusalem) and those who enter in as being of faith and we see those who remain outside of it as not. We also choose to believe that there is a constant invitation for all to enter in the Kingdom above but what is required to accomplish this remains a mystery.
We maintain that the earth will never end (Ecclesiastes 1:4), that the Kingdom of God will increase forever (Isaiah 9:6-7) and that in the face of God having reconciled the world to Himself, (2 nd Corinthians 5:19) He calls to all souls to receive Him by faith (Hebrews 11:6).
Those who come to Him by believing that He is are then encouraged to pursue Light, to Learn of Him, to embrace Love and to walk in Liberty. These four L’s are central in outlining our approach to the faith today.
We humbly submit that a contextual view of the written Word of God uniquely and distinctly illustrates a picture of the human race as consisting of human creations, children of God and Sons and Daughters.
We suggest that God’s human creations are those who have not believed that He is, have not looked to Him in faith and have chosen to not see the pursuit of Him in this life as important. We suggest that He loves them unconditionally and will reward them accordingly in and through the resurrection. We subsequently maintain that any and all people who believe that God is have acquiesced to faith and therefore please Him. (Hebrews 11:6) We do not believe knowing the person or name of Yeshua the Messiah is required for His acceptance but ardently maintain that at some point in time He will be revealed as Lord, Savior, author and finisher of the faith and that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him as such. We suggest that coming to faith is the beginning step of a creation becoming a child of God and that only children of God enter His kingdom above.
We finally distinguish, because the scripture distinguishes, between children of God and Sons and Daughters of God. We suggest that while those who come to faith are all adopted as His children, that only when such children have matured in the faith, and grown in the capacity to love as He commands, will God appoint them the spirit of His only Son and it is at this point that they become His Sons and Daughters (Galatians 4).
Finally, we believe that in the face of fulfillment the two driving principles existing for all children of God are faith and love.
We approach the sacred faith from these two abiding principles and reject any and all doctrinal precepts insisted upon by men and their religious views.
If you are curious about what we do, why we do it, where we came from, and where we are going, check out some of the questions below. We have tried to answer many possible questions you might have, but a browse around the site may answer others that aren’t fully addressed here.
Shawn McCraney is the founder of cult.
A southern California native, he was raised a member of the LDS church, served a full-time mission for that institution honorably, married in the Los Angeles LDS temple (Mary Marguerite DuBose) and worked as a securities broker from 1988 – 2001 while he and Mary brought three daughters into the world. In 1997, after years of searching for unassailable truth while stumbling through life, he had a roadside experience with the living God which changed him forevermore. He remained active in the LDS church until his request for excommunication was granted in 2001. In that year he abandoned selling securities and embarked on writing a book (I Was a Born-Again Mormon) while working in a kiosk overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. Shawn also enrolled in the Calvary Chapel School of Ministry during this time and learned the Bible from the mind of Chuck Smith, founder. Once self-published, his book was read by a Salt Lake City woman whose husband managed a full-power Christian television station and Shawn was invited to be a guest on a program to talk about his views. The response to this show caused the manager to offer Shawn his own hour-long live show called, Heart of the Matter, which aired in March of 2006 and remained on the air until January of 2013. HOTM was an overnight sensation in the State of Utah and was based on Shawn comparing and contrasting Mormonism with biblical Christianity – in addition to taking live calls and constantly changing his appearance (which he did to directly confront the appearance-focused culture of the LDS community around him). After seven years of weekly entertainment, recording over 380 programs, Shawn realized that the Evangelical brick and mortar churches in the state were failing in their obligations to rightly fortify the believers who entered their congregations – with some of those believers coming to them from directly from Mormonism due to the influence of the show. On January 1st 2013, Shawn announced on his program that he was going to focus his attention that year on the failures of Evangelicalism and was summarily dismissed by the television station due to pressure of the local Christian leaders. While difficult at the time, this dismissal was a huge blessing in disguise.
In the face of being without a public outlet, Shawn and his wife, using the proceeds from a small inheritance Mary received from the passing of her parents, created their own studio and began streaming Heart of the Matter from another Salt Lake City location in the first quarter of 2013. They also launched C.A.M.P.U.S., an acronym derived from the title, Christian Anarchists Meeting to Prayerfully Understand Scripture and began teaching the Bible verse-by-verse every week from 2013 to 2022. During these years, Shawn was afforded the time to fully investigate the teachings and practices of Christian Evangelicalism from a dedicated, contextual and linguistically focused biblical perspective. No subject was too sacred that it was ignored; everything was subject to intense biblical scrutiny. His findings – especially related to the myth of eternal afterlife punishment, the ontology of God (the Trinity), soteriological positions and the second coming were renounced by the Evangelical community and Shawn was publicly castigated as “a heretic,” “fallen,” an “enemy of the cross,” “unsaved” and “not Christian.” During those years, Shawn penned several books that detailed his discoveries.
In early 2020, Shawn, along with Kathy Maggie, Michael Anderson, and a handful of souls devoted to the central message of God having had the ultimate victory over Satan, sin, death, hell through the victorious life, death, resurrection and return of His Son, Jesus Christ for His bride in that day, teamed up with his youngest daughter Delaney, who had graduated from Michigan University with a masters in Architecture, and formed cult, an online educational platform aimed at questioning all things relative to the faith, contributing to the scriptural knowledge of all interested parties, encouraging love to all people everywhere, and promoting unity in the world of all people irrespective of their religious affinities and affiliations.
Shawn is convinced, by and through the scriptural narrative called the Bible, that the victory over all things has been had by God through His Son, that all human beings are standing, as it were, in the Garden of Eden, and choosing, like Adam and Eve, on how to live. He believes and promotes the choice of faith and unconditional love for all who care to know and pursue God, and that maturing as a believer in spiritual truths is vital to afterlife joy. This maturation comes by and through people humbly submitting to the will and ways of the Spirit of Christ, embracing selfless, insufferable and sacrificial love, and trusting in the living God. He, along with his closest colleagues have created cult as a means to perpetuate these things. Shawn does not consider himself a prophet nor does he claim any authority to act or speak in the name of God. He is simply a teacher and seeks, albeit errantly, to teach in spirit and truth.
cult is an acronym that stands for Christian Ultra-Libertarians for Truth. Libertarians is not reflective of political libertarianism but references the liberty all people should have in their lives as they subjectively pursue faith in God. Cult is obviously a play on words that allows for the reality that everything on earth bears cult-like properties, and for us the demands we place on people is to love with the love described in scripture. In other words, we demand that any and all participants seek to love all people with patience, longsuffering, kindness, mercy, self-control and all other biblical descriptor of sacrificial agape love. Cult has no other expectations nor places any demands on anyone at anytime. There are no doctrinal demands, no practical demands, no demands for donations, allegiance to authority, or any attempts to control anyone, anywhere in anything – except the expectation of actionable love as defined by scripture. We are convinced that the faith today is entirely subjective, and the tenets of an individual’s faith is between them and the living God whom they seek. That said, we do approach teaching the faith from a perspective of fulfillment all the while allowing all people to openly receive and believe from this position or not.
Cult is an online educational platform that extends to all people of any religious persuasion or affiliation opportunities to learn, grow, and to even get involved in the world around them from a position of established scriptural principles – if they are so inclined. To these aims, we have created thousands of hours of content, dozens of books and other publications, art, events and products to support these aims. We also offer leadership training courses, and opportunities for people so inclined to operate their own cult chapters, which were created so like-minded people can physically gather and serve the communities around them in love. In the end, cult is an online educational platform that needs exploration driven by each individual registrant depending on their desires to learn, mature and serve – as they are so led and inclined.
First, free registration. Second, actionable love – which is our only cult-like demand. The rest is up to you. But the rest is almost limitless as we have created courses, verse-by-verse studies through the entire Apostolic Record (what people errantly call the New Testament) and dozens of other offerings, products and trainings. Some items are free, some come with a minimal charge, but all of it is for the taking with none of it required for acceptance. Understand clearly – we receive you as you are, and trust that the living God is working in and through you respectively. The only thing we offer is a place to question and provisions to learn, love and grow.
Through our Leadership courses, yes!
You can ask anything about us by writing email@example.com.
About Doctrine and Practice
While all views, all denominations, and all religious allegiances of all people are welcome at cult, we teach from a distinct position of the Christian perspective of biblical fulfilment. Again, all people are free to challenge and disagree with any position presented, but our content (courses, Leadership training, books and publications, art and events) are all from the position of God having fulfilled most material items found in the Bible leaving only spiritual principles behind for individuals to assume and receive. The following are some FAQ relative to our specific views.
We suggest that hell (called the grave, covered place, sheol, hades, etc) was a biblical reality imposed on Man because of the Fall. We teach that all souls prior to the finished victory of Jesus Christ went to sheol, because they were separated from the Living God due to unatoned sin, and remained in either paradise or prison which constituted hell’s make-up. At the return of Christ in 70 AD to His own with reward or judgment, the afterlife destination of hell was abolished, as it, along with Satan and his angels were cast into the Lake of Fire, which was created for them. (Revelation 20:14) We ardently teach that if there is any semblance of such a place after this life, it is the choice of the individual and escape remains a constant opportunity via humble faith in Jesus the Christ.
We subscribe to the biblical description of the after life (Revelation 21-22:5) as consisting of a heavenly realm – where there is a Kingdom accessed by faith in Christ, and an outside of the walls of that kingdom where those lacking faith reside. The two destination appear to be distinguished by proximity to God and realms of light and dark.
We submit to all willing to hear that the former brick and mortar Jerusalem is only significant in terms of history today and that the New Jerusalem, which is the mother of all believers, has been established above, and is the headquarters (for lack of a better term) of the Kingdom and the place from which God operates, and the destination of all who seek Him in faith. We agree with scripture that today, in Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, male and female, bond or free, in Christ.
We suggest that judgement for sin, which is death, was paid in full by Christ, that the whole world died with Him vicariously, and that God poured His wrath on the Nation of Israel at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, where they were judge physically, and then spiritually before the Great White Throne of God. We submit to all people that no human being is judged and punished for sin any longer in the face of these facts of the past but instead all people are judged, so to speak, relative to how God will reward them for their good works.
We maintain and teach, through a proper exegesis of the Word of God, that Yeshua of Nazareth called and taught twelve men for the purpose of taking the Good News out to all of Israel before the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” and that their main purpose was to guide, discipline, teach and instruct the believers in that day so as to present to the Lord Jesus upon His promised return, with a Bride that was pure, holy and unspotted from the world. We suggest that similar apostles (meaning first-hand witnesses of Jesus resurrection from the grave) would be absolutely necessary to govern and guide His Bride today as a means to accomplish the same results, and the lack of such help prove fulfillment. We maintain that these apostles were limited in number (twelve) as revelation describes twelve names inscribed on the pillars that hold up the heavenly kingdom, and no more. We therefore suggest that these trained apostles were only present for a short limited duration and performed a very specific task.
We suggest that water baptism is akin to the Old Testament act of circumcision (meaning it was an outward indication of identity) and that it remains today a unique experience for those who choose to embrace it in their lives by faith. We see the expression as open in terms to participants, mode or name a baptism is performed (meaning Father, Son or Holy Spirit or Jesus only) We reject that notion that water baptism is essential to being saved to the Kingdom above after this life. We do suggest that baptism of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus came to bring and which occurred in the day of Pentecost, is the essential baptism for all people of faith and is bestowed not by hands but according to the will and ways of God.
We understand that the subject of the Bible is enormous and requires a tremendous amount of research, discussion and often the breaking down of preconceived beliefs inculcated into the mind of believers by religious zealots in order for it to be property understood. Topics like historicity, authenticity, original languages, manuscript evidence, inspirational issues, consistency, translations, transmissions, support texts, error and infallibility, contextual understanding (and much more) play a key role in how the Bible content will be understood and ultimately received by each reader.
The maintain that the body of believers might be divided into several camps relative to the Bible:
- Those who believe that in its original manuscripts of the text as perfect.
- Those who believe that certain translations today are perfect and without any error.
- Those who believe that the present translations contain some error (very little) but because these are readily identified and understood they have little effect on reliability.
- Those who believe the book is corrupted and unreliable.
- Those who believe it is the product of men and full of myth.
These views are not exhaustive by any means. And while the above issues are worthy of time and attention for any seeker of truth, the following are factors relative to the Bible that speak directly to our view:
- The Bible was first only the Old Testament, or what the Jews referred to as the “Tanakh,” which is an acronym for Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim, meaning Law, Prophets, and Writings, respectively. These three groups in total include all the books of the Hebrew Bible which, in most Christian communities refer to the books contained in Genesis through Malachi.
- When Jesus speaks of the Word of God (or scripture), He was speaking of the Tanakh.
- When his apostles spoke of scripture they almost always were speaking of the Tanakh.
- In other words, there was no “New Testament” for the early apostolic church.
- The only writings that the early Christian believers had outside of the Tanakh were letters that were written by Jesus’ apostles to “specific saints” in “specific churches” that were established in “specific parts” of Israel and the Roman Empire.
- The Gospels were histories of Jesus ministry and were for all believers to read as they became available to them.
- There were no printing presses in that day so all manuscripts of either the gospels or the epistles had to be copied by hand if they were to be shared or passed along to other believer located in places outside of where they were composed.
- In addition to the truly inspired, apostolically authorized writings, there were numerous counterfeit writings among the believers in the first century.
- Knowing which manuscripts were authentic and which were pseudo-scripture took a great deal of time.
- The distance between where the Gospels and the Epistles were originally written was enormous in most cases and therefore authentication of these writings was at times difficult, that all copying was done by hand, and that the Bible, as we know it today, was not remotely available to believers for the first 250 years after Christ ascended into heaven.
- Even after the contents were somewhat agreed upon by the third Century scholars, the Bible was translated into a language few could read or write (Latin). This meant only the educated and (due to the relative unavailability of most manuscripts) only the established churches with resources (Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy) had direct open access to the collection of the “New Testament” content.
- This above would be the general situation for the next 1250 years!
- In and around what is known as the Protestant Reformation the Bible was taken and retranslated by men like Wycliffe, Tyndale, Erasmus and others who provided full translations of the Bible into English.
- The advent of the Gutenberg printing press in 1440 allowed for wide distribution of the written word and the era of everyman having and reading the Bible was underway.
- So while the book is perhaps the greatest material gift in the life of a believer in Christ today it must be admitted that it was not available, sometimes in part and rarely as a whole, to the followers of Jesus for 1550 years!
- The question must be asked, “What did the early believers do without a New Testament?”
- The answer must be given – they had was the Spirit, which is called the Spirit of Christ in scripture, which abided with them, lived in them, and directing them.
- Absent a complete, printed and agreed-upon “New Testament” the Spirit is what most Christians had for the first 1500 years of Christian history.
- It was only when the scripture as a whole became available to the masses that the Bible – under Martin Luther’s direction – took the place of the Spirit leading believers.
What has the stance of sola scriptura that Luther and Calvin and other Protestant leaders created given the world of Christianity? Instant denominations. Instant infighting. Instant holy wars. Sola scriptura has never produced unity of the faith but has actually produced the opposite – disunity in the faith, even hatred, even murder.
In the face of all of this division, which is a direct by-product of people looking to the New Testament as “the Law of Christianity” the faith has lost what God gave believers in the first 1500 years of the faith – His Spirit – and the fruit of His spirit which is love.
From our point of view, agape love is the new commandment of the King. Not laws and doctrines printed on paper as those will be forever disputed and debated. But true sacrificial, insufferable, selfless love for God and His Son (and therefore each other) would never allow disputes over doctrine and practice divide a people who claim to follow Jesus as King or who properly proclaim a faith in God. We suggest that there was a good reason God did not have a “New Testament” complete and readily printed for the believers of His early body. He wanted believers to abide in love and unity. He wanted them to be lovers not lawyers.
As a result of all of this, we maintain, contrary to modern Evangelicalism, the following has been the reality of the faith since Christ took His Holy Unblemished Bride, that
- The Spirit is Primary and Preferential
- The written Word is Secondary and Deferential
- The religious Traditions of Man are Tertiary and Unessential,
- And brick and mortar religions are Unnecessary and Inconsequential
We ardently, and relentlessly teach the Word of God, appealing to the Holy Spirit to guide, and suggest that proper exegesis of the scripture is determined by it producing the fruit of the Spirit which is love. In other words, if a biblically based stance produces non-love, we suggest that the interpretation is faulty. Finally, we suggest that whatever version of a Bible people can understand and will read is the right translation.
We teach that the true and living God created all things that are good and that anything that is not good (things which lead to harm, pain and death) are the results of an absence of Him or His creation.
Because the Spirit is Primary and Preferential (with the fruit of it determining right doctrine) and because Christ has taken His bride from the earth already and we live in an age of fulfillment we suggest that denominational allegiances, while open to all without judgement or consequence, typically serve to divide believers from each other rather than to unite us in the spirit of sacrificial, insufferable love. So while all people, due to nurture, geographical placement by God, and culture, are prone to certain denominational influences, we believe that the true worshippers of the father will discover him despite the restrictive confines of their denominations, and will ultimately worship Him in spirit and truth. Therefore we maintain that for seekers of the Father, denominational allegiance is unimportant and that if a person is true and genuine in their desires to know God, and diligently seek Him, they will find Him irrespective of the denomination to which they belong.
As radical as this sounds, we believe that doctrines typically serve to divide believers today and are therefore unimportant. Understand, we teach sound biblical doctrine to the best of our ability but doctrines, because they divide, are not, in the age of fulfilment, what saves a person to the Kingdom. Remember, the victory has been had by Christ, and all things, at one time, were placed in His hands. But we also know that Christ gave all of these things back to His father, so that in our day, God is all in all (1st Corinthians 15:28). This is the economy in which the world now thrives. And it is an economy that is in the hands of the Spirit. We never read, even in the context of ancient scriptural history that doctrines save – only faith. We suggest that in this age of fulfillment that God, in and through the efficacious victory of His Son, is reaching all who seek and desire Him, by His Spirit and irrespective of doctrinal position. We do stridently believe that there does certainly exist objective truth, which is possessed by God alone, but as long as we are in the flesh we will see through a glass darkly, and God will reveal himself and His ways to all seeking souls no matter what errant doctrinal ideas they find themselves temporarily upholding. Bottom-line? While the very identity of Jesus may remain obscured in this day and age of false religious ideals and demands, His Spirit will bring all to the Father who seek Him, and His identity as Lord and Savior will one day bring all to seeing Him property for who He was and continues to be. And their knees will bow, and their tongues will confess Him. But until that revelatory day, His Spirit will reign in the lives of all who walk in faith in God.
Eschatology (end times)
Central to almost every view and position we take and teach from is the stance that Jesus Christ came back to His own in 70 AD, saving them from the destruction that accompanied the great and dreadful day which was prophesied. If our understanding of this is errant, and Jesus is returning in the future, our view and approach to the Christian faith is severely twisted and ought to be abandoned for a Christian walk of strict doctrinal devotion. This said, we have done the work to support our views and much of the content included herein speaks to the subject of Jesus’ second advent having already occurred.
Ecclesiology (nature of Christian church today)
There are people who are religiously inclined in life and brick and mortar religion appears to play an important role to them. These souls, while loved and accepted as believers, are not our primary audience. We instead seek to reach and support those souls who are spiritually inclined, who see the failure of material religion in the world today, and who take seriously what God describes as His New Testament in Jeremiah 31:31-34. We do suggest that there are in all probability very very few brick and mortar churches that do not in some fashion serve to put their congregates in bondage. We suggest that such bondage is anathematic to what God’s intentions have long been for those who are His by faith. We see these “bondages” as the result of anachronistically assigning the content of the apostolic letters, and even the Old Testament in some cases, to believers today, and they include, but are not limited to, demands for doctrinal devotion, volunteering and serving, paying tithes and donations, and submitting to the so-called authoritative demands of people who deem themselves leaders. In the end, we welcome any and all, irrespective of their allegiance to church or the absence of it, in love.
At cult we only make one demand – for people to strive to love in the ways love is defined in scripture. This suggests that we engage with those who fail to love with patience, mercy and longsuffering. In the event that an individual chooses to act in an unloving way perpetually or in an expression of a physical threat to another human being we would, without any claim of authority, request that they change their approach and/or leave our association. This would not be done with condemnation nor any type of judgment on their person or faith, but would be done in an effort to maintain a safe and free society. We reject the idea that any individual has the right to discipline any other over opinion, lifestyle choice, or any form of belief.
This question is one of the most difficult for people to understand, and while somewhat difficult to articulate to full understanding, an attempt is important. Where we decidedly teach that the Spirit is primary and that the material expressions of the faith in the Bible are completely fulfilled, and that every individual is subjectively choosing what they believe and how, the fact of the matter remains that God is still calling to all (due to the victory of His Son), that the Kingdom is eternally increasing (Isaiah 9:6-7) and that His stated purposes in ancient scripture continue to be for people to come to Him in faith (Hebrews 11:6) and that this faith ought to be mature enough for His children to mature and bear fruit (Hebrews 6:1-3, Matthew 13:3-24). Because faith comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10) we teach the word, trusting that in the spirit of total liberty seekers will hear (by the Spirit) and in and through these teachings will grow in their relationship and dedication to God, and in love. So, while it seems somewhat contradictory to spend time teaching what the Word of God says, especially in the face of fulfillment, the reality remains that it is through hearing the Word that seekers typically grow and mature – and this is something we believe is vital to the world of fulfillment today.
We suggest that God cannot be boxed in and that all things on earth – whether materially miraculous (medicine, dentistry, science and technologies) or spiritually/metaphysically miraculous (healings, tongues, signs, wonders) are manifestations of God and His hand and occur according to His will and ways. We reject the idea of mandated miracles coming through the hands of Men and refuse to see them as illustrating gifts that prove they represent continuation of the Apostolic church.
We leave those views up to each individual and see them best understood through reason, context, and purpose. We try and teach the Word from this perspective admitting that sometimes the events must be taken literally while at other times they could be interpreted as symbolic. Let every person decide for themselves.
Firstly, we allow all people the right to see God (Jesus and the Holy Spirit) however they are led to believe that they ought to see them. This means views of God being a Trinity, a Binity or One (from a Oneness perspective) is permissible, as we all see through a glass darkly and suggest that doctrinal demands on these topics will only serve to hinder exploration and growth rather than open up all roads of discovery. Specifically, however, Shawn teaches what Paul teaches, namely, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him (1st Corinthians 8:6) and that the Holy Spirit is the spirit of God and Christ). Additionally, Shawn plainly teaches that God’s living Word (uncreated and eternal) was made flesh and inhabited the man Jesus of Nazareth, and that the Holy Spirit is the breath, wind or pneuma of the One God. Shawn also teaches from the perspective that the man Jesus, in a body of flesh, made of a woman, made under the Law, who through suffering learned obedience, was deified at His resurrection and by and through this process of his mortal flesh, took that mortal flesh, and entered into the Holy of Holies above.
Kingdom of Heaven
Because of our understanding of fulfilled eschatology, we see all material expressions of the Kingdom as over, and trust and teach that the Kingdom of God is entirely spiritual, headquartered in the New Jerusalem above, and existing in the heart and minds of people by the Spirit. We reject any and all material manifestations now or in the future as representing the Kingdom of Heaven and reject any material expressions that claim God’s hand as their author as inconsistent with sound biblical truth.
It is everything.
We maintain the following relative to marriage – 1, it is ordained of God as the two becoming one, 2, that it is the act of one man and one woman consensually uniting through sexual intimacy, 3, that it is of this world, 4, that no religious supervisor needs to oversee it, and 5, that it has been egregiously misrepresented by religion over the ages to the detriment to individuals, couples and families around the world. We suggest a revolution occur relative to what has been said and taught. However, we simultaneously accept any and all forms of marriage between people today while refusing to perform them.
Nation of Israel
We suggest that in and through the Nation of Israel, formed and appointed by YHWH, that the world was ultimately reconciled through the finished work of her promised Messiah. We recognize its contribution anciently to this reconciliation. Simultaneously, we also see her as having been divorced and summarily destroyed materially in the 70 AD destruction of her city, temple, genealogies and priesthoods, and agree that today there is no difference between Jew or Gentile in Christ Jesus, that true Israel are those who come to God by faith, and that the material nation is over. We certainly have zero animus toward Israel today and the nation that she is among nations and with extreme gratitude rejoice in her ancient contributions to the Kingdom.
We suggest that there is scriptural support for the idea of God predestining an elect people to be His and that contextually speaking this appears to apply to the Children of Israel in the day of Christ and His apostles who would make up the majority of the pure Bride of Christ. We do not discount God choosing some people today to do certain things in this world but reject the idea that He predestines anyone to heaven or hell based on His good will or lack thereof. We full reject both Calvinism (reformed theology) and Arminian explanations of soteriology and find them lacking in the presence of contextualized scripture as a whole. Instead, we see God as having reconciled the world to himself and therefore opening an unencumbered and unobstructed door to the world to freely seek and choose Him or not, and if not, loving and saving them from eternal punishment anyway.
This subject is another that requires a tremendous amount of study which is all available herein through various courses. That said, we trust that Jesus was raised from the dead materially (along with some other souls thereafter in Jerusalem) but that this event was purposeful and distinct to Him and His purposes in becoming incarnate, dying, overcoming the grave and then proving it to all who served as witnesses. We also maintain that His resurrected body that literally and materially exited the grave was needed for Him to return to earth at the appointed day and as promised. We do recognize that there is a resurrection of all human beings, but that it accords better with Paul’s descriptions of it in 1st Corinthians 15, and suggest, as a summary, that all people, since Jesus 70 AD return and at their respective deaths, experience a resurrection that consists of God bestowing upon them a spiritual heavenly oriented body, and that what lies in the grave remains there. We strongly recommend our course on the resurrection, and/or our short book for any and all who reject this view out of hand.
We believe that because Christ paid for the sins of the world, past present and future, that the onus of sin is God, that God is not angry with human sin, and no body, no matter how egregious their carnal ways are in life, will be punished by God for the sinful deeds of their flesh or for the Fall of Adam. We maintain that Christ’s victory, as the last Adam, was so powerful and so effective that all souls who had, did or would live in the world, were effectually buried with Him in His death as the wages of sin is death. However, we do also acknowledge that the flesh is at war with the Spirit, and that the sinful ways of the flesh can serve to keep people from embracing God or Christ by faith. Instead of punishing people for their sins, however, we believe that God now and forevermore is only rewarding people for their faith and love. We therefore reject the need to focus in anyway on the sins of the flesh but instead seek to promote and encourage faith and love through the Spirit.