Monday, February 16, 2015

Copts are not Christians

I had planned to write this earlier and I saw the Pastor Hall at Pulpit & Pen had written an essay on the exact topic (linked below). So I'll keep mine brief.

What the terror group ISIS is doing is undoubtedly evil. No person, village, or region should have to suffer the tortures and terrors perpetrated upon them like the Islamic ISIS maniacs have done. I want to say, and this will likely be unpopular, but the 21 Egyptian Coptics that were beheaded recently were not Christian. Copts are not Christian. They are not martyrs for the faith, they will not be resurrected to a glorified body in heaven, and Revelation 20:4 does not apply to them.

Copts have popes, believe verbal confession to priests is necessary for the forgiveness of sins, worship icons and idols, are highly sacramental and ritualistic, pray to dead "saints" asking for their intercession of the living, believe in apostolic succession (from John Mark), have a works based theology of salvation, and more. Orthodox Coptics are a split-off from Roman Catholicism. Again, Coptics are not Christians.

There is an outline of what Copts believe here.

What happened to the 21 Egyptian men on the beach is horrific, but please stand on the Gospel and remember that Copts are an unreached people group needing evangelism, not veneration as brother martyrs.

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Further Reading

Coptic Christians Not Christians, Evangelical Leaders Need reminding

Coptic beliefs from Encyclopedia Coptica


23 comments :

  1. You're right, this is very unpopular, at least in my house. Even though they were raised in a heretical religion, their form of worship is different, they accepted Christ as their savior. They probably had no other option than the Coptic church other than possibly orthodox, if this is so, the failure there is clearly OURS as evangelists not theirs.

    In the end they were murdered for their love of our Lord Jesus Christ, to diminish this fact because of doctrinal disagreement is clearly not what Jesus demanded of us in his last command (John 13:34)

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    1. Hello Doug,

      Thank you for commenting but I will respectfully disagree. They accepted Christ as "a" Savior but believe He only PARTLY did the work, believing that man must strive for his own salvation by works. Just because a sect or false religion names Christ does not mean they accepted *this same Jesus* as noted in Acts 1:11, Acts 2:36. They believe "a different Gospel" and in a different Jesus which is no Gospel at all (2 Cor 11:4, Galatians 1:6).

      There is more at stake here than mere "doctrinal differences". The Christian faith has distinctives which include believers and exclude non-believers, and it is this by which we know who to evangelize. Copts need evangelizing because they are not in the faith.

      As for the attitude in your paragraph that the Copts didn't have the advantage of correct teaching so they accepted a less-than doctrines so that must be good enough is simply blasphemy. As far as that goes, why not accept Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, many of them had "no other option" as you put it and accept Jesus, kind of, almost like the real Jesus that is in the bible. Why not accept into the faith anyone who has got it partly right? You see where this is going.

      No, the faith is narrow, exclusive, and the door is small. Different Jesuses and different Gospels not allowed. "“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber." John 10:1

      It's no one's "fault" they 'had' to accept Coptic beliefs, because Romans 1:18-20 says no one is without excuse, because God plainly showed His invisible attributes to them and His wrath is already upon them for rejecting the purity of His holy being.

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  2. They were not murdered because of their love for the Lord Jesus Christ, they were murdered because they were deemed "infidels" and ascribed to another religion other than Islam.

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  3. I thought of your previous post on the Copts (or was it the Orthodox?) when I heard of the most recent beheadings.

    I'm happy to note that we can't say for sure that every one of the people murdered are damned, since it's indeed possible to submit to the Gospel even amidst some level of error or confusion (from God's perspective, all of us are in some way wrong) -- but this error can't of course be on an essential salvation doctrine. So while we hope that some of those killed may be saved, we know most won't be, and the fact of the existence of the false religious system to which they belonged by name should spur us toward more fervent evangelism.

    None of this is to be seen as "taking sides," just adding what may not have been apparent to another reader of the comments, in the event that it would help them.

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  4. I believe many of those men knew the Lord, as it was reported they cried out to Jesus for help, so who are we to say they did not know the Lord. Only God knows the heart and we are not to judge lest we be judged. Just like the thief on the cross said to Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom, Christ replied today you will be with me in paradise. That is my thoughts on the matter, persacution is upon all who believe as the Lord said of the last days; You will be persacuted for my name sake. I pray for the families of thos who lost their loved ones, as they mourn, may we mourn with them and may the spirit of God comfort them and build their faith to serve him and him only. Amen

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    1. Well, WHICH Jesus did they cry out to? Remember just because someone says they are of Jesus doesn't mean they are. Even Muslims exalt Jesus as a prophet and claim to be descended from Abraham. Mormons also cry out to Jesus. So do Jehovah's Witnesses, and so do Catholics. None of the Jesuses in their faith structure are the true Jesus.

      And just because they were persecuted does not mean they are true Christians either. So many people calling themselves Christians are apparently confused as to a true Christian is, how do we expect Muslims to distinguish?

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  5. I'm sharing this link with a couple of my Coptic Christian friends so they can see what modern day Pharisees look like with your elitism, air of superiority and blind dismissiveness of Jesus' love and compassion. I can only hope that the Savior has more compassion on your pathetic souls than you have for others.

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    1. Thank you! Please share away. Remember, the road to Christ is narrow and exclusive. Jesus loved and was compassionate but he warned those who rejected His doctrines of the wrath to come, no, the wrath is already upon them! (Romans 1:18). Is He then compassionless because He warned of the wrath! Never! His love, great. Compassion, sure. But never leave out the problem, (sin-inducing wrath) or else they will never know they need a remedy. And only Jesus, "this SAME Jesus" can take away that sin, that is why Christianity is exclusive, or elitist as you put it.

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    2. Anonymous,

      If they're Christians just like us, why do they call themselves Copts?

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  6. I'd be very careful of this kind of dribble. Just because you may disagree with the doctrine of someone's church doesn't necessarily mean that they are not Christian. For example, I'll bet that a survey of the Trinity in any church in the world will reveal confusion and heretical positions. Does it mean that to be confused by the Trinity = nonChristian?

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    1. Yes, disagreeing with another's doctrine, if it differs from the bible, EXACTLY means they are not Christian. (1 Tim 6:3, 1 Tim 1:3). Why? Because it means the person is disagreeing with Christ.

      "He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it." (Titus 1:9). I rebuke the Copts who contradict it.

      "Does it mean that to be confused by the Trinity = nonChristian?" Yes, exactly.

      There are certain doctrines that are a MUST to be in the faith. The trinity is one. If a person does not adhere to the essential doctrines, OR adds to them or subtracts from them, they are cursed. (Rev 22:18-19).

      I wonder where you draw the line at aberrant doctrines meaning someone is not in the faith. Remember, the path is narrow and few find it (Mt 7:14) but you can help by standing form on the faith and sharing the doctrines of Christ rightly with people who have not found it yet- like the Copts.

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  7. Ugh, this saddens and disgusts me. You have absolutely no way of knowing whether they were true believers. Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.

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    1. You just dismissed the entire bible as the blueprint of faith. This saddens and disgusts me. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2

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  8. Who knows what was in the hearts of these men? Only God knows. Did they believe the false teachings of the coptic church, or on the finished work of Christ alone? Did they think their baptism was necessary? Or their confession to a priest? But to say they possessed a genuine saving faith just because they called out to Jesus in their last moments, called themselves Christians and that makes them Christian martyrs is wrong, and satanic. To do so is an endorsement of the doctrine and practices of the coptic religion.

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    1. That I think is the closest one of the comments has come to mirroring what Elizabeth's been saying, I think.

      Far too many people seem to trend in the opposite direction, that in not wanting to be condemning, they're trifling with the Word and glossing over really serious issues that have eternal consequences for people they *could* be witnessing to for Christ by making a firm but loving distinction.

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    2. What blows me away are the evangelicals that are so quick to call the beheaded ones brothers in Christ. As did Russell Moore of SBTS! Is he going to be a part of the great falling away? I would really like to hear from Dr. Mohler on this, as I respect him greatly.

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    3. I agree completely, Jane. I have worries about Mr Moore. A agree also about Dr Mohler, the man is simply brilliant.

      He addressed Copts in The Briefing today. Here is the link, and on the page you can choose either to listen or to read the transcript. The transcript is not up yet but it will be soon. They always put up a rush transcript soon after the podcast.

      http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/02/19/the-briefing-02-19-15/

      Here are the topics, and I HOPE against hope that he says what should be said.

      2) Execution of Coptic Christians by ISIS raise important issues of martyrdom for Christians

      3) Secularists eagerly import ‘mindfulness’ – promoting Eastern religious practices

      Can ‘Mindfulness’ Help Students Do Better in School?, Wall Street Journal (Emily Holland)

      Are We All Syncretists Now? – A Conversation About Evangelical Christianity and Alternative Medicine with Historian Candy Gunther Brown, AlbertMohler.com

      he addressed ISIS and their echatology yesterday. The transcript for that one is up, if you don't have time to listen to the podcast
      http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/02/18/the-briefing-02-18-15/

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    4. I agree with Adam. It is one of my biggest pet peeves and also concerns/sorrows that Christendom in general has adopted an ideology that is of worldly wisdom rather than biblical wisdom. What I mean by that is this: The world says, to point out a hard truth during tragedy is a no-no. The bible says pointing out truth in any circumstance is loving and right. We have all said it time and again on this blog, that professing Christians are biblically ignorant and have worldly views instead of biblical views. This situation reveals that very plainly. The majority of "Christians" base their ideas of right/wrong on what the world tells them, not what the bible tells them. *sigh*
      Jennifer

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  9. Hi Elizabeth,

    While it is true that any type of "Christian" faith that teaches a works-based salvation is not genuine Biblical faith, we do not know what these men may have believed individually*, nor do we know what they may have called out in their hearts moments before their brutal deaths. All we know is that they were murdered in a most horrific fashion, and it is a tragedy beyond description.

    I understand the desire for all of us believers to rightly identify genuine saving faith, especially since the world lumps into the category of "Christian" those of divergent beliefs; however, we must be careful with our words. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. There is a time for the "hard truths", as some have called them, to be spoken, and a there is a time to just weep with those who weep, while patiently waiting for another moment to speak tenderly concerning eternal matters.

    -Carolyn

    (*I personally know three mature believing men, each over age 50, each saved for at least 20-30 years. All three have two things in common: first, they are all ex-Catholics, capable Bible teachers, and bold evangelists. Second, they all didn't leave the RC church "immediately" after salvation. So if 4 months into their salvation, they had been murdered, they would have died as genuine believers, while still in the RC system. Just some food for thought.)

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    1. Carolyn, I hear your heart in this and I am in agreement with you in that I think we can state the hard truth without being harsh (and blunt often comes across as harsh!). However, to say nothing, while the world is focused on the issue, is to miss an opportunity to proclaim the truth. I, personally, am not comfortable sitting by while everyone just goes along to get along, all the while the gospel is being misrepresented. I believe stating that Coptic doctrine is not a saving faith, while acknowledging that we cannot know individual hearts (although it is rational to assume they believed their own professed doctrine) is a proper response. This particular instance, as is often the case when controversial things happen in Christendom, there are those voices who are "right" in what they say, but "wrong" in how they say it (I have read a few comments on the web like this). But just because those types of things happen does not mean we shy away from the truth. If we let wrong delivery silence truth, we are doing a great disservice.
      Jennifer

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    2. Jennifer, I think we can humbly and gently state that Coptic faith is not Biblical faith, without needing to speak as if we absolutely know the eternal destiny of these men. As I said, we do not know what transpired in the last moments of their lives. If they met their death believing Coptic faith, they perished. If they met their death in repentance that only God saw, they are in glory as we speak. Again, we do not know for certain, so we should not speak.

      Patience and care with words does not mean we are silencing the truth.

      Elizabeth, I am aware Coptic belief is not biblical Christianity. That was the first thing I said. I also didn't say these men were martyrs. I simply said we do NOT know what they believed or cried out in their hearts shortly before their death. That is true, we do NOT know. Read my above comment to Jennifer.

      And yes, I read the transcript of Al Mohler's Briefing. It is up now.

      -Carolyn

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    3. And I never said I was sure of their destiny, but that the professions they made and the church they belonged to is not Christian.

      I'm cutting off comment. I think everyone has said it all.

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  10. Carolyn, Copts are not Christians. The Coptic dogma is not a saving dogma, and we should be careful about ascribing martyrdom status to people who self-identify with a false Church and its creeds.

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