Timely Greetings Volume 2, No. 26
SHINTOISM AND NON-PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS
SABBATH, FEBRUARY 7, 1948
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
TEXT FOR PRAYER
"Bring Forth Fruit"
I shall read from "Christ's Object Lessons," pg. 60, the first two paragraphs:
"God bids us fill the mind with great thoughts, pure thoughts. He desires us to meditate upon
His love and mercy, to study His wonderful work in the great plan of redemption. Then clearer
and still clearer will be our perception of truth, higher, holier, our desire for purity of heart and
clearness of thought. The soul dwelling in the pure atmosphere of holy thought will be
transformed by communion with God through the study of the Scriptures.
"'And bring forth fruit.' Those who, having heard the word, keep it, will bring forth fruit in
obedience. The word of God, received into the soul, will be manifest in good works. Its results
will be seen in a Christlike character and life. Christ said of Himself, 'I delight to do Thy will, O
My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.' 'I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father
which hath sent Me.' And the Scripture says, 'He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also
so to walk, even as He walked.'"
What shall we now pray for? -- Pray for power to enable us to meditate upon His love and
mercy and thus cause our perception of Truth to become higher and holier; pray to realize that the
soul that dwells in the atmosphere of holy thought is transformed; pray to learn by experience that
the Word of God received into the soul, does manifest Itself in good works.
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SHINTOISM AND NON-PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY
Our text for this afternoon's study is found in--
Jer. 10:23 -- "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh
to direct his steps."
In this verse we are told that the way man should go is not in himself, that he of himself does
not know how to direct his steps. Someone else must direct them if he is to go in the right
direction. For this very reason God's people are led by a prophet and are preserved by a prophet.
(Hos. 12:13.) So it was that through the medium of the prophets God led and preserved the
Church of the Old Testament, and by the same Spirit He founded, led, and has to this day
preserved the New Testament Church, although the spirit that rebelled against God's leadership
anciently, is still in the Church today.
Naturally men are unconscious of the fact that they cannot direct their own steps even after God
starts them out as a father starts out his little son. We should never forget that when God's
ancient people rejected the prophets, including John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and the Apostles,
when He could no longer lead them, their feet slipped in every direction,
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they fell from grace and lost everything. Only the followers of the prophets remained with God
and they only composed the Christian church in its beginning. No other than God did direct their
steps into the Church.
Let us take another example: The world at large today, with but a few exceptions, is Buddhist,
Mohammedan, or Christian. Two-thirds of the world's population is still following in the steps of
Buddha, who lived about 550 years before Christ. Think of it! Two-thirds, a little less than a
billion of the world's inhabitants are still followers of Buddha!
And who was Buddha? What kind of a man was he -- good or bad? Was he a deceiver or was
he a teacher of righteousness?
To find the answer, let us first take into consideration the kind of people he was in contact with.
He was not in touch with the Hebrews, nor with the Christians, but only with degraded people of
the Orient. And those who did not come in contact with Buddha's teachings, -- those of the south
sea islands in particular -- are to a large extent still cannibals.
Taking these facts into consideration before passing judgment we may ask, What did Buddha
deceive his followers from? -- From nothing is the overall answer. And what did he lead them to?
History gives this answer; "What he taught the people was that they should seek salvation not
through the observance of religious rites and ceremonies, but through honesty and purity of heart,
through charity and tenderness and compassion toward all creatures that have life." -- "General
History," p. 66.
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Since Buddha's kind of teaching certainly does not come from the Devil, and since he led his
followers from bad to better, he could not have been a deceiver. Buddha, moreover, not only
taught good morals, but, if history is reliable, he himself lived up to what he taught. Finally, in
keeping with his great influence he could have been a rich man, but he died poor. And if
standards of living have any virtues at all, Buddha's standards, if lived up to, could have lifted the
people of the Orient higher than the level of many so-called Christians in our day.
Buddha therefore appears to have been a preacher of righteousness in his day, for his standard
of behaviour was practically the standard of the ten commandments, the standards of the Bible.
Where did he get such a standard? Certainly not from the Devil. We may now ask the question,
Was God in Buddha's day interested only in the Hebrew nation? Did He entirely neglect the rest
of the world? And did He deliberately permit a third of the earth's inhabitants to be led by Buddha
from bad to worse? or did He see that they be led from bad to better?
There is but one answer that we can honestly and wisely give: That God through Buddha did for
the heathen that which could not have been done through Moses or through any of the Hebrew
Comparatively speaking, God through Buddha raised the heathen from the pit in which they
were as many inches up, as Moses raised the Hebrew's from the pit in which they were. The
Hebrews, of course, rose much closer to God than the followers of Buddha because the pit in
which Buddha found the heathen was much deeper than the pit in which Moses found the Hebrew
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Buddha himself never thought that after his death he would be worshipped as a god by his
followers -- no, no more than the prophets, the Apostles, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, thought
they would be worshipped after their death.
You can now see that while Buddha was directing the steps of his people, the people were led
closer to the standards of the Bible and to the ideals of Christ than they were before his day.
Since this is so, then Buddha was not a deceiver.
As soon as Buddha died, though, his followers ran against a wall as it were, and their progress
toward God, the Bible, and Christ, stopped where Buddha stopped. Indeed they could not have
advanced further for they made the death of Buddha become their block against progress toward
God. How did they do it?--
It is a known fact that when people give credit of a Divine deed to a finite being, then their hope
of another as great, or greater ever coming to help them is forever gone. They do not believe that
God lives, that he will raise another even greater to lead them further, but believe that there is no
need of another and no need for more Truth. Consequently as they do not expect another, when
one comes they reject him. Thus the Buddhists put a stop to their spiritual progress. So you see
that when the light that is in you becomes darkness, "How great is that darkness!" Matt. 6:23.
Judging from the experiences of the past, the freedom of a nation and the assassin's bullet this
year are likely to bring forth another god -- Mohandus K. Gandhi. He is likely to become the
Buddha of today. Yes, the Hindu millions are already giving to Mr. Gandhi the
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credit for all his good and Godly deeds.
He, like Buddha, certainly was a good man, with high standards and good morals, the standards
and morals of the Bible and of Jesus Christ.
This brings us to another hard question to answer -- Since Gandhi lived in the Christian era why
did he not become Christian? -- Perhaps he would have, but I suppose he took into account that
to become a Christian and join the Christian church would lower rather than lift his standard of
As he saw it, it looked to him that a so-called Christian nation was sapping the blood of his
people, that she was abusing and treating them as inferior human beings. In fact, he himself, for
his stand on national decency and national freedom spent about twelve years in jail. These are the
things that most likely kept Mr. Gandhi from joining the Christian church and people. He
certainly did not turn away from Christianity to avoid any sacrifices, or to indulge in any sin.
Gandhi's theory, moreover, for freedom by non-violence, by neither sword nor gun, succeeded
and freed over 400,000,000 people who had been servants of the strong for nearly 200 years!
This he accomplished while the Christians were killing one another by the thousands! These are
some of the things which most likely kept Mr. Gandhi from becoming a Christian.
Let us now for a moment consider Mohammed, to whom something like 220,000,000 people
bow. What kind of man was he? Was he a deceiver? or was he a teacher of righteousness? --
Let us also consider
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the people who were taught by him. They were the descendants of Lot and Abraham, --
Moabites, Esauites, and Ishmaelites, etc., all of them bitter enemies of the Hebrews, and their
Since Mohammed led millions of Arabs closer to the Hebrew-Christian religion than the
so-called Christians in his day would have led them, it is hardly possible that he was a deceiver.
He led his followers to a higher moral standard of living, modesty, cleanliness, regularity of prayer
and Biblical diet than the Christians of his day would have led them. Mohammed's theory of
religion according to history, and as Mohammedanism has it now is this:
"Mohammedanism, the name commonly given in Christian countries to the creed established by
Mohammed. His followers call their creed Islam (entire submission to the decrees of God), and
their common formula of faith is, 'There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.' The
dogmatic or theoretical part of Mohammedanism embraces the following points: -- 1. Belief in
God, who is without beginning or end, the sole Creator and Lord of the universe, having absolute
power, knowledge, glory, and perfection. 2. Belief in his angels, who are impeccable beings,
created of light. 3. Belief in good and evil Jinn (genii), who are created of smokeless fire, and are
subject to death. 4. Belief in the Holy Scriptures, which are his uncreated word revealed to the
prophets. Of these there now exist, but in a greatly corrupted form, the Pentateuch, the Psalms,
and the Gospels; and in an uncorrupted and incorruptible state the Koran, which abrogates and
surpasses all preceding revelations. (See Koran.) 5. Belief in Gods prophets and apostles, the
most distinguished of whom are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed.
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is the greatest of them all, the last of the prophets and the most excellent of the creatures of God.
6. Belief in a general resurrection and final judgment, and in future rewards and punishments,
chiefly of a physical nature. 7. The belief, even to the extent of fatalism, of God's absolute
fore-knowledge and predestination of all events both good and evil." -- "Twentieth Century
Cyclopedia," p. 507.
In view of the fact that Mohammed led his people closer to the religion of the Bible than they
had been before, could he truly be called a deceiver? If so, tell me what did he deceive them
Since Mohammed was so near to believing the Christian religion, we may ask, Why did he not
become a Christian? -- Let us consider the possibilities that could have prevented him from so
Mohammed lived in the seventh century of the Christian era, in the midst of the Dark Ages of
religion, when the Christian church was deepest in idol worship, graft and immorality, practices
that are prohibited by the Scriptures. If nothing else could have kept him from joining the
Christian church, then idol worship along with the prevalent use of swine's flesh, practice that is
against all Bible religion, was enough to turn Mohammed from Christianity.
Mohammed, I believe, did the very best he could, considering that in his time the so-called
Christian church was at a very low ebb, and that his morals and behaviour were much higher than
were the morals and behaviour of the Christianized pagans. In view of all this, who can say that
Mohammed was a bad man, that he was a deceiver?
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Are we still inquiring why God permitted Mohammed to teach his religion to millions of the
earth's inhabitants? And do we still wonder why he did not become a Christian? -- If so, here is a
second answer: God permitted him because Mohammed was making the people better than they
were, and because Mohammedanism in that day brought one closer to the religion of the Bible
than could have paganized Christianity. But why are the Mohammedans still Mohammedans? --
Mohammedans are still Mohammedans, for the same reason that Buddhists are still Buddhists;
that is, because after Mohammed died, they did just what the Buddhists did: In the progress of
religion the Mohammedans stopped where Mohammed stopped -- at his tomb. They stopped
there to make sure that their followers would never join another sect. They taught the people that
there was to be no other prophet, that Mohammed was the last, that there was no need for
another, that they had all the Truth to lead them to the pearly gates. Thus corrupt
Mohammedanism drilledthis false idea into the minds of the common people then, and still more
corrupted Mohammedanism of today, like all other sects, including corrupt Adventism, still does
the same. Thus it is that no sect as a people, but only as individuals, has ever accepted an
additional message and this is the reason for the multi-sectarian world.
So to ask why Mohammedans and Buddhists are still Mohammedans and Buddhists -- why have
they not advanced since Mohammed and Buddha died, is like asking why Catholics have not yet
become Lutherans, why Lutherans have not yet become Presbyterians, why Presbyterians have
not yet become Methodists, why Methodists have not yet become Baptists, why Baptists have not
yet become Seventh-day Adventists, and why Seventh-day Adventists have not yet become
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Davidian Seventh-day Adventists? The overall answer is that each successive denomination has
failed to keep pace with the progress of Truth because each has failed to climb higher than the
height of the founder of each respective denomination could possibly have led them in his life
The Jews never rose higher than the height to which Moses led them. When Moses died, they
as it were died with him so far as spiritual progress was concerned. Thus it was that they rejected
and killed the prophets that came after Moses, not sparing the Son of God.
The same spirit prevailed in the Christian church. She never rose above the level on which the
Apostles left her, and for a time she even fell almost to the bottom of the pit. And she would have
dropped out had God not again visited His people in the persons of Luther, Knox, Wesley,
Campbell and the other reformers, through whom the Lord brought to light certain parts of Bible
Truth that had long been trampled under foot. But did the Christian world as a whole see the
Light? And did all walk in It? No, indeed not, not as a people, but only as individuals. This is
what accounts for the present multi-sectarian world; that is, as it became necessary for Christ to
organize a new church, the Christian, separate from the mother church, the Jewish, in His day,
just so the reformers found themselves cast out from the mother churches, and necessarily were
obliged to organize the followers of advancing Truth into a new denomination, one after another.
In this light, you see the spirit which keeps the Jews still Jews, the Buddhists still Buddhists, the
Mohammedans still Mohammedans, the Catholics still Catholics, the Lutherans still Lutherans, the
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Methodists still Methodists, the Baptists still Baptists -- the very same spirit is today working
within our own denomination, the Seventh-day Adventists, presumptuously believing that they are
rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing more. It, too, thinks that its dead founder was
the last in the line of the prophets, that there is no need of another. It feels certain that the light
and energy in its ship, Zion, is sufficient to take it to the shore of the Kingdom, though they well
know that their message, the Judgment for the Dead is not the last, but that the Judgment for the
Living, the which they do not yet have, is the last! This spirit of sliding back rather than going
forward, of opposing spiritual growth, and at the same time fostering the spirit of lukewarmness,
is successfully working with many in spite of the fact that the prophecies of the Bible which point
to our day, are to them still mysteries. They care not to know them.
There is therefore yet a great work to be done, not only for all nations, kindreds, tongues, and
peoples, but for the Church herself, if any are to be saved from the coming doom. According to
Jeremiah's prophecy, corrupt Christianity is nothing short of a form of Shintoism:
Jer. 10:1-5 -- "Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith
the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the
heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out
of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They deck it with silver and
with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the
palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of
them; for they cannot
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do evil, neither also is it in them to do good."
The widely used Christmas tree, on the 25th of December -- a tree cut down from its source of
life and fastened up by nails -- does not symbolize a birth, but rather one's death and a futile effort
to make him live. By cutting down the tree, to the heathen it symbolized their dead chief, and by
propping it up, it symbolized life though one be dead. Now the fact that the spurious Christmas
tree is widely celebrated not only by Christians, but also by non-Christians, the world by this act is
worshiping the dead, a form of Shintoism. Worshiping the dead prophets and killing the living
ones, is a brutal effort to block the progress of Truth, to deceive self and others.
Finally, had it not been for the fact that some wide-awake ones throughout the ages have dared
take up their cross and follow God through His prophets in order to be led from one height of
Truth to another, the world would not have stood this long.
There is no doubt, the Church from creation till today has been led and preserved by the
prophets, and she can continue in no other way from here on.
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