KEYWORDS: church, doctrine, grace, thy, god

We're the Best

David Berg


"The History of Protestantism in a Nutshell!"

—& "We May Not Be Perfect!—But We're the Best!" 7/6/78 & 12/9/82

1. WE ARE ONE OF THE FEW RELIGIOUS GROUPS IN THE WORLD THAT IS NOT A SPLIT-OFF OF ANYTHING! As a group we didn't split off from anything, we just split from America, although individually, of course, some of us are split-offs from various former religious groups. But I know of very few other denominations that were original & did not split off from some parent religious group to begin with.

2. EVEN THE EARLY CHURCH WAS A SPLIT-OFF OF JUDAISM, because they were virtually all former Jews, with a few rare exceptions. Not that I'm saying split-offs are bad—although most churches from whom they have split off think they're very bad! The Jews therefore hate the Christians because they really ripped off a lot of their people—& still do, incidentally!

3. THE FIRST MAJOR SPLIT OFF FROM ROME & THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS THE EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH, from which all the various Orthodox groups came—Russian Orthodox‚ Greek Orthodox‚ Syrian Orthodox, etc. The Eastern churches were really the first split-off from Rome. Later, of course, Protestantism split off from Romanism also.

4. MARTIN LUTHER WAS THE LEADER OF THE REFORMATION WHEN PROTESTANTISM FIRST SPLIT OFF FROM CATHOLICISM, & the Lutherans were the first major Protestant denomination & the largest & most powerful, because they swept Germany & the Scandinavian countries, & that's why Luther's usually given credit for being the leader of the Reformation. But there were also many other reformers: Savonarola in Italy, John Knox in Scotland & Henry VIII in England & Calvin in France.

5. CALVIN WAS A FRENCHMAN WHO HAD TO TAKE REFUGE IN SWITZERLAND, where John Knox visited, studied under & became a follower of Calvin & then returned to Scotland & led the Reformation there, organising the Presbyterian Church. So the modern-day Baptists & Presbyterians are usually considered descendants of the Calvinist Movement of those days‚ although there were Anabaptists before that. They followed Calvin & were called Calvinists‚ & their major doctrine was called Calvinism, of which you & I are firm advocates!: Salvation by grace!—Eternal Salvation!—Once saved, always saved!

6. THAT WAS CALVIN'S STRONG DOCTRINE, ALONG THE LINE OF LUTHER'S ALSO: SALVATION PURELY BY GRACE, NOT BY WORKS. Because at the time of the Reformation, the Catholic Church was strictly a religion of works & practices & church-going & ceremonies & all the rest.—And that's still what they preach today, let's face it: You've really got to earn your Salvation by your works! And of course, nobody could ever make it that way! So they're building their Salvation on a poor foundation of their own self-righteousness, when only Jesus can save!

7. IN THOSE DAYS ALL OF THOSE REFORMERS WERE CONSIDERED PROTESTANTS BECAUSE THEY PROTESTED! They were protest-ants—Protestants. And of course they were risking their lives to do it, because the Catholic Church held sway & held power & controlled the System & the police & they very often didn't hesitate to slaughter them or throw them in prison or beat them or whatever! One big army & invasion that the Pope sent North slaughtered one million Protestants in Bavaria alone!—And that's why Bavaria is almost solidly Catholic to this very day!—They just wiped out all the Christians!

8. SO THE PROTESTANTS GOT THEIR BIGGEST PUSH PRIMARILY FROM MARTIN LUTHER, & John Calvin was sort of the Luther of France, & virtually all of those first Protestants were "grace" people. They were sick of the Catholic Church‚ which was all works‚ so to really make the break they had to break completely with a real doctrine of grace!—"Once saved, always saved!"—Real grace!—Saved by grace & kept saved by grace, not by works!—Eternally!

9. BUT THEN ALONG CAME DEAR JOHN WESLEY! Sometimes I wonder about him—the Devil up to his old tricks. Under King Henry VIII, the Church of England had already split off from Roman Catholicism, but 200 years later, Wesley split off from the Church of England & began the Methodist Church. And although he supposedly preached grace, his major doctrine was so-called "Holiness", a strong religion of works rather than grace.—You had to be holy, good, perfect & not sin!—Or you could lose your salvation every time you had a bad thought!

10. THE GRACE PEOPLE ALL CAME, OF COURSE, OUT OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH FIRST, originally, & the works people came out of the Church of England through the followers of Wesley or the Wesleyans, & all the variety of Methodists & "Holiness" denominations came from the Wesleyan Methodists, including all the various Pentecostal denominations! So Luther, Calvin, Knox & virtually all the early Reformers were grace people, & this swing back to works didn't come until the days of Wesley when he began to promote works & piety & self-righteousness!

11. SO THE PROTESTANT CHURCH DIVIDED INTO THOSE TWO MAIN CAMPS: CALVINISTIC‚ "ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED", & the Wesleyans on the other hand. I used to say the one had the doctrine of Eternal Security & the other had the doctrine of Eternal Insecurity: Often saved—but you can never be sure!

12. SO BACK TO THE POINT WHERE WE STARTED: VIRTUALLY EVERY MAJOR MOVEMENT IS A SPLIT-OFF! The Adventists, as they were first called, came out of the Methodist Church, & their pet doctrine was the Coming of the Lord—which certainly needs to be emphasised!

13. IT WAS MILLER, THE ADVENTIST PROPHET, WHO PROPHESIED THE EXACT DAY OF THE LORD'S COMING. They all draped themselves in sheets & white nightgowns & got up on the roofs of their houses waiting for the Lord to come—& He didn't come & pick them up! Then after this faux pas by Miller‚ Ellen G. White took over & she had a vision of the 4th Commandment: "Remember the Sabbath Day!"—So they went off on a tangent & it split the whole Adventist Movement & they became the Seventh Day Adventists!

14. WHEN ELLEN G. WHITE WAS ON HER DEATH BED, SHE SAID, "WATCH OUT FOR THOSE MEN, PASTOR RUSSELL & PASTOR RUTHERFORD!"—The co-pastors of the huge Brooklyn Temple of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Apparently she saw that they were getting pretty powerful & influential, & sure enough, the minute she was gone they tried to take over the Seventh Day Adventist Church. But she had a council of elders, so they couldn't do it.

15. SO THEY SPLIT OFF & TOOK A HUGE BIG HUNK OF SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS WITH THEM INTO WHAT IS KNOWN TODAY AS THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES! Their doctrine is not all that bad‚ not as bad as all your preachers & priests & churches told you it was! I believe they really believe in Jesus, the ones that I have met, & I think a lot of them are really saved! And they sure witness‚ God bless'm!

16. SO I DON'T BELIEVE ALL THAT THE PROTESTANT CHURCHES SAY ABOUT THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, because I studied them myself, as I did the Mormons also. After I got sick of the denomination I was in, Brother, I went around studying them all, trying to find out which I could join & agree with! And I found some good in every single one!

17. THE MORMONS TRIED TO BRING REAL LIBERTY INTO THE CHURCH IN MANY WAYS. The man who actually founded the Mormon Church was Joseph Smith, & I am absolutely convinced that he was a converted Jew, who went from church to church trying to find the right Christian church to join, but he never could find one that he liked & that he thought was right, so he started his own!

18. AND I AM CONVINCED THAT HE ACTUALLY DID HAVE THOSE REVELATIONS FROM THAT ANGEL! He was a firm believer in Christ‚ he preached Christ all the time! But because he was not a member of one of the established religions, they hounded him from one state to the other!—Even before his polygamy doctrine! The Mormons were hounded as heretics & fanatics & devils & everything else! They even had several pitched battles with Federal troops!

19. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT USED THE EXCUSE OF POLYGAMY FOR CONDEMNING THEM, & ALL THE CHURCHES GRABBED ON TO THAT!—Just like with us they latch on to FFing: "That proves they are not of God‚ of course!" And that's the main thing they use to persuade most church people that we're a false cult.

20. I WOULD SAY THAT WE PROBABLY RESEMBLE THE MORMONS MORE THAN ALMOST ANY OTHER PARTICULAR GROUP, including a few of their doctrines too. So in some ways we're unique, we're not a split-off, but in some ways there have been similar groups before us‚ like the Mormons, who are more of a conglomeration, a fall–out from a lot of different churches. Smith was a powerful personality & attracted followers from all different churches & denominations to his new religion.

21. THEY REALLY STARTED A WHOLE NEW CHURCH, A NEW CULTURE, A NEW SOCIETY! And in spite of a few weird doctrines, they have preached Christ & sent missionaries all over the World, & have done, I think‚ a lot of good! But of course the other churches have vilified them to the bone & crucified'm like they do us. My mother was the first woman to ever preach in the Mormon tabernacle in Salt Lake City‚ Utah, the Mother Church of the Mormons, or Latter Day Saints (LDS) as they're called officially!

22. EVERY TIME GOD HAS TRIED TO BRING SOMETHING NEW TO THE CHURCH, a new needed doctrine or a new needed practice or new needed leadership, the established religions have hounded them almost to their death! It's only the strongest that have survived, & I am convinced that those are of the Lord or they wouldn't have lasted this long! If it be of God, who can stand against it? But if it is not of God, God's Word says, it will come to nought, eventually. (Ac.5:38,39)

23. INSTEAD OF THAT, THE MORMONS HAVE GROWN & PROSPERED & ARE STILL GROWING! The Seventh Day Adventists, the Jehovah's Witnesses‚ the Pentecostals & all the rest of'm—all being militant, aggressive, witnessing & on-fire—have grown & prospered & they all preach Christ!

24. SO YOU'VE GOT LOTS OF COMPANY, FOLKS! They treated all the other great Prophets, Reformers & Founders of new denominations the same!—Persecuted them all & slaughtered many of them violently, including the Protestants & all the rest. So you've got lots of company!—Except we are rather unique in that we were born virtually outside of any church & simply attracted people out of all churches & all religious groups, like the Mormons.

25. ANYHOW, IF YOU LIKE MY RELIGION‚ GOD BLESS YOU, YOU'RE WELCOME TO IT! I feel that the Lord has led us to adopt the best that each of these has to offer, & I've studied'm all! If I came across a doctrine that I thought was good & needed & I found was Scriptural, I would adopt it!—And of course, I believe we're right!—The rightest of all the rights!—Ha!

26. WE'VE GOT THE BEST OF ALL! We've got the Holy Spirit! We're strong on witnessing & evangelising the World! I think we've just got the best of everything!—With a little sex thrown in besides, so we can enjoy life & enjoy pleasure as a creation of God!—That's real grace!

27. I THINK WE'VE BEEN BLESSED OF THE LORD & GROWN VERY RAPIDLY, STEADILY, FIRMLY, & I think we're on the right track! I think we preach the most important doctrines of all: Jesus & His Love & His Salvation! Amen?

28. AND I BELIEVE WE'VE GOT THE GREATEST WITNESS OF ANY GROUP OUR SIZE IN THE WORLD!—And I believe we are winning more souls than any other group our size in the World‚ with the greatest witness & the most publications & the most radio programs & all the rest! I think we are the most active‚ the most effective & the most fruitful witnesses on God's Earth today! Hallelujah!

29. AND IF WE HAVE WOUND UP WITH A LITTLE BIT OF THIS & A LITTLE BIT OF THAT & a little bit of the best of everything, it wasn't just because I was shopping around!—I believe it was the Word & the Scripture & I believe it's true! I can find every one of our pet doctrines & things that I harp on right in the Bible & prove'm to you!

30. SO WE THANK YOU, LORD‚ THAT WE'RE OF THEE! We know this is Thy Family, Thy Children‚ Thy spiritual moving of Thy Spirit, definitely a movement, Lord, a genuine moving of Thy Power & Thy Spirit & Thy Truth & Thy doctrine, & You are the One Who created us, Lord! We didn't start it, You did!—And it was just Your time to pour out Thy Spirit upon all flesh, upon the youth of America & now the youth around the World! PYL!