Dear Cult Guy
He thinks I'm a freako cult leader
Just to refresh your memory, I am the fellow that sent you The True Marks of a Cult, and to whom you sent your chapter on cults. I also have been sending you The Issues of Life, from which you recently unsubscribed. May I ask why?
Regarding your chapter on cults, I have one question at the moment. In it, you write:
"Evil is temporary; happiness is forever. The temporary evil buys the eternal happiness. This eternal happiness is for everyone—eventually. Eighty years of freaking misery, mixed with some joy and happiness and Cocoa Pebbles. Half of it you’re sleeping. Then an eternity of happiness to follow."
By what event is one transferred from evil to happiness? It seems you are suggesting that physical death will accomplish this; "eighty years followed by an eternity of happiness." How does one enter into happiness? Is happiness only for the next realm, and not this life? Is there not evil in the next realm (Luke 16:23)? Ok, that was more than one question, but all of one family.
Hello. Death certainly does not accomplish it. Death is sleep, so there is no sensation there, not even happiness. One enters happiness when one becomes immortal; this is the great event; it occurs upon vivification. There is evil in the next eon, but it won’t bother immortals. Cocoa Pebbles is to be abolished at the consummation of the eons, but Fruity Pebbles will remain.
Hi again, Martin,
What you are saying does not add up. The person mentioned in the first quote goes from eighty years of misery to bliss, which events you indicate are separated by death and some undetermined dormant period. Yet you contradict Jesus Christ, Who said that He came to bring us life, "vivification," in the here and now, and not as you imply, as something only following an insensate period after death:
"I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26 MKJV)
Those in Christ are raised from the dead, and are no longer insensate, whether in this world or the next.
This is also what Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, taught about those who have been "vivified," here on earth:
"If, then, you were raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is sitting at the right of God; mind the things above, not the things on the earth. For you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:1-3 LITV).
You are in contradiction, Martin. You are in contradiction to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I went through the cult chapter of your book, which chapter you had e-mailed me after I had sent you The True Marks of a Cult. In your writing, you rightly point out that man-made religion in the name of Christ often fits its own definition of a cult. What you fail to mention, or to apply to yourself or others, are God’s standards in defining what is a cult—a work of men.
Yes, the churches of men are by and large hypocritical. So what? All the more reason one should not be looking to such for a godly, useful measure of what is true. How could one expect to know what is true by the standards of the false? Yet you do. Telling us it is dark outside does not make it day. Critiquing the church systems of men does not bring salvation.
What does bring salvation is God’s Word, His Standard and Way. I am speaking of the Light of all men, the living and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Word made flesh, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. By His Spirit He has made us heirs and living testimonies of His Nature, by our common salvation in Him. Therefore, we not only speak of the errors of men, but do so through the life that is found in Him, and by His standards, the ancient landmarks, which can be identified and corroborated in Holy Scripture. We outline these standards by which one can, without bias, determine what is false, in The True Marks of a Cult. Judged by His standards, Martin, you also are a cult, no different in essence than those you condemn.
I am not asking you to take my word for it, as you so readily tell your readers; the standards are His, as noted in His Word of Truth, and give an impartial judgment, which you can see for yourself. However, I note that it is a gift to see anything and furthermore, to believe and obey Him.
Here are some of the marks that you display:
#2 – Money solicitation. You make it known that you are taking donations, and from anyone. This has not ever been the way of Christ or His saints. You also sell your spiritual teachings. No true saint of God has ever done that, either. The very idea is anathema, no different than selling your children’s or wife’s body in prostitution, and if you can believe it, which you cannot, it is even worse.
#10 – Easy to join. You think it is easy to join men’s churches? Next to your requirements for being part of the Body of Christ, they are excruciatingly demanding. To be part of the Body of Christ, according to you, requires absolutely nothing. You are already part of it; you just have not mentally grasped or acceded to the fact. This is a false gospel, described in The Deadly Error of Universalists. The real Church is composed of those who have repented and are crucified with Christ. No flesh is able, or dares, to join this Church. As it is written:
"And of the rest, no one dared to be joined to them, but the people greatly magnified them" (Acts 5:13 LITV).
#23 – Persons revered. Ask anyone going to your web site what it is about. The obvious answer – Martin Zender!
"Step right up folks, and get ‘Zenderized!’ by ‘the world’s most outspoken Bible scholar.’ Yes, come hear the ‘Sgt Pepper of evangelism,’ the creator of a new genre of literature, ‘Theotainment,’ where you will be entertained by ‘Mr. Wizard of the Scripture set,’ and ‘get real.’ Come join the next Martin (Luther), in the next revolution!"
Your name is the one in lights, not the Lord’s. It is the abomination of desolation, sitting on the throne of God. It is the same nature by which men create their church systems, giving lip service to the Lord Jesus Christ while hiding the man of sin behind a pious front, not keeping His commandments. You have cunningly taken another tack, showing off your uncircumcised flesh proudly, without apology or shame, as if by doing so you conclusively demonstrate that you are not a phony like those who are self-circumcised. But the Scriptures declare that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything. That you condemn others when you are in the same unbelief as they are makes you that which the Lord abhors most, a hypocrite. Your own words condemn you:
"Everyone is pointing. Everyone is in a cult except the people who are pointing. But everyone is pointing."
And the biggest pointer of all is Martin Zender, who has even put his name in lights so everyone can see where he is pointing and what a profound and prolific pointer he is.
#24 – Denial of gifts and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Martin Zender says:
"As for the gift of prophecy, I believe that to be obsolete. There was a time for it, when the Word of God was not yet complete. But now that the Word is complete, people don’t need to hear "a direct Word from God" anymore. I’m not saying God doesn’t speak to us personally, but I do not trust anybody who comes up to me and says, ‘I have a word of the Lord for you.’ Sorry, but if God wants to talk to me, He’ll tell me personally. I put no stock in modern day prophets, even if they get something ‘right.’ God is our confirmation, and so is His Word."
The Scriptures, which you call the "complete" Word, say this:
"So then, brothers, seek eagerly to prophesy..." (1 Corinthians 14:39 LITV).
And: "I bowed down at his feet to worship him, but he told me, Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold on to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy!" (Revelation 19:10 ISV)
If you deny prophecy in the present, you also deny the testimony of Jesus Christ in the present, and you do both. This is a mark of a cult. It only takes one mark to identify you as a cult, just as by breaking one commandment you have broken them all. You are not in the City, Martin, but without it, with the dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters and liars.
You say that God, if He has anything to say, will only say it to you. That is as false and diabolical a doctrine as any. The Scriptures, which you say are "complete," are replete with example after example of God speaking through men to people, both individuals and nations. Nowhere is there any indication that this would or has changed. Why would it? If by the laws of physics, nuclear fusion taking place on the surface of the sun provides energy to warm the earth today, why should I suppose it will cease tomorrow? If I have sunlight tomorrow, then we still have the sun. Yet the sun can go away, but we yet will have the Light Who created all things, within, by Whom we shall and do reign forever and ever. Therefore we speak with certitude, and without apology.
More important than your gross error is the reason behind it. You believe what you do because you choose to sit on God’s throne, showing yourself as God, disallowing Him from telling you, or anyone else, anything contrary by His chosen means of speaking, through His body, which is composed of like earthen vessels. You prove my very words by denying and defying all that you hear in this letter.
At the same time that you deny the Word of the Lord in the mouth of His servants you also presume to teach others about God, as though you are His minister. How could you possibly minister by Him if you do not have His specific and applicable Word in your mouth? Can you not see that you are in a constant state of contradiction? Did Jesus not know what He was talking about? Did He use opinion and Scriptural analysis to answer the rich young ruler, or did He speak by revelation, prophetically?
You are in rebellion, and lead others in the same, despite the true things you teach. Yours is a ministry of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, which puffs up, fosters pride, stubbornness, and iniquity. The only thing that can serve to deliver from such is the fire of God, which thankfully is here for that very purpose. The will of the Lord Jesus Christ be done.
Contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, which has myriads of imitators, all vying for glory and proudly fighting amongst themselves, while the army of Heaven comes to rebuke them all.
You’re a tad strange and not much fun. But hello just the same.
Right off the bat, you misquoted John 11:25-26 "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." Check it in literal texts. It says, "Shall not die for the eon." It’s the coming eon in which these blessed people will not die, not this one. Right now, they’re dead. John 11:25-26 is one of the places that our beloved King James translators decided not to translate "eon," and it has sent you off on the wrong track concerning the dead—oops—I mean, the insensate.
As for the bit of Paul you quoted on the resurrection, we have died and are raised with Christ in identification only, not yet in reality. If you think you died with Christ in reality, then you are not only deceived, you’re crazy. There just weren’t that many crosses on Calvary. Besides, you weren’t even born yet. Or maybe you were. Were you? Oh, you couldn’t have been. Besides, we are not to be vivified apart from the dead, and the dead in Christ rise first (1 Thess. 4:16.) Read: the dead in Christ. This hasn’t happened yet. If it had, I’d be much less susceptible to gravity right now and I wouldn’t need deodorant. Apparently, you don’t know what death is. You should find out; it will do wonders for your doctrine. For one thing, you will actually be able to believe one of the cornerstone truths of the evangel, namely, that Christ died.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians, chapter 9, that the evangelist is to live off the evangel: "Thus the Lord prescribes that those who are announcing the evangel are to be living of the evangel" (1 Cor. 9:14). Paul despoiled other ecclesias (2 Cor. 11:8), so that he could give freely to his beloved Corinthians. He took money from lots of people because they gave it; they wanted to support his worthy mission. People do not give me money out of compulsion, but from their heart; I have never compelled anyone to give.
I let people know I accept contributions toward my work, yes. Why? Because many people ask. People need to know that I’m sustained by the Body of Christ and not by some large, soulless corporation such as whatever church you belong to. They need to know that this is my only job and that I do it full time. Not many people do what I do full time, and this is one reason why the truth languishes today. I am a soldier and people want to support me because they believe in my work. Without them, I can’t do what I do. And truth be known, the biggest blessing is theirs, not mine. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
If you think I’m getting rich via this gospel—or trying to—then you should have a look at my car. I have stood at Wal-Mart for several minutes debating whether or not to buy name-brand cotton swabs. I resent you questioning my integrity and the supposed unscripturalness of my actions. Through the years, I have laid out my situation for all to see.
True, I sell my books, but Scripture does not speak against that. Selling books does not mean I’m selling truth. A person can easily get truth from me without buying my books. Every facet of the truth is readily available for free on my website in the form of sound files, articles, letters such as this one, and all manner of free stuff. But here’s something you may not have ever heard of, and it is my privilege to be able to hand you this remarkable revelation: IT COSTS MONEY TO PRODUCE BOOKS. Even so, I give a lot of them away.
If anyone is peddling the Word of God, sir (2 Cor. 2:17), it is you. As an orthodox Christian "believer," you are taking the gospel and making it available only to those who can exchange the proper amount of human faith for it. This is what Paul means when he accuses some of peddling the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 2:17. He’s not saying that people are selling Bibles on the street corner, he is saying that people are exchanging salvation for human effort. I make the good news of Jesus Christ available for free, not only to those who visit my website, but to anyone who asks. I don’t tell them, "This great blessing of salvation can be yours—if the price is right." No, that’s your gig.
I remember the day I had to look up the term "Universalist" to see what it was. And this was years after I believed in the salvation of all via the success of Christ’s cross. Apparently, you think I’m a Universalist. Well, you’re wrong again. It’s a good thing I’m not keeping score of your errant statements and assumptions because I would need to demand more money from my flock to hire an accountant.
It is true that I am revered and that I crave worship at least three times a day; this is my only fault. Some people have built statues of me and put them in their back yards, though I discourage the practice whenever I can, preferring that shrubbery be clipped into my likeness. Now I hear that people in Chile are minting coins with my profile. The profile looks more like Jeff Foxworthy, so I am pissed off royally—not that there is any other way for a person of my eminence to be pissed. I thought seriously of sending lightning bolts to destroy the misguided South American mint-meisters, but I changed my mind (it does happen! even to deities!), and have allotted myself 1000 years to cool off. If I’m still mad after that, I will be harming those Chilean coin-crunchers with much harm.
Listen, not-my-friend. I’m a showman at heart. I’m excited about my work and I love putting timeless truths on a modern platter. I love spicing-up my work with a little razzle-dazzle because it suits my personality. Didn’t Mary Poppins say that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down? Oh, maybe that was Jeremiah in Lamentations; I can’t remember; I’m too busy putting chlorophyll into plants. Anyway, I am not a dry, unhappy announcer of doom who says "insensate" instead of "dead," and so I’m not going to force myself to be like you; I’m going to be like me.
How is it that, by coining cool words like "theotainment" and calling myself "the world’s most outspoken Bible scholar," I’m putting myself above Christ and God? That’s a ridiculous assertion, but you’re full of those. There are people like me who are showy on the outside but humble toward God on the inside, and then there are people like you who are humble on the outside but showy toward God on the inside, glorying in their decision to believe in God, content for the rest of the world to suffer in hell for eternity. Obviously you’re one of the latter types. I’d rather be like me than like you. I feel sorry for you; I haven’t decided yet what to do with you at the Great White Throne; say your prayers while facing my shrubbery.
As for prophesy, it went out the door when Paul completed the Word of God. Paul wrote the prophecy verse you quoted before he completed the Word of God. You quoted a portion of scripture from a time when prophecy still functioned. But Paul himself said in 1 Corinthians 13:8 that prophecy would cease. Well, it has. And languages are for minors—read the entire context of 1 Corinthians 13. Many things in the Bible that were formerly correct have ceased, which is why we don’t sacrifice lambs anymore (or maybe you do), or pray toward the temple (or maybe you do; but wait, there is no temple; but wait, this should not bother one who thinks he is already vivified, beyond the reach of death—I mean, insensateness).
As for me breaking the commandments, I’m afraid that is impossible, seeing as how I’ve never been under them: I’m not an Israelite! I’m one of those people of the nations, "who have no law"—that’s Romans 2:14. Read the whole book of Romans; you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find there.
You’re right in that I’m not going to be in the City you speak of, but neither will I be among the dogs and whoremongers—bitter disappointment for you, I know. I’ll be among the celestials at this time, ministering God’s grace. What did I do to deserve such a glorious fate? Nothing! God has simply chosen to lavish me with grace. It’s crazy, I know.
It is news to me that I sit on God’s throne. Wow. Thank you for the enlightenment; I could have sworn I was enduring an evil eon. I show myself to be God? Hm. That’s a serious accusation. I honestly can’t recall ever doing that. Was I funny? How long did it last?
Unless I am mistaken, you have—at the close of your blessed and gracious letter—sent me to hell. I should not worry; I think that God will let me off the hook now that I have read your letter, which is hell enough for anyone.
Have a good day, if you can.