Dr. John Ankerberg: Mary Baker Eddy says about the atonement of Jesus, “The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon the accursed tree then when it was flowing in His veins as He went daily about His Father’s business.” (Science and Health, page 330) So there, that’s not the way either.
Dr. Walter Martin: No, Mrs. Eddy denied that Christ’s actual sacrifice on the cross could save you from sin. But that shouldn’t disturb us because Mrs. Eddy denied the existence of sin, it was an illusion. She denied the existence of pain, death. She denied all of these things. She denied the material universe existed except as in the mind. So it shouldn’t disturb us to find out that she wants nothing to do with the material blood of Christ. But the Scripture is very clear on this subject, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” [Heb. 9:22] And he redeemed us by His own blood. Mrs. Eddy and Christian Science wants nothing to do with the blood of Christ on the cross.
Dr. John Ankerberg: Okay. Garner Ted and his dad, they were talking and they were saying that the born again experience is when we die and we’re recreated to be spirit. Jesus was born again and we’re going to be born again the same way. When we are born of God we shall be of His very family. We shall be spirit as He is spirit, immortal as He is immortal, divine as He is divine. We shall then be God. That’s not too bad.
Dr. Walter Martin: Well, they’ve improved on the Mormons. The Mormons say you can be a god, but Herbert has said you can become God. He is very clear on that subject. If you go back and study that passage you quoted, you notice he said, “We shall be spirit as He is spirit?” Well Jesus Christ’s resurrection is denied by the Worldwide Church of God. They maintain that when Jesus came out of the grave He came out as a spirit. That’s the way we’re going to be in the resurrection. But when Jesus presented Himself after His crucifixion He said, “Handle me and see. A spirit doesn’t have flesh and bone as ye see me have.”
Dr. John Ankerberg: The Way International denies that Jesus Christ is God, so how in the world can a person find salvation?
Dr. Walter Martin: The only way you’re going to find salvation according to Scripture is to “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead” [Rom. 10:9] to accept Christ as he is revealed in Scripture, not as he is caricatured by the cults. I would warn people to beware of what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11, there is a counterfeit Jesus, a counterfeit Holy Spirit, counterfeit gospels, counterfeit apostles, counterfeit workmen, and they are designed by Satan to mislead and they themselves don’t even know that they are deceived.
Dr. John Ankerberg: Would you comment on Wierwille’s use of John 1:1, because he denies Jesus’ deity right there and I think it’s very easy if they just look at the text. But would you interpret? Dr. Walter Martin: Wierwille has been laughed at by virtually every major Greek scholar that read the book simply because he doesn’t translate what the Greek text says. He interpolates. That is, he reads into it what he wants it to say. The text says, “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was face to face with God, pros ton theon, the Word was God.” Now you cannot escape the grammar. What he tries to do is make the Word a god or God in a unique sense and here’s how he does it. He says, “Jesus always existed in the mind of His Father, therefore, He is indeed eternal. Therefore, He is deity.” But I existed in the mind of my father, too and so did you. Does that make us deity? Logically, yes. Wierwille won’t acknowledge that.
Editor’s note: In 1983 we asked Dr. Walter Martin, author of The Kingdom of the Cults, to comment on what various groups believe about The Bible, God, Jesus, Salvation, and a number of other topics. This article is excerpted from that interview. Some groups mentioned may have changed names, disbanded, or modified their beliefs since this interview took place.