Phoenix, Arizona is home to a new religious cult. He advertises on KFYI.
Alex Casuccio wants Christians to stop listening to their pastors and listen to him instead. Dr. Casuccio, an animal doctor, claims that churches have been keeping the Gospel hidden. Now he wants to correct 2,000 years of deceit by uncovering the truth. The Lord’s Truth is indistinguishable from Casuccio’s truth, reckons the veterinarian-turned-religious entrepreneur.
Who is Alex Casuccio?
Casuccio’s disdain for the church began early in life. The 15 year old “began to read the bible” (sic) and determined what he was hearing from ordained clergy did not “line up” with his own unique interpretations. You may recall that another young and inexperienced cult leader, Joe Smith, who founded the Mormons, shared the same contempt. Although cults branch in different directions, they all begin (and end) the same way: hatred of Christ’s Church. That just goes to show you that the most diverse forms of error will converge in their opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Casuccio made several trips through the Bible. He has even read a few commentaries. He determined they were all wrong. He went on to save the world by sharing his newly discovered truths, writing a 300-page dissertation. Here, again, Casuccio finds himself among other cultists who scribed new books, presented new revelations, putting forth new interpretations that orthodox Christians have never believed in two thousand years. Muhammad, Joe Smith, Charles Russell, Mary Baker Eddy are among not a few church-haters who insist on creating rewrites of the Gospel.
The Mission of Alex Cassucio
Alex is very clear that he is not interested in feeding or clothing the poor. This task is left to other organizations. Cassucio must have missed this aspect of true religion when he read the Bible. He is not interested in starting a church either. Instead, his burden is to help people find his spiritual truth (remember Alex’s truth is The Lord’s Truth). The stated mission is to sell his book in which The Lord’s Truth is contained. Rest assured, monies gained from sales go back to making more books. Alex says he is not profited by this book; I would add that neither are the readers.
Denominational diversity is a stumbling block for Alex Cassucio
The dream Cassucio has of restoring the lost church parallels Joseph Smith’s, albeit without the usual drama such as Egyptian plates, murder, and the confiscation of property. Like the Mormon prophet, young Alex was disillusioned by the diversity found in Christianity. Smith perceived the disagreements in the Church as a sign of apostasy and tried to unify it – ironically by starting a new denomination!
Cassucio numbers Christian denominations at 400; actually there are roughly 100 times that number. Christian differences are not new. In fact, the disciples themselves are guilty of arguing and bickering. They split on a variety of things that resulted in separation. They diverged to focus on various ministry aspects that interested them: Paul went one way and Barnabas went another – the disagreement arose over whether another disciple, John Mark, was to tour with them. Sometimes the disciples would fight amongst themselves as to who would be in charge. Other times they would disagree on Jewish-Gentile relationships or what part of the Old Testament was still valid. They disputed over spiritual talents. They even would quarrel about who had the best pastor! Despite their quarrels they remained united in the tenets of the faith. It is Christ Himself who unites us.
Christians have splits today and they separate for many of the same reasons the disciples did. Yet, Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Anglicans, Assemblies of God, Calvinists and Arminians, and a host of other Christian churches are united in their creeds. The Apostles’, Nicene, and Chalcedonian Creeds are upheld as the test of orthodoxy. A man can differ on when or how to baptize or style of worship, but Christians do not disagree on the doctrine of God, the way of salvation, or the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. These ancient Trinitarian creeds are usually found in Christian hymnals around the world and if they are absent from plain view the Believers will wholeheartedly endorse these doctrines if asked to do so. Christians are as one Body, therefore, just as the Lord had prayed.
Furthermore, many of these divisions are a matter of ministry focus. Generally speaking, Methodists have a heart for social issues, Presbyterians on doctrinal purity, and the Assemblies of God on evangelism and outreach. Within these denominations you will encounter subgroups that have an interest in using their gifts in a variety of ways: whether in the arts, film and media, funding world relief efforts, or medical missions. We see a parallel to this diversity within the Roman Catholic Church. They have many Orders: Franciscans, Jesuits, Benedictine, and Augustinians. All of these groups within the Catholic Church are unquestionably Catholic but have distinct ministries. These Orders sometimes bicker among themselves, but no thinking man would claim they are not Catholics.
What is Cassucio smoking? The universal church is not fragmented. The Church is One Body which Christ is building up. Christ is our Head. Our Presbyterian pastor regularly quotes from Luther. I’ve heard Assemblies of God pastors quote Spurgeon (a Baptist) in the Sunday sermon. Go to an Anglican church and you’ll likely hear quotes from Catholic scholars, usually Augustine or Aquinas. All of us sing Wesley’s Methodist hymns. We cite each others’ books. Where’s the disunity Cassucio claims to exist?
Alex Cassucio is taken aback by the Church’s diversity, confused and unable to see patterns of unity, design, and a cohesion that is before him. He reminds me of the 1956 film, War and Peace, where Count Bezukhov (played by Henry Fonda) remarks “…some people read and become enlightened; others read and become more confused…” What is sad is that the more Cassucio reads, the more badly informed he becomes.
Cassucio does not see the unity in the Christian denominations because he is ignorant of church history. Furthermore he is spiritually depraved, possessing a darkened mind that is filled with bitterness and jealousy for Christ’s church; therefore he is incapable of seeing the harmony.
Alex Cassucio wants us to put our trust in him
On the WHO CAN YOU TRUST? web page, he asks rhetorically “Should you trust your minister or priest without question?” and “Should you put your trust in man?” Yet Cassucio wants us to put his trust in him. The last time these questions were asked we were reading about a burnt-down religious compound in Waco, Texas – and before that, a mass suicide in Jonestown.
Cassucio mocks the training the doctors of the church receive in our seminaries. I wonder if he thinks amateur veterinarians can learn to practice medicine without training, too? Imagine being asked to put your pet’s life in the hands in a man who learned all there is to know about surgery because he reads The Merck Veterinary Manual earnestly. Having done so, claims that he has found a new way to do animal science. The self-taught man says, “You must not put your trust in the physicians of the past,” and he decides to publish a textbook of his own.
Poor Alex Cassucio has refuted himself. He is a lost man, misled … and he is misleading others.
I will, Lord willing, point out Dr. Cassucio’s many theological errors in the next post …
*** UPDATE: If there is any doubt that Cassucio wants to peddle books, here is his reply to me:
I look forward to your review and refutation of my work. All that I ask is that you please base your efforts on my book and not on my website. Only then will you know precisely what I’ve said & how I said it and you’ll have easy access to the scriptures that I referenced (for your refutation).