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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ BY ALL BELIEVERS
Wow! Great book Dr. Houck! Having twice read "Epidemic: Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity" was a real eye-opener for me. I'm not one to take 30 years of my life on a scholarly quest for answers and so thankful for Dr. Houck taking the time and effort to do so. I'm also grateful that he spent the time and energy to write his findings to...
Published 7 months ago by Carroll J. Gleason

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18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Heretical Pseudohistory Lacking Any Documentation -- Avoid this Book
Throughout history, cults have fed off of the periphery of Christianity. Because a large part of evangelicalism is now preaching a seeker sensitive message, those hungry for real biblical truth and depth are easy prey for pseudo-scholars writing revisionist history like Russ Houck. The book under review, Epidemic: Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity...
Published 7 months ago by Cris


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ BY ALL BELIEVERS, December 6, 2013
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This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
Wow! Great book Dr. Houck! Having twice read "Epidemic: Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity" was a real eye-opener for me. I'm not one to take 30 years of my life on a scholarly quest for answers and so thankful for Dr. Houck taking the time and effort to do so. I'm also grateful that he spent the time and energy to write his findings to be shared with the world so we can come to a better knowledge concerning the things of God.

Undoubtedly many toes have been stepped on, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, even if it is uncomfortable. It's also easy to understand why many who hold to cherished doctrines and traditions will find this book to be offensive. However, you owe it to yourself to carefully read this work and let it provoke you to examine your beliefs and why you believe them. For me it brought the understanding that much of what I had held to as doctrine was actually tradition that was not founded on scripture.

To say that this book is controversial could very well be an understatement. Anytime a person makes a strong statement that goes contrary to long-held beliefs is certainly going to stir up opposition. How often have we heard said, and even said it ourselves, that we need to use a two-by-four to get someone's attention? Metaphorically speaking "Epidemic" is the two-by-four that is necessary to be applied today. Believers of all "faiths" need to be awakened to prepare for what is fast approaching, and is even at the door.

There have been a number of negative posts advising you not to read this book. If you choose others to do the thinking for you then it is to your own detriment. You may disagree with everything in the book but you may be rather surprised, if not shocked by what you will learn as you read it completely and objectively. It can change your life in a positive way. This is a "must read" book by all believers if for no other reason than to examine the possibility of whether you have "infected roots" that need an "injection for the infection". Read it for yourself and don't take others word for it and allow the Holy Spirit to open your understanding to His truth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing, challenging, for those seeking deep truth., December 9, 2013
This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
Certainly, THE most controversial book possibly ever written to date. Having been fully steeped in Christianity, as a fully immersed Baptist, I found myself throwing this book across the room 4 times, yelling, "No, this can't be true!" I pleaded with the Spirit of God to reveal to me only His Truth. This book has upset my camp, my home, and my life. Yet it wasn't this Dr. Houck. It wasn't a man at all. It was the Holy Spirit bringing His work of sanctification. Once I invited the Lord God of Abraham to establish my foundation, my doctrines, my belief system, I knew then that I had been living a lie, and had been fed many lies. In fact, I meet high resistance and false accusation often. Christians don't like their well oiled machine to be confronted. I'm certain Jews and Messianics feel even stronger. Believers abroad walk in traditions thinking their ways are of God. Just because we've done it that way for 2000 years does NOT mean it pleases our God. However, Father is shaking everything that can be shaken! He is raising His sons and daughters to RETURN to HIM. This is the heart cry of the prophets, and a daily experience I have in witnessing the Lord bring seekers of Truth, and network us together from many different walks. EPIDEMIC is a strong tool in exposing the errors of man and religion. This book defies everything familiar, which causes many to revolt and bow up. The truths are painful and hits one in the spiritual chest as a tamper would a pitcher's mound. It further defies our seminaries, our biblical institutions, and the greatest scholars who would present themselves as possessing the deepest spiritual intellects. It certainly draws out the wanna-be orthodox police! My favorite hymns are even under scrutiny. As a music minister, that troubles me that our church walls have been filled with vanity of traditional methods in creed, song, and practice. The fruit painfully speaks for itself. Noone can escape that fact.

I have witnessed Dr. Houck, and several others being labeled as heretics, charlatans, false prophets, and the like. Someone has to be the messenger. Father chose him for this book. The topic is not about glorifying or debasing an author, but to share a research that has examined defects and infections in our most treasured church settings. It is quite humiliating to learn that our generational practices are contaminated with the vilest motives, by the most horrendous, despicable characters such as Constantine. Critical spirits usually show their cards of error, sooner or later, and reveal a deep religious spirit, often unknown by its host. Those in opposition often misquote the author, saying they've read the book, yet show strong signs of hypocrisy and immaturity regarding substantiation. Their accusations have proven clearly to be "in the flesh", for this information challenges every fiber of one's belief system, raising, and knowledge of spiritual foundation. They easily play upon the believer's familiar religious disposition. "Surely this can't be true!" is often the heart cry of many who encounter the moment of revelation. My own mother issues a worthy statement, "If all of this is true, surely the Lord would have shown me or someone before now!" Are we that pompous to think God owes us anything? Yes, the Western mind definitely suffers such error. The one cry I cling to is the same I started with - "Spirit of God, reveal your Truth, and Your Truth ALONE." Let God be true, and every man a liar! Or is that too harsh for our human pride? Would we as Believers, Christians, Jews, Messianics elevate our own intellect and understanding above the Most High? And where did that get Lucifer? Herein lies the true basis of deception within our own camp. When reading this book, I encourage all to stop and breathe, make your requests known to your ABBA! Ask Him to show you. Just follow Scripture and be willing to receive what the Spirit gives. There are plenty of false prophets out there. We are to test them and evaluate their fruit. A religious spirit will show up quickly and present a huge rebuttal out of arrogance, defiance, resistance, and blatant rebellion. Follow the teachings of Scripture to TEST the spirit, look at the fruit, ask for the Spirit's guidance, for you will need it! If the fruit is not love as Yeshua (Jesus) taught, then what does that tell you? Those who are seekers of Truth, will be relentless and pursue the path till the Spirit of YHWH bear witness of it. They will not give in or give up till the dust settles and Heaven has clarified. They will press in as Jacob. But this total reliance upon Him violates our flesh.

Therefore, know that this book shall contest and raise a holy dispute within you where the Spirit resides. It shall defy your flesh, crush your religion, send running any shallow claims of piety, education, man-made order, and even shutdown cynicism. It is the very work of the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds and lead us in the way everlasting. Once the origin and purpose of religion is exposed, those things built upon its foundation start to crumble before your eyes. Why on earth after being shown a faulty, demonic origin would one want to continue in such observances? Could it be that our Father, in His eternal Sovereign plan, has a desire and purpose to reveal our very best as filthy rags? Have we truly worshipped Him, not knowing Him, not knowing our own identity in Him? Have we in our religious practices embraced the very pagan heresy of Babylon to which some accuse this author? A question only Elohim is capable of answering, and bringing illumination to our spirits. Unless His Spirit reveal truth, we are so very lost and without victory. EPIDEMIC is just a start, a piece of the puzzle our Creator is so graciously bringing to light here in the last days. May He bless His work, and lead us to walk with Him and learn his ways. May the deception of Satan be exposed for attacking man's identity and the very salvation the Author of our faith came to bring! He has thwarted a great deal, but his plan is unraveling! If you start experiencing a deeper love for God, His land, His people, and Israel, you are being called out. If you desire to learn what God meant by "COME OUT of her", He is calling you to Himself. This book will help facilitate what the Spirit of God desires for His kids. Shalom aleichem. Baruch Hashem.
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18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Heretical Pseudohistory Lacking Any Documentation -- Avoid this Book, December 2, 2013
By 
Cris (RALEIGH, NC, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
Throughout history, cults have fed off of the periphery of Christianity. Because a large part of evangelicalism is now preaching a seeker sensitive message, those hungry for real biblical truth and depth are easy prey for pseudo-scholars writing revisionist history like Russ Houck. The book under review, Epidemic: Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity belongs to the genre of Pseudo-history.

"It purports to be history, and uses ostensibly-scholarly methods and techniques (which in fact depart from standard historiographical conventions), but is inconsistent with established facts and/or with common sense. It often involving sensational claims whose acceptance would significantly require rewriting accepted history."[1]

Lacking footnotes and substantive documentation, Epidemic is a poorly researched book that will appeal largely to marginalized members of society. However, that is what makes it so very dangerous. Houck makes a seductive appeal from emotion and incredulity that depends on the reader's historical and theological ignorance. The charge of Pseudohistory will be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in this essay.

Houck makes radical unsubstantiated claims without any evidence. For example, he claims that Constantine completely corrupted the New Testament and infected Christianity. If what Houck writes it true, then one cannot trust anything in the New Testament to be genuine, not even the great commission. When a passage like Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28:19) disagrees with his Anti-trinitarianism, Houck constructs a conspiracy theory to dismiss the passage. Because the book is over four hundred pages of pseudo-history and conspiracy theory; for the purpose of this review only four major points are examined.

He claims 1) the trinity is a pagan doctrine inserted by Constantine; 2) Constantine added Matthew 28:19; 3) The earliest MS of the NT do not contain Matt 28:19 the Great Commission. 4) The original NT was all in Hebrew or Aramaic- Constantine changed it to Greek. After these four point are shown to be false two major heresies will be shown, denial of the Holy Spirit and Arianism (the belief that Jesus was birthed from the Father).

For Houck to make a case he needs to show some relationship between paganism and trinitarianism but he has not done so. There is no deity in Greco-Roman paganism who is one in essence and three in person. He does not show a single source document from paganism with the concept of trinity. In fact, a central argument used by real theologians is the Trinity's absolute uniqueness amongst world religions. Millard Erickson writes in his Christian Theology, "In the doctrine of the Trinity, we encounter one of the truly distinctive doctrines of Christianity. Among the religions of the world, the Christian faith is unique in making the claim that God is one and yet there are three who are God."[2] Although the internet is full of sources citing Alexander Hyslop's long discredited book The Two Babylon's, archeologists have uncovered a wealth of information about ancient Babylon. No one has ever substantiated Hyslop's claims with actual citations from Babylonian literature because they do not exist.

The doctrine of the Trinity is based on three foundational biblical truths: 1) monotheism 2) three divine persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, 3) the three divine persons are co-equal and co-eternal. It contains no inherent contradiction. The law of non-contradiction states that something cannot be true and not true at the same time in the same way. If one said, "one in person and 3 in person" then it would be a contradiction. There is no logical contradiction with "one in essence but 3 in person." For an in-depth defense of the trinity refer to my website here. But Houck's claim that Constantine initiated this is easily refuted by the early church Fathers.
Early Church Father's Disprove Houck

The Martyrdom of Polycarp is an ancient account of Polycarp's (a disciple of the apostle John) death. It reports that Polycarp used the Triune Name in a prayer. He said, "I bless You, I glorify You, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, with whom, to You, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages."[3] Also, Ignatius lived in the first century, the time of apostles. The second chapter of his "Epistle to the Philippians" reads "He sent forth the apostles to make disciples of all nations, commanded them to "baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."[4] A direct quote of Matthew 28:19. But it gets very specific with Tertullian.

Tertullian, a century before Constantine, writes in On Baptism, "sealed in (the name of) the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,"[5] citing Matthew 28:19 directly. In the statement of the Trinity, Tertullian (160-225) was a forerunner of the Nicene doctrine of the trinity. Tertullian wrote in Against Praxeus ch. 12: "If the number of the Trinity also offends you, as if it were not connected in the simple Unity, I ask you how it is possible for a Being who is merely and absolutely One and Singular, to speak in plural phrase, saying, "Let us make man in our own image, and after our own likeness; "[6] Furthermore, Tertullian wrote in Against Praxeus chapter 25: "Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are, one essence, not one Person, as it is said, "I and my Father are One,"[7] Here the term Trinity is explained as three persons in one essence over one hundred years before Constantine. How could Houck miss such and obvious problem for his thesis?

The citations form Ante-nicean (pre- AD 325) church Fathers thoroughly discredit Houck's claim that Constantine corrupted the great commission. The earliest New Testament manuscripts do as well.
Early Manuscripts Disprove Houck

Houck says Matt 28:19 does not exist in any MS dated earlier than the Byzantine text of Constantine (AD 325). (p. 212) Constantine did not commission any Bibles at the council of Nicea itself. He did commission fifty Bibles in AD 331 for use in the churches of Constantinople, itself still a new city. No historical evidence points to involvement on his part in selecting or omitting books for inclusion in commissioned Bibles. And there is NO historical evidence he changed the text. Houck claims he di and even claims Constantine was responsible for changing the language to Greek - but we have 100s of Greek MS dating before Constantine! Our two oldest extant Bibles are Greek and contain Matt 28:19. New Testament scholars Kurt Aland, Bruce M. Metzger, Bart D. Ehrman doubt that the two oldest extant codexs: Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were copied by Eusebius on the Constantine order. They reflect the Alexandrian text type rather than the Byzantine:

The suggestion has been made by several scholars that the two oldest parchment manuscripts of the Bible that are in existence today, namely Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus may have been among those ordered by Constantine. ... There are, however, one or two indications that point to Egypt as the place of origin of Codex Vaticanus, and the type of text found in both codices is unlike that used by Eusebius.[8] (Houck cites this book by Metzger approvingly on page 226)

Codex Sinaiticus is an early fourth century Alexandrian MS and it absolutely contains the nomina sacra:

19 Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."[9]

Vaticanus is also available for examination online[10] and it certainly contains the Trinitarian formula.

By Constantine's time there were thousands of copies but not a single MS has been found that lacks the Trinitarian formula and, worse yet, not a single church father complained about the addition. We have elaborate transcripts of debates, counsels and disputes over every major doctrine, especially the trinity--yet Houck cannot produce one single reference concerning Matthew 28:19 to back up assertion. However, there are citations in early church documents in favor of its authenticity.
Didache Disproves Houck

Houck draws great significance from the lack of a specific triniatrian formula in the baptismal texts in Acts but NT scholars are in agreement that Acts presents condensed summaries and none of these descriptions were intended to be strict formulas for use in baptism. The early summary of apostolic doctrine, the Didache 7:1-4; 9:5, uses both formulas interchangeably.

7. But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living (running) water. [11]

9: But let no one eat or drink of this eucharistic thanksgiving, but they that have been baptized into the name of the Lord;

On page 152 Houck claims the Didache is a gnostic document but NT scholars and historians do not believe Gnosticism yet existed when it was composed. Houck is grossly misinformed, seeming to believe that Gnosticism dates back before Christ. No historian agrees with him; most scholars place the origins of Gnosticism in the late second century AD.[12] On the Didache, Patristics scholar, J. Tixeront, in the Handbook of Patrology writes:

The dates fixed upon by critics for the composition of the Didache fall between the years 50 and 160. The work was probably composed between 80 and 110. The basis for such a conclusion is the fact that the liturgy and hierarchy which the author describes, are quite primitive; there is no trace in the work of a creed or a canon of the Scriptures, and no allusion is made to pagan persecution or Gnosticism. [13]

Yet Houck is brazen enough to claim it is a gnostic work without substantive argument or evidence. But elsewhere, passages like John 15:25 where Jesus states, "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me" testify to the likelihood that Trinitarianism has its roots in the teaching of Jesus Himself and argues for the historical probability of the saying in Matthew 28:19.

Even more, the apostle Paul implies the Trinitarian formula in his benediction: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.(2 Co 13:14) and so does Peter: "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you."(1 Pe 1:2) Did Constantine alter these books as well?
Greek NT Pre-existed Constantine by Centuries

Houck would have us believe the original language of the NT was not Greek, but rather Hebrew. He calls it a papal deception, writing, "Contrary to popular scholarly opinion, I believe there is substantial evidence that the original NT were written in Hebrew and Aramaic with the possible exception of the epistle to the Phillipians."[14] But the only evidence he cites pertains to Matthew's gospel - which is hardly controversial. How does he justify the leap from Matthew to the entire New Testament?

He doesn't.

Houck fails to substantiate his claims that any of Paul's epistles were not originally in Greek.

Luke who wrote Luke/Acts was a gentile. In Acts 21:40 Luke mentions that Paul addressed them in the Hebrew language - making a distinction. Again in Acts 22:2 he makes the distinction: "And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet..."(Ac 22:2) The distinction only makes sense in light of the normal language being Koine Greek the commonly used language.

The book of Revelation makes a similar distinction: "They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.(Re 9:11) AND "And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.(Re 16:16) If the original language was Hebrew this would not be necessary.

So I ask, how can Mr. Houck make such radical claims that disagree with the author's own words? Here is a useful chart showing some of the most important examples. How can he explain away the hundreds of Greek manuscripts that predate Constantine? He doesn't bother.

Historians are well aware that by the first century even most Rabbis used the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament because Hebrew fluency was so poor.

Alexander the Great conquered the known world and Greek became the common language for most people. In Egypt, under Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 b.c.) the Old Testament was translated into Greek. The appearance of this translation indicated that Jewish residents in Egypt were becoming more proficient in the use of Greek than in the use of their native Hebrew. Jewish tradition taught that this translation was the work of seventy-two Jewish scholars. The translation, known as the Septuagint, is commonly designated by the Roman numerals LXX, since seventy is the nearest round number to seventy-two.

Writers of the New Testament frequently used the Septuagint whenever they quoted the Old Testament. In the time of Christ it was used as a standard text, even by the rabbis. The early Church Fathers also drew upon it. Thus a knowledge of the Septuagint is helpful for all students of Scripture.[15]

Houck needs to explain why most of the NT quotations of the OT are from the Greek version, not the Hebrew, "OT scholar Gleason Archer lists 340 places where the New Testament cites the Septuagint but only 33 places where it cites from the Masoretic Text rather than the Septuagint."[16]

An example where the Greek gospels quote the Septuagint is Matthew: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us)."(Mt 1:23, ESV)

LXX: Because of this, the Lord himself will give you a sign: Look, the virgin (παρθένος) will become pregnant⌋ and will bear a son, and you will call his name Immanuel[17]

.39 παρθένοςa, ου f: a female person beyond puberty but not yet married and a virgin (though in some contexts virginity is not a focal component of meaning)--`virgin, young woman.' ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει `a virgin will conceive' Mt 1:23.[18]

Masoretic: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman (almah) is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.(Is 7:14)

Because almah is not necessarily a virgin, the LXX version is a very important evidence for the virgin birth not supported by the Hebrew version. Houck's thesis undermines the best evidence for the virgin birth.

Another example that shows decisively the Greek LXX was used because the words do not appear at all in the Masoretic.

Hebrews: "And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."(Heb 1:6, ESV)

LXX: "Delight, O heavens, with him and worship him, you sons of God. Delight, O nations, with his people and prevail with him, all you angels of God. For he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will avenge and he will repay the enemies with vengeance, and he will repay those who hate, and the Lord will cleanse out the land of his people.' "(Dt 32:43, LES)

But the Masoretic Hebrew text does not contain the reference to angels at all!

Masoretic: "Call for songs of joy, O nations, concerning his people, for the blood of his servants he will avenge, and he will take reprisals against his foes, and he will make atonement for his land, his people."(Dt 32:43, LEB)

Not only was Greek the language of the NT it was the language for OT as well. Houck is grossly uninformed.
Argument Against the Holy Spirit Fails

His main argument against the personhood of the Holy Spirit is as follows:

1) Jesus is described as "the only begotten of the Father" (Jn 1:14, KJV)

2) Matthew 1:18 seemingly gives the Holy Spirit the role of impregnating Mary. "...she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."( Mt 1:18)

3) If the Holy Spirit is person then Jesus cannot be begotten of the Father but rather the Spirit.

Therefore, "one God in three persons" must be false.

This presumes the Father Son relationship is based on something as mundane as biological procreation and is very close to the Mormon belief that the father physically had sex with Mary. Jesus' incarnation was a miracle - it was a virgin birth--the Holy Spirit's personal role would not make him Jesus' father, the whole line of reasoning is flawed.

Houck's misunderstanding is due to surface reading of an English translation (and apparently he only checked the KJV). The words "only begotten" comes from the Greek word monogenēs, properly means "one of a kind, unique." It does not imply sexual procreation as Houck believes: For example, Hebrews 11:17 uses the same word: "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only-monogenes- son,"(Heb 11:17) But we all know that Abraham did have another son, Ishmael, and later sons by Keturah, but Isaac was a unique son in that he was a son born as the result of certain promises made by God. Accordingly, he could be called a μονογενής son, since he was the only one of his kind. John 1:14 is more properly rendered "the only Son from the Father." Modern translations have clarified and corrected the English for greater accuracy. He could have checked the ESV and seen a more accurate rendering: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.(Jn 1:14).

Psalm 2 reveals the Father Son relationship existed before the incarnation; "I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you.(Ps 2:7) when we turn to Acts 13 we see that the term "begotten" refers to the resurrection not physical birth! "this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, " `You are my Son, today I have begotten you.''(Ac 13:33)

The Father and Son status is eternal (John 1:1-3). Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever." God Himself spoke of the Son in Hebrews 1:8 and says, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever." Jesus has existed eternally; there never was a time when he was not. His argument against the Holy Spirit fails but his misunderstanding of "begotten" has led him into another grave theological error: Arianism.
Houck is an Arian

A theological dictionary defines Arianism as:

Arianism, Arius. An early heretical teaching about the identity of Jesus Christ. Arianism was founded primarily on the teachings of Arius (d. 335/336). The central characteristic of Arian thought was that because God is one, Jesus could not have also been truly God. In order to deal with the scriptural testimony to the exalted status of Christ, Arius and his followers proposed that Jesus was the highest created being of God. So although Christ was fully human, he was not fully God. Arius's teaching was condemned as heretical at the First Ecumenical Council (Nicaea) in A.D. 325.[19]

Although he will deny it, Houck is an Arian because he believes that the Son is not eternal but was rather birthed out of the Father. He asserts that sometime prior to the creation Jesus did not exist and "came forth from God."[20] Houck writes that, "the Son was birthed out of the plural Father eons before Mary was born, and before the world was created. Furthermore, He was not created out of anything (or out of nothing) as other celestial beings. He was the only one birthed out of the Father."[21] He knows Arianism is a serious heresy so he tries to have his cake and eat it too. But it is inescapable that Houck believes in a created Christ. If Jesus is not eternal, he is not fully God. The law of excluded middle applies. If there was ever a time, nor matter how many eons past that he did not exist, he is a created being by definition. How can someone who claims to have a PhD in theology make such obvious errors? The answer is not surprising.
Houck is Unqualified

All of his claimed degrees in biblical studies and theology are from unaccredited internet schools. Even his undergraduate degree is from a school with phony accreditation. He lists a BA in Theology from the School of Bible Theology in San Jacinto, California. What is interesting is that the president of this school is Stephen T. Anderson (see this at [...]), and in his bio, it says that "Dr. Steve also serves as President of the Transworld Accrediting Commission Int'l" He is the president of the accrediting association that accredits the school of which he is also the president. Most would see that as a conflict of interest, to say the least. With such dubious undergraduate training as a foundation,Houck then claims to have a Masters in Eschatology from Homestead College of Bible and Graduate School in Orlando, Florida that lists no accreditation. Finally, he claims a PhD in Theology from the same unaccredited internet correspondence school. These are not legitimate credentials by any stretch of the imagination. He prominently displays his phony PhD on his Amazon page as "Dr. Russ Houck PhD" a redundant practice not employed by legitimate scholars. While it does not speak directly to the truth of his claims, it suggests reasonable doubt concerning the character and credibility of someone challenging the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Houck and his following have every indicator of new cult along the lines of the Jehovah's Witnesses, their theology is remarkably similar. One would be wise to steer clear of Houck and those who promote this book. It has all the ear-marks of a new anti-Trinitarian cult.

[1] Pseudohistory [...]
[2] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology., 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 347.

[3] Chapter 14. The prayer of Polycarp, [...]

[4] Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle of Ignatius to the Philippians Chapter II.--Unity of the three divine persons. [...]

[5] Tertullian, On Baptism Chapter VI.--The Angel the Forerunner of the Holy Spirit. Meaning Contained in the Baptismal Formula. [...]

[6] The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III : Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997), 606.

[7]Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson and A. Cleveland Coxe, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III : Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997), 621.

[8] Metzger, Bruce M.; Ehrman, Bart D. (2005). The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (in English) (4th ed.). New York - Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 15-16. [...]

[9]Codex Sinaiticus [...]

[10] Codex Vaticanus, [...]

[11] Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 232.

[12] scholars prefer to speak of "gnosis" when referring to 1st-century ideas that later developed into gnosticism and to reserve the term "gnosticism" for the synthesis of these ideas into a coherent movement in the 2nd century.

[13] J. Tixeront, A Handbook of Patrology [...]
[14] Epidemic, 208.

[15] Thomas D. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 15-16.

[16] G. Archer and G. C. Chirichigno, Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament: A Complete Survey, 25-32.

[17]Rick Brannan et al., eds., The Lexham English Septuagint (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012), Is 7:14.

[18]Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 108.

[19] Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 15.

[20] Epidemic, 382.

[21] Codex Vaticanus
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warning! Truth Demands Change, February 7, 2014
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This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
EPIDEMIC is informative and thought provoking. Both Christians and Jews will be compelled to examine the very foundations of their faith in the light of truths revealed in this book. If you're comfortable with your religion then this book is not for you. But if you desire to be challenged and grow in your faith then you will find EPIDEMIC most enlightening.

I didn't give the book five stars only because I didn't agree with 100% of the authors views.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, January 3, 2014
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This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
The book is a very good read. Russ points out the things that are plain in the scripture in a fresh way making the once complicated issues very easy to understand.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!, September 30, 2013
This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
First let me say only the LORD and HIS word are always 100% accurate 100% of the time ...and only scripture gets a 5 star rating in my mind. That being said this book is a 4.75 out of 5. You may disagree with Mr Houck, and some of his conclusions, however I found this to be a fascinating and fun book to read and study. I promise He will step on your religion and offend your religious sensiblities and long held traditions. He may even challenge some long held pet doctrines.Hopefully provoking you to dig deeper and ask yourself some tough questions of why you believe what you do about your faith. This book is a must read for every truth seeking sincere Jew, Christian & unbeliever alike. However if the plain truth of scripture & the history of the origins of many religious traditions of Judaism & Christianity offends your senses.... then by all means DO NOT buy this book! However if you seek a closer walk of faith, and a better understanding of how and why both Judaism and Christianity are so far from the biblical standard of the LORDS plan and purposes for mankind...then by all means buy more than 1 copy...because your gonna wanna share this with your friends and family. A bit of advice;once you loan it out it will not come back anytime soon! Trust me I bought 4 copies and they are all out on loan, and have been for some time now.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling book!, September 10, 2013
This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
Having completed reading this book from cover to cover, I am at once both saddened and encouraged. Saddened because of the many years in which the lies and practices of religion have occupied and conformed my thinking. Encouraged because for once, again, someone has been willing to cut through all of the theological parading and cut to the Scriptures intent.

One can be forgiven if in reading this book they find themselves bewildered, particularly those who have a history of practicing religion of whatever stripe! Bewilderment comes from the careful, scriptural way in which Houck lays out his arguments. He does not come across as being know-it-all, or wishing to destroy one's faith, but rather seeks genuinely to point us to the truth through the dark lens which we all see through into things eternal and spiritual. One's bewilderment surfaces when the reader realizes that almost everything that they have believed and currently believe is subject to the scrutiny of Scripture in ways we never took the time to examine ourselves. That is more a reflection on our lassitude than on the one perpetrating their theological program - different for each denomination!

In summary, Houck has done an admirable job of taking what has become untouchable doctrinal and theological stances and placed them on the block for re-consideration. In so doing, the reader is left with the task of either throwing out the author's premise or taking time to re-affirm his conclusions and thus face the needed repentance and redirection in life.

Recommended to all who seek genuine, sincere worship of the Father through His Son and by His Spirit.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth the read, December 2, 2013
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This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
This was a very good book worth the read especially if you feel "caught" somewhere in between Christianity and Messianic Judaism. Naturally though with some of his own beliefs I am not in total agreement with.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting perspective, October 22, 2012
By 
Laura Duncan (WALLER, TX, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
It's definitely thought provoking, which is good, but I didn't like the book layout, with his "cures". Still, I appreciated his stance on Sabbath. I do think it's just as relevant as any of the other 9 commandments, and yet we pretend it has no meaning. I was glad he explained HOW it came about that we began to dishonor the day God set aside at Creation to honor Him. I do believe we need to return to truth, God's Truth, not man's religious traditions. I didn't agree with him that Jesus is not yet Christ (tho he says He will be). I read it a while ago, so those are the main things that stand out to my memory.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EPIDEMIC, November 30, 2013
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This review is from: EPIDEMIC Examining the Infected Roots of Judaism and Christianity: How do we find God with all this mess? (Volume 1) (Paperback)
Again, there is a later Edition out.......no mention of this being the first Edition - disappointing. I would have PREFERRED the latest Edition.
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