Latest pronouncement by John Piper: It Takes a Village to Remain Eternally Secure; John Piper’s Latest

(Source: desiringGod website, 9/15/2012: John Piper, article, “Eternal Security is a Community Project.”)

In his recent sermon, “Eternal Security Is a Community Project,” John Piper declares that our eternal security is not based solely upon the finished work of Christ at Calvary (we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone—Ephesians 2:8-9); rather, Piper indicates that a person must keep his or her faith in Christ secure through perseverance: an unbiblical program of doing good works in order to prove and/or maintain salvation—the “P” of the Calvinist acronym “TULIP.” The proper Biblical designation of the letter “P” is PRESERVATION—that is, God does the saving and God does the keeping (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:38-39; 1 John 5:13). But, Piper takes things even a step farther than the standard erroneous Calvinist approach. He adds another qualification to maintaining one’s eternal security. I call it, “The ‘It Takes a Village’ Pathway to Eternal Security.” Listen to the following brief excerpts from John Piper’s sermon (source cited above):

“The doctrine we are talking about today goes by different names and has an urgent and practical application to our life together. Some call it the doctrine of eternal security. And Some call it the doctrine of perseverance. And the practical application is that, whichever you call it, the process is a community project. That is, you and I are essential in helping each other persevere to the end in faith, and not make shipwreck of our souls. Or, as the title of the message says, ‘Eternal Security Is a Community Project’.”

“So point #2 is that one of the essential means of not becoming hardened — the protection against an evil heart of unbelief — is the other believers around you speaking faith-sustaining words into your life. Your family, your friends, your shepherd group. ‘Exhort one another every day.’ That is, speak words of faith-sustaining truth into each other’s lives.”

“So the second point of this theology of perseverance is that God has designed his church so that its members endure to the end in faith by means of giving and receiving faith-sustaining words from each other. You and I are the instruments by which God preserves the faith of his children. Perseverance is a community project. Just like God is not going to evangelize the world without human, faith-awakening voices, neither is he going to preserve his church without human faith-sustaining voices. And clearly from the words, ‘exhort one another’ (verse 13), it means all of us, not just preachers. We depend on each other to endure in faith to the end.”

“Perseverance is the evidence of being born again in Christ, not the means to it. Or to put the same point negatively: If you don’t hold your confidence in Christ to the end, what would it show? It would show that you ‘had not come to share in Christ.’ So the negative of verse 14 would read, We have not come to share in Christ, if indeed we do not hold our original confidence firm to the end’. So you see what this implies about eternal security? It says: if you have come to share in Christ — that is, if you are born again, if you are truly converted, if you are justified and forgiven through saving faith — you cannot fail to persevere. You will hold your confidence in Christ to the end.”
[Comment: Piper declares the standard flawed unbiblical line of—works to preserve and prove salvation—lordship faith teaching]

121 responses to “Latest pronouncement by John Piper: It Takes a Village to Remain Eternally Secure; John Piper’s Latest

  1. Piper wrote: “Perseverance is the evidence of being born again in Christ, not the means to it.”

    This is such a tiring line of reasoning Piper is using. And it’s everywhere. They don’t want to appear catholic, so, they backload things that way. I’m in a discussion on another board about this same concept where they are arguing the “number of works that prove true faith”. Unbelievable. And not coincidentally, the “number of works that prove true faith” is a doctrine supported by catholics, protestants, and orthodox. They all agree on it. It’s a gem for the ecumenical movement.

    Piper also wrote: “other believers around you speaking faith-sustaining words into your life”

    That almost sounds like the word-faith movement, where you get what you speak, as they believe. Even if Piper didn’t mean to go there, he went there.

  2. Thanks Abe,

    Excellent insightful comments!

    It is interesting that I had the exact same reaction as you about Piper’s quote referring to “speaking faith-sustaining words” sounding like the word-faith movement.

    .

  3. Thanks Bruce,

    Excellent article, well done. It proves that the Lordship “salvationist”/Calvinist cabal slithers ever forward. And the sad part is that folks are falling for Piper’s syrupy words without questioning.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  4. Abe,
    Wonderful observations about Piper and the lies of LS/Calvinism.. Thanks.

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  5. Morning Bruce. Thanks for being on the alert to yet another example of spin coming from the religious front.

    “It takes a village…” Great observation; this claim ties in very well with liberal politics.

    Abe, I paused on the exact same phrase and thought the same thing! You beat me to it… ;-) I hope you are able to persuade folks on the board at which you’re defending the faith. I know debates can be downright vicious.

  6. Unbelievable. It just keeps getting more ridiculous.

  7. Amen! I so agree with this article and all the above comments! My first thought is these men are trying to put people back under Roman Catholicism. Or maybe they just never left it.

  8. Like minds! I had the same Word of Faith take, too!

  9. Hi my name is Richard from California, and was able to get out of Calvinism and lordship salvation through this blog. Thank you. However, with regards to this post, Is it possible that Piper is using the word ‘perseverance’ to refer not to how many works prove salvation, but instead to continual belief in Christ as Savior? If so, then eternal security does not depend on continual belief but on a genuine belief at one point in time in one’s life. Is this correct?

    However, since salvation only requires belief, and if one ceases to believe in Christ as one’s Savior, then he has not fulfilled that only requirement for salvation which is belief. What would be the case for one who initially and genuinely believed in Christ as his Savior, then later in life completely rejected Christianity to be true and believes in another god to save him? Is he saved? What if one hates Christ and doesn’t believe in Him and doesn’t want to go to heaven? Will he be dragged to heaven on the day of rapture?One can argue that salvation is by definition eternal, and is applied the moment one believes. However, that eternal salvation STILL requires belief in Christ as Savior just as the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John teach. I cringe for anyone who has believed but then ceased to believe completely and went to a different religion, because despite all the arguments, it’s still safest to believe.

  10. Hi again,

    I understand many use John 6:37-45, to defend that the Father will not lose any that was given, and no man can pluck them out of His hand, etc. However, those that will not be lost are those who believe. I suppose the hard question to answer would be, what about someone who believes then doesn’t believes and continues to shift his stance? Does this mean he is saved then unsaved then saved then unsaved, etc? God’s promise is that anyone who believes is secure. Someone who used to believe isn’t one that believes presently. Salvation is a free gift for those that accept it through faith in Christ, but how about for those who accepted it then rejected it, and ceased to believe? Eternal life is a gift of God, but one can still reject it even though he had accepted it in the past.

    -Richard

  11. Richard,

    Thanks for visiting and your comment.

    Please understand that not only does God give every believer ETERNAL Life but these verses also apply:

    Ephesians 1:13
    In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

    Ephesians 4:30
    And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

    Be assured, God does not break his promise of ETERNAL life nor his Seal upon believers.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  12. Richard,

    You said, “One can argue that salvation is by definition eternal, and is applied the moment one believes. However, that eternal salvation STILL requires belief in Christ as Savior just as the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John teach. ” To answer this I guess you’d have to elaborate on what you are saying that the gospels teach.

    Part of the error that guys like Piper spread is the idea of this supposed “continual faith” that must be maintained. He speaks of it in the sense of perseverance. Calvinists will say that God enables and ensures that a believer keeps believing. Piper even goes to the extreme of this talk about the church helping one persevere. The problem is that this Calvinistic idea of perseverance is not found in the Bible. Neither is Arminianism, which seems to be what you are describing when you refer to people going back and forth from belief to unbelief.

    Jack is correct in his post above that “…God does not break his promise of ETERNAL life nor his Seal upon believers.” That seal is Christ’s blood and it covers even our future sins.

  13. Hi Pearl,

    Great to hear from you and thanks for the great comments. Interesting thought that you brought up. Are there any parallels between liberal politics and politicians and liberal “Christianity?” I’m sure that we could come up with many.

    Hope you are well!

    .

  14. Richard, once a person believes, he is re-generated and sealed with the Holy Spirit for redemption. If he could lose his eternal life, then it really wouldn’t be eternal. And, God would never send the Holy Spirit to hell.

    I recommend two things for you to read. The first is an article called “Must Faith Endure for Salvation to Be Sure” by Tom Stegall. I am providing a link to part 9, below.

    The second is “The Permanence of Salvation” by Tom Cucuzza, also linked below.

    http://duluthbible.org/files/Publications/Grace%20Family%20Journal/GFJ%202003%20PDF/GFJ%202003%2004%20Fall/GFJ%202003%2004%20MusF%20aith%20Endure%2009%20Stegall.pdf

    http://expreacherman.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/cucuzza-the-permanence-of-salvation.pdf

  15. “Perseverance is the evidence of being born again in Christ, not the means to it.” I’m sorry but Dr. Piper is wrong. All evidence needed to secure me eternally was given by the Son of God himself. The required evidence has already been presented. The question is “Do you believe this”? Obviously John Piper does not. Calvinists are deeply confused about what is at stake in perseverance. I believe perseverance is extremely important, because it determines my reward, function, and level of honor in the kingdom. My residence in the kingdom, however, is unrelated to my achieving some level of perseverance. The fact that I will be in His kingdom is a settled issue, a finished work.

  16. Good points Bill. I’m glad that you joined us here today. Please come back soon.

  17. Amen Bill, you are totally right.

    “All evidence needed to secure me eternally was given by the Son of God himself. The required evidence has already been presented. The question is “Do you believe this”?”

    I would love for more people to understand this.

  18. In my day-to-day conversations with people regarding faith, I face more skepticism toward the concept of salvation by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone from other “believers” than I do from non-believers.

    So-called “Christian leaders” are everywhere denying the Gospel message with their add-ons. Even ministries that claim to teach that salvation is an unmerited Gift often betray their real belief in salvation by works with back-door perseverance teachings.

    If Noah walked among us today, he would be competing against other ark builders, who would consider him a nut for building an ark with only one door.

  19. Thanks Jim and John. Very helpful appropriate comments.

    I’ve never heard the line about Noah, John, but it’s a good one. I’ll salt it away in my speaker’s file.

    Blessings brothers!

  20. John,

    I laughed out loud at your “Ark with only one door” comment.. and then realized once more how true, sad and tragic that religions complicate and add to the simple Grace Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  21. Interesting blog here. I need some clarification, though. In your blog posts, you mention that salvation is by grace alone and not by works of our own yet you say that people must make a decision to trust in Christ so then isn’t it also a work to make the decision to trust in Christ? They are doing something (a work) in order to gain salvation/forgiveness. Is that how I’m understanding it?

  22. Kimita,

    Welcome to our discussion.

    To make a decision to believe in Jesus Christ alone as Savior is not a work. The theory of Calvinism falsely teaches such but Jesus Himself asked everyone to believe, illustrated in this one verse of many:

    John 3:18
    “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

    You have a choice, believe and live or not believe and be condemned. Your decision.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  23. Kimita,

    One more quick thought and question.

    What is your theory abut how one becomes a believer in Jesus Christ without making a decision to Believe in Jesus Christ?

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  24. Thanks for replying! I think the semantics of the phrase, “make a decision,” is what is confusing since Biblically we are not told to “make a decision” but to believe. My theory on salvation (and it’s not exactly a theory since it’s based on Scripture which is the truth), is based upon Romans 10:9-13–>

    “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    However, I also know that the Lord draws us to Himself (John 6:44) so there is spiritual work being done that is not of ourselves prior to our salvation since salvation belongs to the Lord. Before conversion, we were dead in our sins and the Lord made us alive together with Him (Colossians 2:13-14). A spiritually dead person can do nothing for himself (as is true in a physical state) BUT as the Lord is working through His word (whether spoken through evangelism, congregations, missionaries, or the word is read by the person), we believe in the Lord and His gospel. I do realize as well that there are people who do not believe in the Lord Jesus and His gospel (this includes many of my relatives as I come from a family of unbelievers), yet as they are presented with the Word, the Holy Spirit can move in their lives so that they too can believe in the Lord at the right time.

    Thanks for the discussion!

  25. Kimita,

    Jesus Himself says in:
    John 12:32
    And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

    Jesus was lifted up and now draws ALL people to Himself. There is no excuse for one to say, “I was not drawn — or my relatives were not drawn.”

    Jesus, speaking of the future coming of The Holy Spirit said:
    John 16:8
    And when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove [convict, convince] the world [everyone] of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”

    Titus 2:11
    “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”

    Kimita, as a matter of semantics, you are right — the word “decision” is not in the KJV but logically you must realize that one who is persuaded to believe in Christ must decide to believe. As Paul, witnessing to King Agrippa, demonstrates, no one has an excuse before God — except, My decision — I refused to believe in Christ, condemning himself.

    In Acts 26:27-28 (Paul witnessing the Gospel to King Agrippa says):
    “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. [28] Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

    Verse 28 is one of the saddest verses in the Bible — where Agrippa admittedly decided NOT to believe in Christ.

    Kinita, if you believe Romans 10:9-13 are salvation verses, which they are NOT, then when you say you must “confess with your mouth” to be saved, that should be even more of a “works message” in your mind than a simple decision to trust/believe Christ.

    I would like to direct you to an article written by a dear friend, Dr. Tom Cucuzza, that may help your discernment:

    http://expreacherman.com/2012/10/09/can-calvinism-be-proven-by-a-few-partial-out-of-context-verses/

    I also direct you to two wonderful FREE PDF booklets by Dr. Cucuzza that may also help. These are: (1) Faith Without Works is Dead - What does it Mean? A detailed study of one of the most controversial passages in the Bible, and (2) The Permanence of Salvation. Twelve Reasons why Once Saved, Always Saved is True.

    Thanks again for your questions.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  26. Kimita,

    I regret that I neglected the link to the two great, Free PDF booklets mentioned above.
    It is here:

    http://www.expreacherman.com/2-free-booklets-dr-cucuzza/

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  27. Thanks for your reply and the links. I see you offered a link re: Calvinism however I do not consider myself to follow Calvinism (honestly I don’t know all of the principles of Calvinism – I simply read the Word and study it). I agree with what Paul said as recorded in 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 that we are not to say we are of such preacher/teacher and/or theology for Christ is not divided. I consider myself a follower of Christ.

    Thank you for reminding me of those verses in Acts. I did a summer-long study of the book of Acts and one of the verses that I returned to frequently as a prayer for the unbelievers I know is Acts 26:29. I realize that people can refuse to believe in Jesus Christ.

    In the Romans verses I cited, the word ‘confess’ in Greek means to say the same thing as another, agree with, declare, profess one’s self the worshipper of one. By confessing with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, I am agreeing to Him being my Lord, similar to Peter’s confession in John 6:68-69. I see how that could be similar to “making a decision” yet the word ‘confess’ is used in Scripture to indicate following the Lord and declaring Him as Lord because we believe in Him (Matt. 10:32, Luke 12:8, 1 John 2:23, 4:15).

    The word ‘saved’ in Romans 10:9 is the same word used in Matthew 1:21: “She will bear a Son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Is this referring to our initial salvation or the salvation to come (when the Lord returns)? Also, in Romans 10:10, the word ‘salvation’ is the same word used in Acts 4:12: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name (Jesus) under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

    If these Romans verses are not about salvation, what are they about?

  28. Kimita,

    I’ll take your word for it that you ” simply read the Word and study it” and are not a Calvinist.

    However, on your web site, you recommend CARM, a radical Calvinist apologetic and teaching site. You also recommend Desiring God, John Piper’s web site/ Piper is one of the prime pushers and teachers of Calvinism and Lordship “salvation” (probation) today.

    I would suggest you stick to the Bible and remove yourself from at least those two teachers. They are poison.

    Here are some suggestions from our friend and author, John:

    Following is the conclusion from an interesting article that addresses some of the points that Kimita has raised:

    From “A Free Grace Critique of Irresistible Grace” by Timothy R. Nichols:
    “The doctrine of Irresistible Grace depends heavily, if not entirely, on the doctrine of Total Inability. Total Inability cannot stand the test of Ephesians 2:1–9, which demonstrates that spiritually dead men must believe in order to be regenerated. The parable of the sower and 2 Corinthians 4 carry the argument one step further by establishing that unbelievers are constitutionally able to believe the gospel. At this point, Irresistible Grace stands on very shaky ground indeed, for if dead men are able to believe the gospel, why should saving grace be irresistible?
    Romans 1 and Acts 9 add further depth to the picture by showing that men regularly resist God’s revelation of Himself, but a man who ceases resisting can believe once he has sufficient information. John 6 contributes a picture of unbelievers who, having resisted prior revelation, are unable to come to Christ, and believers who, having responded positively to prior revelation, are brought by the Father to Christ—not because they are unable to resist, but because they do not resist.

    Thus, God places His revelation before man, and when any man ceases resisting this revelation, God grants more; ultimately, those who allow themselves to be borne along by the light God shines on their hearts are drawn, and come, to Christ. This is not by works but through the faith that comes as a result of revelation through God’s world and His Word.”

    http://chafer.nextmeta.com/files/v11n2_3a_free_grace_critique.pdf

    Lewis Sperry Chafer is also quoted by our friend John in the following:

    “A sinner, having accepted Christ as his Savior, may confess Him as a testimony; but that is far removed from the notion that to be saved one must both believe and confess Christ before men.”

    Chafer meant that we, as believers, are to witness to others. The primary medium of communication at that time was spoken communication. We now have additional media, including electronic forums such as this, with which to confess Christ. That confession is a vital part of a believer’s witness, but obtaining eternal life is not conditioned on public profession of Christ or any other work. Eternal life is a free gift (“by Grace”) conditioned on nothing other than belief in Christ (“through faith”) – plus or minus nothing.

    Check out Romans 10:14 “How then shall they call [worship or appeal unto] on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

    They hear the preacher, they believe (saved) and then worship or appeal or call upon or unto Him.

    Also, the use of the terms “save” or “salvation” in the Bible do not always refer to eternal life. Some people think that this is the case in Romans 10:9-10.

    While the reference to confessing Christ in Romans 10:9-10 may be confusing, there are so many other passages in the Bible that make the terms of salvation so crystal clear that I do not personally get hung up on that one. I don’t believe that God is looking to confuse us by placing an extra condition for eternal life in only one verse in the entire Bible, while leaving it out of so many other places.

    There are other individual verses in the Bible that, if taken out of context, might seem to say some other things which we know are inconsistent with Grace.

    I offer the following quote from Clear Gospel Campaign:

    “Rather than coming to Scripture to learn the mind of God, some unregenerate men approach Scripture determined to justify the beliefs they already hold. Some use Scripture to justify homosexuality, and others, to justify slavery. Not surprisingly therefore, those who believe that they, rather than Jesus Christ, are the Savior of their own souls, have, for centuries, sought from Scripture proof-texts to justify this conclusion.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  29. Kimita, Jack correctly reaffirmed that Romans 10:9-10 does NOT teach that one must make a public confession of Christ in order to be saved. Those that teach that a public confession of Christ is a requirement for eternal salvation are teaching a false gospel. Think about it: If one did make a public confession of Christ to secure his salvation, what would his confession be? it would have to be “I have accepted Christ plus my work of publicly confessing him as my personal Savior.”

    Consider this excerpt from “Four Reasons Not to Give an Altar Call” by Larry Moyer:

    “One might ask, “But what about Romans 10:9, 10?” There we read, “That if you confess with your month the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Space will not permit me to develop Paul’s argument throughout Romans but the context clarifies the issue. The “saved” Paul is speaking of is not salvation from damnation, but salvation from the dangers of sin in present day living. How does one escape these damaging consequences? Paul’s answer is, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness.” The words “believes unto righteousness” is a translation of the Greek word for “justified” – the same word used in Romans 5:1. There we read, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God.” Paul continues in Romans 10:9, “And with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The point is powerful. One becomes a Christian by simply trusting Christ. But to experience victory over sin, one must be willing to confess Him publicly. Confession is important, but not for justification but instead for living a victorious Christian life. Need help making such a confession? Paul exhorts them to “Call upon the name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13), a phrase that has the idea of worshipping God and invoking His assistance (cf Acts 9:13-14, 1Timothy 2:22).

    It is therefore not surprising that Paul continues in Romans 10:14-15 by saying, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’”. Note the clear distinction made between a public profession of Christ and believing in His name.

    A public confession of Christ is never in scripture made a requirement of salvation. It is indeed a requirement for victorious Christian living, as made clear in Romans 10:9, 10. ”

    Next, Romans 4:16 (NKJV) makes it clear that faith is not a work:

    “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.”

    One might quibble as to whether Abraham “decided” to believe God or simply “believed” God. Either way, Abraham had a choice in the matter. If he had disbelieved God, it would have been charged (debited) to him as unrighteousness.

    Kimita, you said: “yet the word ‘confess’ is used in Scripture to indicate following the Lord and declaring Him as Lord because we believe in Him”

    I’m not sure whether you are saying that you believe that following the Lord is required for eternal salvation. It clearly is not. Eternal salvation and following Christ are not the same thing. There are believers who do not follow Christ and non-believers who follow Christ. John 8:31-32 (NKJV) tells us that belief (unto salvation) and following Jesus (discipleship) are different:

    “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. ‘And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'”

  30. Thanks again for the reply. However, you have cited a friend and author named ‘John’ without any credible description of who this person is and/or to what he is referring. No last name, group affiliation, church membership, etc. and that does not prove to be very reputable.

    I appreciate the writings of John Piper along with other bloggers who are part of his organization, and CARM has provided me with much information about false religions (i.e. Mormonism, Islam, etc.) yet as I’ve stated I do not consider myself a Calvinist.

    I fully believe Ephesians 2 that salvation is a gift based upon the finished work of Christ on the cross, that it is nothing we can earn and nothing we can lose. For if we did nothing to earn, it how then shall we do anything to lose it? However, confessing Christ as Lord goes hand-in-hand with believing in Him. You can’t say you believe in Him and not say/declare/type/write/etc. that He is Lord. The same goes the other way – you cannot say you declare Him as Lord and not believe in Him. The same way that grace and faith go hand-in-hand in the Ephesians 2:8 verses you have mentioned above (grace working through faith.)

    We can respectfully agree to disagree because from the same quote you ended your last comment with I can easily say for you and your friends/authors as well – out-of-context Scripture can be used to justify any belief, doctrine or theology including your own. The Bible must be taken as a whole. Christ has said He will build His church upon the truth of Peter’s confession of who He is, the bedrock and the ultimate truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:13-20), from whom flow all the principles and beliefs of life. If He is Christ, Lord of all, how then shall we live? For Him and for Him only.

  31. Kimita, you probably already know this, but there is a difference between being a follower of Christ and being eternally saved.

    Eternal salvation comes by Grace through faith in Christ alone – plus or minus nothing. That includes public confession of Christ, allowing Christ to be Lord of ones life, turning from sins, etc. There are saved people who do not follow Christ and unsaved people who follow Christ.

    Jack correctly affirmed that Romans 10:9-10 do NOT teach that public confession of Christ (or any other work) are a condition of salvation. If works contributed to salvation in any way, than it would no longer be by Grace.

    Romans 10:9-10 reaffirms that one believes unto righteousness (eternal salvation) and achieves victorious Christian living and deliverance from life’s trials through confessing Christ and calling upon Him. See the following excerpt from “Four Reasons Not to Make an Altar Call” by Larry Moyer:

    “One might ask, “But what about Romans 10:9, 10?” There we read, “That if you confess with your month the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Space will not permit me to develop Paul’s argument throughout Romans but the context clarifies the issue. The “saved” Paul is speaking of is not salvation from damnation, but salvation from the dangers of sin in present day living. How does one escape these damaging consequences? Paul’s answer is, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness.” The words “believes unto righteousness” is a translation of the Greek word for “justified” – the same word used in Romans 5:1. There we read, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God.” Paul continues in Romans 10:10, “And with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The point is powerful. One becomes a Christian by simply trusting Christ. But to experience victory over sin, one must be willing to confess Him publicly. Confession is important, but not for justification but instead for living a victorious Christian life. Need help making such a confession? Paul exhorts them to “Call upon the name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13), a phrase that has the idea of worshipping God and invoking His assistance (cf Acts 9:13-14, 1Timothy 2:22).

    It is therefore not surprising that Paul continues in Romans 10:14-15 by saying, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’”. Note the clear distinction made between a public profession of Christ and believing in His name.

    A public confession of Christ is never in scripture made a requirement of salvation. It is indeed a requirement for victorious Christian living, as made clear in Romans 10:9, 10.”

    [Editor’s note: John is a well-respected Free Grace blogger. He is a frequent and regular commenter as well as article writer at this web site]

  32. Kamita,

    Regarding the issue of lordship, I refer you to GraceLife Ministries, Dr. Charlie Bing, GraceNotes #41:

    “The Lordship of Jesus Christ,” no. 41 – Dr. Charlie Bing

    .

    Dr. Charlie Bing: “Jesus is Lord. No one who believes the Bible denies that. But what does that mean and how does Christ’s lordship apply to our salvation and our Christian life?

    The Meaning of Lord

    The word usually translated Lord in the New Testament is the Greek word Kyrios. It is sometimes used as a title of respect, much as we would call someone sir. We see this in Acts 16:30 when the Philippian jailor addresses Paul and Silas as “Sirs” (the plural, kyrioi). Lord is also commonly used as a title with the name Jesus Christ. As a title, it not only shows respect, but also reflects who Jesus is. He is the Lord. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into the Greek Septuagint, the Hebrew name for God, YHWH, was usually translated Kyrios, or Lord. YHWH conveyed first of all deity, but implied all the other aspects unique to deity such as Creator, Owner, Ruler, Judge, Redeemer, and Savior.

    The Lordship of Christ in Salvation

    The Lordship, or deity of Jesus Christ, is essential to our salvation. Consider some of the things that Jesus did for our salvation only because He is the Lord God:
    He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins, without spot or blemish.
    He gave His life as a sacrifice for all mankind—past, present, and future.
    He rose from the dead to live and offer us eternal life.
    He promises, provides, and secures the eternal life of all who believe in Him.
    It is only because Jesus is in the position of Lord God that He can save us and gives us eternal life. While Lord speaks of His position of deity, the name Jesus speaks of His humanity and role of Savior, because Jesus means Savior. In the name Jesus Christ, Christ means Messiah, the One anointed or chosen by God to be the Savior and King. So Lord is a title that primarily conveys Jesus’ deity. What this means for salvation is that Jesus has the power and authority to save sinners because He is God. What this does not mean is that sinners can only be saved if they submit to Him as the Ruler of their lives. Ruler is only one subset of deity, and it is arbitrary to make that one divine function and position into a subjective demand. As the word implies, salvation requires a Savior. Jesus came to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15; 4:10) and He can because He is God. Sinners need a divine Savior. It is one thing to say that to be saved a sinner must acknowledge the divine authority that Jesus has as God or as the Son of God. It is quite another thing to say that to be saved a sinner must submit to Jesus as the Ruler of his life. The first acknowledges Jesus’ objective position and power as God, the second demands a person’s subjective response to Him as Ruler. The Bible has examples of unsaved sinners who addressed Jesus as Lord without submitting to Him (e. g., John 4:11, 15, 19; 9:36). To further illustrate, we could say that during World War II General Douglas MacArthur saved the Philippines. He was able to save them because he had the position and power of a four star general of the United States Army. To the people of the Philippines, however, MacArthur was not their general, nor were they required to submit to him as their general. They only needed to accept the “salvation” that he offered them.

    The view called Lordship Salvation

    There is a view that teaches a sinner must submit to Jesus as Ruler of his life in order to be saved. Proponents of this view call it Lordship Salvation, though it should be called Commitment Salvation or Submission Salvation since it emphasizes the unbeliever’s subjective response to Jesus Christ as Ruler. Lordship Salvation confuses the objective position of Jesus as Lord with the subjective response to one aspect of His lordship—rulership. Not only does this view reflect poor theological method—soteriology should not be built merely on titles, but it contradicts the Bible’s teaching of salvation by grace through faith. The grace that saves us is the free, unmerited, unconditional gift of God. Making a sinner’s submission to Jesus as the Ruler of his life a condition for salvation destroys the grace of God which makes salvation a free gift that can only be received through faith (Rom. 4:4-5; 11:6; Eph. 2:8-9). Lordship Salvation is also arbitrary because it only emphasizes rulership in the divine title Lord Jesus Christ. To be consistent, they should require sinners to accept Jesus as the Creator, Sustainer, Judge, Prophet, Priest, and King, because all these and more are aspects of His deity. Furthermore, they should demand acceptance of all that the name Jesus means, and all that the title Christ means. Teachers of Lordship Salvation often derogatorily refer to those who believe in the freeness of grace in salvation as no-lordship, or non-lordship. Of course, this is incorrect and deliberately misleading. Their error comes from confusing the objective position of Jesus as the Lord with one’s subjective response to Jesus as their Lord and making it a requirement for salvation. Those who believe in the freeness of grace believe that Jesus must be the Lord (God) to be Savior. The response required of an unbeliever is simply to believe the gospel— who Jesus is, what He has done for our salvation, and what He promises us. There is no lexical or biblical basis for defining believe as submit. Believe simply means to be convinced of something or persuaded that it is true. There are even biblical examples of those who had submitted to Jesus as their Ruler but were not saved (Matt. 7:21-23), and those who were saved when not submitted to Jesus as their Ruler (Acts 5:1-10; 19:18-19). We are not saying a person who comes to Jesus as Savior deliberately rejects the rulership of Jesus Christ. We are saying that to demand a sinner to submit to Him as Master is simply not the issue in salvation, much less is it reasonable to demand this of one who is spiritually dead.

    The Lordship of Christ and Sanctification

    While we reject Lordship Salvation and its requirement that sinners must submit to Jesus as the Ruler of their lives, we enthusiastically embrace the term Lordship Sanctification or Lordship Discipleship because submitting to Jesus as our Ruler is what the Christian life is all about. Once we know Jesus as Savior, we must learn to relate to Him as our new Master. Many passages admonish us who have believed in Jesus as Savior to now relate and submit to Him as Lord. The point of Romans 6 is that now that we have a new Master in Jesus Christ, we should submit ourselves to Him. Romans 12:1 urges us to present ourselves as “living sacrifices.” We live and die to the Lord (Rom. 14:8-9). As believers we are told to “sanctify the Lord God” in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15) and to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Such admonitions would not be needed if we had already done all that in order to be saved.

    Conclusion

    We can not make Jesus Lord; He is the Lord! We can only submit to Him as servants. As our divine Savior He saves us; as our divine Master He sanctifies us. To keep the grace of the gospel free we must not confuse the faith required of an unbeliever for justification with the many aspects of submission required of believers for sanctification.”

  33. years ago I heard a tape from duluth bible church on lordship salvation and it stated why john mcarthur may have become a lordship salvationist; he had a friend who went to seminary with him who one day came up to john and said he was dropping out of seminary because he did not believe in all of this religious business. JM said he was there when his friend walked the aisle (as if that had anything to do with his salvation) so JM got on this lordship kick. I think that happens to a lot of people today; we feel that if we do not tell the person to do this do that (repent of sins follow Christ, make Him Lord, etc.) that that person will not live the christian life, so we change God’s biblical plan of salvation (faith alone in Christ alone, in His finished work alone) to our own unbiblical plan mike

  34. Matt for Grace and Truth

    When I first heard the gospel message in an large indoor arena setting, I felt a strong compulsion moving me to go forward and make a decision for Christ, but I resisted the strong and convincing pull, and angrily yelled at my friend who kindly brought me. Months later, when another believer was reading the Bible to me when, without anticipation, faith arose in my heart, and I believed in my heart, and then I uttered, “I believe.” Then I was immediately filled strongly with the Spirit (but did NOT speak in tongues which I point out as an a side note) and experienced the conscious awareness of God’s supernatural peace and presence. I was ripe for the picking, and open-minded. But it did not seem like I made a willful decision to believe in Christ. But maybe in effect I did. Yet, it seemed like faith spontaneously arose in response to hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), and I believed. I have talked with many Christians who have had a similar salvation experience to mine. In any event, one planted, another watered, but God gave the increase (1 Corinthians 3:5-8).

  35. Mike,

    Interesting statement about JM and his friend. If that was the way it went down, JM should know that walking an aisle doesn’t mean anything, and never did, he should have known that a person could walk five thousand aisles and still not be saved if they didn’t believe the true Gospel.. JM should have known that going into the LS error is not the solution to the walking the aisle thing. The right solution is preaching a true free gift of salvation from Jesus.

  36. Matt,

    Good to “see” you again. Thanks for your testimony.

    Of course every believer’s testimony experience can be varied and different, some emotional, or in a matter-of-fact way or a simple logical decision to believe in Christ Jesus.

    That is why we preach God’s Word and not our experience. The important thing is, as you said, that you believed in Jesus Christ.

    As you know, believing in Jesus Christ alone for salvation is the key to eternal life.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  37. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Jack, you write “…we preach God’s Word and not our experience.” That’s important. Even Peter in his second epistle said that He eye-witnessed Jesus’ majesty (perceptive experience). But, he added, “we have a MORE SURE WORD of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:16-21).

  38. Matt,

    Thanks for that verse.. Perfect application.

    In Christ, Jack

  39. When I hear Mr Piper and others like him preach “perseverance” I feel like all I hear is perseverance = stop sinning; of course obedience also equals perseverance, thus O = P = stop sinning. If you come to the end of your life and you can’t show that you have persevered, you were a victim of easy believism. So basically it seems (I say seems because I acknowledge my over-sensitivity) that unless I have a good report card to turn in, then I’m out. Now of course I suppose one might say if I was truly saved that will be the case (which means I must truly question my salvation when I find that once again I have sinned). But if I do have a “report card” to turn in it will not be mine, but Christ’s- and seeing how He scored straight A’s I suspect that I’m going to be fine.

  40. Thanks Tim,

    Yes, we rest NOT on our own works, which could never save us; we rest on the shed blood of Christ at Calvary.

    As the hymn goes, “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe;
    Sin hath left a crimson stain; he washed it white as snow.

  41. Just another thought- question actually and hopefully it’s relevant. Is Lordship Salvation a security blanket of sorts to some Calvinists? I wondered if it is a necessary development for them because they need a way to prove they are not deluded about their own predestining; for really how could they really know for sure if they really were one of the elect? It’s like you almost do need a punch-list because otherwise you really can’t know if you are elect? So then if one can come up with a system, such as Lordship salvation, I suppose it gives you something to cling too; because otherwise you might just be fooling yourself.

    I really hope I do finish well. I hope I can go out like John Chrysostom, saying “Glory to God in all things”, but if this thing depends on how I finish then I never had a shot. I feel like at the end I’ll still realize that I was still really good at sinning and had many un-surrendered areas in my life that I had not made Jesus “Lord of”; and God meanwhile, already had me already sitting with Christ in heavenly places.

  42. Timothy, you have a good point that lordship salvation is a security blanket to calvinists. Because calvinism is based upon belief in yourself as part of the elect. Thus calvinism cannot be based on faith in Jesus Christ’s promise for life. The object of faith in calvinism is not Jesus’ promise. The object of faith in calvinism is the person’s either being part of the elect, or not. And the calvinist must have much lifetime consistent works and much lifetime consistent separation from sin, to convince themselves that they are part of the elect.

    A terrifying doctrine indeed. No security available for such a doctrine.

  43. I should add to my previous comment just posted, that there is no security available, because the object of faith is amiss.

  44. Abe, good comments about the “security blanket” that Tim mentioned. I think that your comments should be directed to “Tim” not to “Timothy,” as it appears that they are two different people. They or he can correct me if I am wrong.

    Again, good observations from both Abe and Tim.

  45. Oops, sorry about the mix up between Tim and Timothy. Thanks califgracer for setting it straight.

  46. Timothy Trident

    Absolutely correct about Pipers view of (NON) Eternal Security. When I fell into Calvinism 3 years ago, I listened to Piper’s sermons for about 6 months all the while questioning how I could know I was truly saved. I concluded in his belief system you never ever could. You just hope the day you die you were faithful enough and you will wake up in the right place. I knew that had to be wrong because the bible is full of assurance for those who trust God’s promises. The disciples weren’t busy doubting their salvation, they were proclaiming their faith in the Gospel! Thank God I got out of that hellish doctrine, it was nothing but misery. Pure misery…

  47. Hello Timothy, welcome to Expreacherman.com! Please come back often.

    Thank you for your heart-felt testimony about how God freed you from the influence of false teaching and brought you to a place of confidence and joy in the promises of God in the Bible.

    Your words have blessed me today; thanks!

    Saved and kept by grace.

  48. Bless you, Timothy. There’s plenty of doubt and misery coming from the Arminian side as well. In fact, it’s everywhere! Just stay close to your bible and toss the rest. (I’m terribly pessimistic, aren’t I? Sorry ’bout that). There is this place after all.

  49. Timothy Trident,

    We appreciate your visit and commenting. We pray you will subscribe, visit and comment often.

    Out of Calvinism!!! That is great. It seems those addicted to that Reformed teaching have a problem seeing their error. It would be great if every Calvinist in the world could read and understand your testimony of throwing off the Reformed shackles.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  50. Forgive me if this doesn’t belong here, but Timothy’s words inspired me. There is hope, that’s for sure. As with the other Timothy I too was a Calvinist at one point. My Bible school taught it, and by golly so did I, as angrily as I could, because darn it, people were just so plain wrong and arrogant to think they could have something to do with their salvation. There was but one way to understand words as “election” and “predestination”- little did I realize that I was subscribing to the way a 16th Century Lawyer defined it with the help of an isolated early church father who did not have the benefit of being surrounded by corrective peers- Augustine.

    Calvinism was, of course, no less that biblical christianity, it was inarguable and if you didn’t like it you didn’t like God (not that He cared), or you were just too emotional and weak. Even today i am amazed at how one word retranslated whole passages of Holy Scripture, instead of Scripture translating the passage. To my Calvinist friends it [predestination as they translate it] is the given, and everything else flows from it. Entire passages must be read in light of it: Thus “He is not willing any should perish” is to be read with the certainty that clearly by “any” God meant “any of the elect”; -I know, because that is exactly what I would have done. My wife who possesses impeccable logic was the first tool of the Holy Spirit to chip away at my certainty- yet her arguments were all emotional to begin with… yet disturbingly it was working as she was looking into the heart of God while I clung to a system which seemed to be getting oddly cold. The next death knell to my Calvinism was my contacts with the (forgive me) Eastern Orthodox Church, because there existed an organism that easily predated not merely Calvin, but even Augustine.

    I was opened up to the works of older fathers, like Athanasius, Justin Martyr, and more disturbingly to my Calvinism, Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch. Here were two men who co-incided with the Apostles themselves, recipients of the traditions and teachings handed down- and not a single writing of these most prolific bishops of their day so much as hinted of Calvinism. This was particularly devastating to my Calvinism because I was basically confronted with either 1. The Apostles were among the worst teachers of all time and failed to pass down this critical understanding to their most capable students; or 2. That the apostles themselves did not understand those passages in the way of Augustine and Calvin. I felt compelled to go with number two. Thus Church History completed sweeping away the last vestiges of my Calvinism, and I realized I didn’t even have to classify myself as either Arminian or Calvinist, those were relatively new arrivals. Instead of God being more like Plato’s Ultimate Good, and a Self-concerned Being concerned first and foremost with perfect Moral Order; these early believers informed me that God, while indeed morally perfect, was a God of amazing Self-emptying and Self-denying Love. This God didn’t have to express His sovereignty through determinism, He did it by creating us in His image with powers of choice and direction. He calls on us to be like Him; self-emptying and self-denying. He is much easier to live with than Plato’s Ultimate Good, or Calvin’s Angry Judge. Because He loves, and because I have accepted His free gift is not a threat to His sovereignty, He is self-sustaining anyway; what could I truly take away from Him? He will get all the glory and He is not fretting about it nearly as much as my Calvinist friends are. My apologies for the late-night ramble.

  51. Hi, I am having trouble with a few verses. When we believe on Jesus as our saviour that is our assurance that we are born again. Not our performance after being saved or feelings etc. But I find it confusing when Paul mentions in Hebrews that God only disciplines those who are his children when they are not walking the way they should and also mentions about the warfare of the spirit lusting against the flesh and the flesh against the spirit in Galations and also in Romans 7 that he himself has that on the inside of
    him when he wasn’t walking in the spirit. To me it appears that unless you have experienced that on the inside of you then you must not be saved or if God has not disciplined you when you have got out of line that he only disciplines his children so you need that as proof somewhere in your life to know that you are saved. He disciplines with his word. I heard someone teach if you were out of fellowship for a period of time he will be bringing through the word of the bible or a sermon you may hear or whatever he uses to show you to repent of that failure. And if you fail to repent then you let the devil in and he can put sickness and reap mayhem in your life.
    I must admit looking back at my life I have been out of line in an area and when reading the word or a sermon it seems like God was speaking to me to change. And I also have experienced that pull to do good but gave into the flesh and didn’t do it. But if you have to have experienced that for confirmation that you are saved doesn’t that take away from saying I know I am saved because Jesus saved me when I trusted him to. Otherwise, it’s like having to say yes Jesus saved me period plus I have had those above experiences to prove it to myself. It’s confusing because satan could
    easily bring doubt and say to you, you aren’t saved because you haven’t experienced those two things mentioned above even though you believed Jesus to save you. Any one have any comments on this; I find it confusing.

  52. Alana, you said:

    “To me it appears that unless you have experienced that on the inside of you then you must not be saved or if God has not disciplined you when you have got out of line that he only disciplines his children so you need that as proof somewhere in your life to know that you are saved.”

    I will address chastening first.

    “Chastening” means “instruction.” As such, it is for both obedient and disobedient believers.

    There are several ways that we may respond to chastening. First, we may forget the truth of God’s chastening. Second, we may despise God’s chastening. Third, we may become discouraged or bitter by God’s chastening. And last, we may respond to it positively and endure chastening and grow from it.

    Hebrews 12:5 seems to describe inappropriate responses – despising or becoming discouraged by God’s chastening:

    “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him'”

    Hebrews 12:7 seems to describe the appropriate response – enduring God’s chastening:

    “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?”

    How we respond to chastening does not determine whether or not we are God’s children, any more than how our children respond to our discipline determines whether or not they are our children. God desires that we endure chastening and grow from it. He is disappointed when we don’t.

    I believe that there are people (both saved and unsaved) who are not currently fully trusting in Christ that self-scourge. That is, chastise themselves when they are not “feeling it.”

    Warfare between the flesh and the Spirit is a constant battle. It can manifest itself in a bunch of ways. One way is to trust in feelings when trusting in God’s word doesn’t seem like enough. Other ways include drifting into unsound doctrine, legalism or license. If I ever doubt that this warfare is going on in my heart, I need only remind myself of how I think and react to everyday situations versus how Jesus might think or react to those same situations

  53. You know, before I knew who Piper was, I listened to a couple of things here and there, he did little Q & A’s regarding certain things. Seemed to be the pillar of a sound Bible teacher. :)

    But I knew not one thing about him, but talk about a few things he said almost making shipwreck of my faith…. These men place all the onus on themselves and each other. YES! We need to encourage each other daily, etc., but so we can keep each other saved???!!!

    Liars! Hypocrites! They are not straightforward about the TRUTH of the gospel which will set people free, and they are condemned themselves.

    Sorry for the strong language, you can choose as you wish administrators, but I for one am TIRED of these men who accuse daily and make young ones doubt daily instead of commending them to the Word of HIS GRACE!!!

    They have people bewitched, and their gospel will not save.

  54. Holly,

    Hello. I can very much relate to what you are saying about Piper. I used to think, “How does this man come up with such wisdom that seems to come from the Bible?” Now I know it is all folly. His Q&A videos all revolve around some erred Calvinist presuppositions. He is gifted at effectively communicating false teaching. All Calvinists unite, although many of the teachers still disagree in many other doctrinal positions.

    As someone who pretty much sat under MacArthur/Piper teaching, I would say PIper is just a wacky false teacher (no offense). MacArthur is actually sound on many doctrines, except for soteriology, which is the most important one. He is Calvinist in soteriology, but dispensationalist in pretty much every other area. His salvation message will destroy a believer though.

  55. Pat,

    Thanks for your very interesting comment.

    Glad you have chucked the lies of Piper, MacArthur and their ilk.

    If you recall, I think our readers will appreciate your perspective on a few questions relating to when you were a “fan” of Piper and JMac.

    1) Now that you know Piper is all folly, what specifically did he preach in his persuasive way that, earlier in your Christian life, made you think he had such wisdom from the Bible?

    2) No one here will be offended with calling Piper a “wacky teacher.” He and MacArthur are worse than that. You are right, soteriology (salvation by Grace) is the very foundation and essence of God’s Word — and when that is faulty, all other doctrines built on that are false. When and how did you come to that correct conclusion?

    We are happy for you and believe your testimony will be helpful to others who may not have emerged from the lies into the Truth as you have.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  56. Jack,

    Excuse me if I am unable to write concisely. I am trying to learn from your writing. :) I will try to be as clear, and to the point as possible.

    1. Reformed theology, to spiritual babes, is very convincing and appealing due to its intellectual and philosophical nature. Every topic is discussed in a manner that is in accordance with their view of God being in control of ALL things, and what they believe gives the MOST glory to God. Piper deals with a lot of random questions people have, and without going into specific videos and topics, he generally approaches these questions by 1. citing Scripture out of context, and many times He responds without any Scriptural support..yet somehow makes his response sound like it’s full and solid 2. revolving responses around an incorrect view of God’s sovereignty and God’s grace 4. philosophically misrepresenting God’s character (because the Calvinist God has a different character). His wisdom is worldly at best, and it can be due partially to his age and experience. However, he might have tolerable responses to topics such as homosexuality, prosperity gospel, etc.

    Here is an example of his heresy that gives NO biblical support – {link deleted}
    Jack, I understand this link will be removed.

    2. I came to this conclusion about one year after college ended. Like many others, I was always finding assurance of being God’s child through my good works. I could not understand why I was unable to conquer sin in my life, and was often frustrated at myself. Reformed teaching has a heavy emphasis on sin, because they believe every elect must and will live holy lives til the end since God saves the elect that way. I was a heavy, heavy supporter of the fact that faith must produce good works and that there needed to be fruit that validated one’s belief. Therefore, at that time, and to be honest, I did not see many of my Calvinist peers as saved. Why? Because I was holier. I didn’t party. I didn’t drink or smoke. If they did that, then it definitely meant they weren’t true Christians. See, Calvinism inevitably produced legalism in my college fellowship. Fruit inspection was based on individual standards — pride.

    Without being too long-winded, I am really not quite sure how I found my way out. I read the scriptures, and prayed that the Holy Spirit would lead me into truth, and that I would be humble enough to accept that I could be wrong..even if it meant Piper/MacArthur could be wrong. That is how I came to the conclusion that my salvation RESTED upon Christ’s death and resurrection, that sin deserved a death penalty and He paid for it in FULL, and that I would be saved forever JUST by believing. SIMPLE as that! Calvinism’s attempt to use works as a proof of whether someone is saved is merely circular logic. It’s complicating such a simple truth into something only “smart” people can comprehend. It’s an intellectual, mind-boggling, and false system that the Scriptures do not teach.

    If there are any Calvinist readers, I would strongly recommend you to pick out all the verses that seem to prove Calvinism, and STUDY the context behind those verses. Also, consider non-Calvinistic definitions of the words ‘repentance’, ‘grace’, and ‘election.’ It will take a loooong time, but I guarantee that you will feel FREE (John 8:32). Calvinism is a system that must be taught, because you will not come up with it yourself, and its roots are heavily tainted with Catholic doctrine. This blog has many solid answers to many of the verses that might be used to support Calvinism. Take a look, and ask questions here.

    I feel like I could say much more Jack, but I’ve written too much.

    Pat

  57. Pat,

    Thanks for your excellent analysis of the terrible teaching of Calvinism and your marvelous exit from that teaching. Great advice.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  58. “Calvinism is a system that must be taught, because you will not come up with it yourself”

    Such is the case with all false systems. Calivinism is a false system based on the false gospel, gnosticism, and catholicism-lite of John Calvin. He wrote it.

    Nobody can read the Bible alone and come to such conclusions without being taught it by calvinistic people. Just like nobody can read the Bible alone and end up catholic or mormon or JW.

  59. Abe,

    Very true. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember Catholics, Mormons, and JW’s all have books/bibles in addition to The Bible that they believe are God-inspired. This is precisely why they end up with the strange doctrines that they have.

    Correct me again if I’m wrong, but I believe the false system of Calvinism arises from a faulty method of Scripture interpretation. It all comes down to method of interpretation — dispensationalist versus covenantal. Most baby Calvinists are unaware of the source of their theology, and how it is developed.

    Calvinism is the most frightening system today because it claims to subscribe to the Bible only, yet its proponents are blind to how much higher they hold John Calvin and Spurgeon commentaries. It is readily alarming when one of John Macarthur’s “Grace To You” shepherd conferences becomes about remembering the life of Jonathan Edwards and his teachings. Tragic.

  60. “Calvinism is the most frightening system today because it claims to subscribe to the Bible only, yet its proponents are blind to how much higher they hold John Calvin and Spurgeon commentaries. It is readily alarming when one of John Macarthur’s “Grace To You” shepherd conferences becomes about remembering the life of Jonathan Edwards and his teachings. Tragic.”

    Well said on all points, I believe. The person that (rightly) wants to believe the Bible alone, might be more easily duped into calvinism, than into the other false beliefs. But it is the same error, that being, not putting Scripture alone as their basis in reality. They have Calvin’s institutes, the “fathers” like Augustine, Spurgeon as you mentioned, and so on… and these men are the basis of their beliefs.

    They are trying to take away the youth, that seems to be the focus of their attention, thus, they want to create a “calvinist generation”. Woe to the world if that happens.

  61. Abe and Pat,

    Thanks for your comments on Calvinism.

    Yes, Calvinism is working around the clock on the impressionable and ignorant youth. I have a relative who is a youth director in a Presbyterian (naturally Calvinist) church. They shower the kids with fun and games, ski trips, outings and a carnival-like atmosphere – but no Gospel.. When I asked him “How do you lead a young person to Christ he was dumbfounded, “ah, uh, ummm, mmm, yeah” — he had no idea.

    But I fear that is typical in ever increasing Calvinist circles, whatever the denomination. All hype and no Gospel but an elitist, superior attitude.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  62. Pat, for a few years I thought I was the only one that saw anything wrong with it. I’d bring it up to people, and I’d be told, “nobody is perfect, we shouldn’t criticize these men of God”.

    I so appreciated your own testimony, the last time I heard Piper do a Q & A someone shared, it was right after my husband had been cremated, and he made me feel as if I had done something terribly horrible and committed a great sin, it was a guilt that I can’t express.

    People were shocked that I would speak against Washer (albeit very tentatively, because back then I didn’t know much about the actual teaching of Lordship salvation. And for awhile, Piper and MacArthur, I really didn’t understand their ties not really knowing yet what the deal was.

    But the more I saw/heard, the more I knew it wasn’t lining up with His Word, but who was I? If other people hadn’t seen it, then what was so special about me that I could see something. I must be wrong, so I kept digging and trying to figure it out, because it was nothing I was familiar with. I did see common denominators though, men were wise in their own eyes and their speech was not soft, and they did not seem to tremble at His Word.

    Prove all things” always seems to echo in my mind. I miss, but I have learned some valuable lessons and I thank the Lord we have His Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.

    I can’t even fathom some of the things over the years that have been passed off as Christianity, but this “religion” I believe is the most pervasive, because it looks an awful lot like a sheep. Far more than any of the hairsprayed stiff-haired healers wearing Armani suits and driving Bentleys. (hope that doesn’t offend anyone here) :)

  63. Not trying to stir anything up, just wondering. Do you consider using hair products a sin Holly? I don’t drive a Bentley or wear Armani suits but do use product in my hair(not hairspray). Or is this just meant as kind of a stereotype?
    As far as Washer goes, I’d seen a couple of his youtube videos. He always kind of made me feel sick or angry. I couldn’t believe that people would sit in his audience while he accused them and mocked them. Why didn’t they just walk out? Of course when one is abused often there is something called Learned Helplessness.

  64. No, of course not Jon :) Just maybe making a joke, maybe I should not have, of the people like Jan Crouch, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Randy White and those who are rather ostentatious and seemingly obvious to some, and they feel that they have the issues covered. It was actually kind of pointed at Benny Hinn mainly who is known for his stiff hair and his expensive taste in suits and cars (with “ministry” money). Certainly not against hair products, and I consider only the things that are spelled out in Scripture a sin, and I still with my flesh serve the law of sin unfortunately.

    With Paul Washer, I actually understand. I think people want to do better and they think that is the way and a lot of them are just trying not to sin that grace might abound. But they can do that by drawing closer to Him in His Word I believe.

    Sorry if somehow I offended with my joking. Kind regards in Him, Holly

  65. No offense taken Holly. I actually thought your description sounded a lot like Benny Hinn. Can’t say I have any respect for his “ministry”.

  66. Jon, glad there wasn’t…

    Yes, it was my attempt at humor. But it was too late, and I have been up late a lot in the past several weeks, having hurt my shoulder from a fall. Sleep has escaped me a number of nights, so I probably shouldn’t have tried at that time of morning to make a goofy joke.

    It’s just that so many think if they recognize the Benny Hinn’s or the Tammy Faye’s or the Paul and Jan Crouches, etc., that they are safe with choosing to listen to the kindly, “normal” looking older gentleman, who carries a well worn Bible and speaks against these other “wolves”. They think I am condemning and judgmental and attacking the brethren. One pastor went on quite a while about me today, and it gets wearying. But these brothers here have been doing this for years and know this very well.

    But Jesus didn’t warn us, telling us to beware, that they were wearing sheep’s clothing because they were obvious, but because they look like one of us, and because as we know they come from among us.

    And Paul didn’t warn day and night in tears for three years because all of them were getting it right away. It’s a continual “proving of all things” and keeping short accounts when we fail to prove, and not getting mad at someone else for pointing out where we’ve been fooled. Or stopping our ears up, or taking offense if someone else catches us where we are wrong.

    It’s all part of what we need to do for each other because as you know Jesus also said there would be many deceivers, many deceived and many who cry Lord, Lord (but knew Him not)….

    We are sure seeing many who cry Lord, Lord in the
    Lordship doctrine teaching, and they wear suits and ties, and are conservative looking and they seem sincere, and they say they care about the condition of the church, and they care about the false converts, but instead of preaching the gospel to these supposed false converts, they preach them “shocking messages” that supposedly preach the “real” gospel so that they can “really be saved” after a “lifetime of repenting”….

    Sigh… I’m human and get frustrated… I see the guys like Benny Hinn and don’t see them as dangerous as the Paul Washers, John MacArthurs, Rick Warrens and Billy Grahams of the world. They are all crying Lord, Lord for sure, but do they KNOW Him?

    Baffles me how someone can know Him and say someone can be saved and never know have even heard about Him, or know His name….or insist on adding to His precious, saving gospel with works of ________.

    And then there are the people that come against you for speaking against these “men of God”. Or tell you about your “religious spirit” or “critical spirit” or talk about how “you think you always have to be right” or just rail on you… some mock you, some just get mad at you, and you just struggle to keep your words right in His sight, with His help.

    And you can only pray, “Bless them Lord. Please open their eyes to see. Please let them be stirred to check this out by something that was said here, even if they hate me for awhile”…

  67. Hi Holly,

    Yes, I think that you are onto a salient point that the more worrisome voices of what is called, “Christianity,” are probably not the flamboyant types of TV fame; rather, they are, as you say, in fact, the well-dressed, normal-looking, normal-sounding mainstream preachers. Paul Washer, for one example in particular, in my opinion, is especially dangerous to those who are not well-grounded in Scripture because he seems so sincere and trustworthy, speaking, not bombastically or acting weird, but in a calm measured approach with a bit of a crying tone to his oration, BUT, he preaches a false gospel! (Heed the warnings of Galatians 1:8!) To those who don’t know the Bible very well nor do they understand clearly the Biblical gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:31; John 3:16-18), a preacher like Paul Washer can sound very convincing indeed!

  68. Holly and Bruce, I agree with you both. The more outrageous, flamboyant types are just there to distract us from the more insidious and subtle deceivers.

  69. Well said, John!

    .

  70. Hope all the Fathers here had a blessed time, and any who feel sorrow during this time, praying for His comfort for you all.

  71. Bruce – I honestly thought that I was still too worldly and hadn’t come far enough when I heard Paul Washer the first time and didn’t receive it well. I just couldn’t listen to him, he was so condemning, and yet I thought it had to be me, especially as I saw over the years him gain popularity with some of my sweet Christian friends. (Some of them weren’t so sweet when I started voicing my concerns) :)

    But, I thank the Lord that it wasn’t so much about my sinlessness or even my standing as a Christian, but that I started proving all things, and praying about all teaching, and I can still miss, but I have His Word and other believers to ask.

  72. Holly, I praise God for your discernment. Thanks for the encouragement that you have been to us at Expreacherman.

  73. Bruce…
    I praise God for anything He has given me, He has given me any discernment I have through His Word. (I Cor 4:6-7)

    I am the poster child for buying books, so I cannot say the discernment came naturally. I love books, and I used to be a bit impulsive when it came to buying the latest and greatest, if it would get me in closer touch with Him.

    I do praise Him, for He knew I really did desire an intimate relationship with Him, and He used it for my good. I threw out so many, some were stored, and later got a little wiser on not throwing the better known names out, and saving them for reference material.

    This was part of the answer He began to impress on me through His Word,

    “proving all things, holding fast to that which is good.” (I Thess 5:21)
    “searching the Scriptures to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
    Being in the strong meat of His Word, so my senses could be exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:14)
    “Testing the spirits” (1 John 4:1)
    Asking Him if the “doctrine was of Him” or not, and also “seeking and knocking” (sort of a blend of John 7:16-17, and Matt 7:7) – not meaning to take anything out of context.

    But even in the whole passage of John 7:16-18, I could see these teachers who pointed out to others what they were doing wrong. Yes they mentioned God or doing in for God, but in subtle ways they also glorified themselves by what they “didn’t do” or the broad brush stroke of condemnation placed on entire audiences for effect… (Paul Washer’s “Shocking Message”) I have a shocking message myself for Mr. Washer, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

    16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me.
    17 If any man will do His will,(that part is not for Calvinists) he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
    18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

    So I reflect on what I believe to be the biggest thing I learned over the years. Trying to always pray (acknowledge Him in all my ways-Pr 3:5-6), and to choose that good part, the one thing that is needful (time with Him in the Word-Lk 10:38-42). If I have spent time knowing the original, and not take someone else’s word for what my Beloved has said, that is the one thing that will not be taken from me.

    Prove all things…

    I thank the Lord for you all here. And I pray for you and your families.

  74. I think Jesus speaks to these issues so beautifully in a couple passages I’d like to lift up. First, in John 10:27-28, “27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” Second, in John 17:3, Jesus talks about the true meaning of eternal life saying, “3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” In the John 10 passage Jesus says two things that jump out at me.

    First, he says, “My sheep hear my voice…” If you hear the voice of your Shepherd calling know this: you belong to him. He is committed to you and will fight for you. He won’t let anything snatch you away from his love and care. Then he says, “and they follow me.” That following I believe is a gift of God’s Spirit at work in us quickening us to obey. Yes, there is an act of the will involved in following Jesus in the same way my body doesn’t move on its own without my willing it to do so. I take my body where I want it to go. But the fact that my body can go where it wants and do essentially what it wants is pure gift. The fact of my existence is gift. So whatever I do is the result of our creator God gifting me with the capacity to do it.

    Finally, let’s not forget that eternal security gets at the question of our eternity in general. The doctrine of eternal security raises for me a, “So what?” What does it matter? If Christ’s saving work for me was effective and though I may at times fall into sin does my inability to obey or unwillingness to obey do anything to thwart his effectiveness in saving me, if in fact I belong to him (ie: I am a sheep that hears the Shepherd’s voice)? The answer, I believe, is absolutely not.

    Eternity is less a matter of location and more a matter of relationship. Jesus’ own words in John 17:3 clearly establish that. He says eternal life is knowing the only true God and (knowing) Jesus Christ whom he sent. God is not going to change his mind about loving me or wanting relationship with me. We humans are much less committed to him and given to being a bit fickle in all our relationships. If my eternity depended on me at all, on my choosing to stay close to Jesus or only and always have loving feelings toward him and an intense desire to obey, then my salvation/my eternity are in big trouble.

    Just some thoughts.

    Eli Dorman

  75. Eli,

    Welcome and thanks. You bring out some great points.

    Briefly said — Eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone IS eternal!!! Without doubt and without end! That is an eternal “relationship,” our standing in Jesus and is unchangeable and permanent.

    However a believer’s fellowship, our state, is variable depending upon our obedience to His Word.. and does not in any way impact a believer’s eternal “relationship,” our standing in Christ!!

    We look forward to your further comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  76. Jack,

    Thank you, good word! I look forward to engaging with the community here.

    Eli

  77. So what does it actually mean to hear the Sheperd’s voice as in John 10:27? A local megachurch in my city uses this verse as an excuse for ‘Listening Prayer’. I don’t see Biblical support for this practice. Is the answer found in Romans 10:17? Or am I missing something?

  78. Hi Jon,

    Watch out for anything that heads down the contemplative Christianity pathway, a la Beth Moore, et al. The road takes one right toward Eastern Mysticism. There are some discussions about these subjects at ExPreacherman.com. You can search them out if you like.

  79. Wow, I thought I asked a pretty straight forward question. I am well aware of contemplative christianity and Eastern Mysticism. I used to read a lot of discernment blogs before discovering this one and realized most of them are run by Calvinists. If you don’t have an answer for me or can’t be bothered, so be it, I guess. Good luck with your blog Bruce & co.

  80. Jon,

    I’m sorry that you, once again, have become offended. I was simply giving a generalized response and warning on a subject. Others, who may know more about the verses in question are certainly free to add their thoughts. I recall another time (4/27) when you accused several of us of “elitism” because warnings were given about certain authors. May I simply remind you of a time last November when I assisted you by spending several hours of my own personal time researching facts about various churches in your geographical area (this time was spent completely on your behalf). Was I simply putting you off in that effort?

    Please, let’s try not to read more into one commenter’s intent than was intended.

  81. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Jon,

    God obviously can provide specific guidance in addition to the general revelation of the Bible. But if such guidance is communicated, it will not contradict the Bible. And if you share the perceived communication with someone, it is, in my view, generally the preferred practice to state that “I BELIEVE that God communicated to me that…” rather than saying emphatically that “God told me…”

  82. Jon,

    Yes, you are right. From the Word — not “listening prayers.” Our directions from the Lord come through His Word, no special revelations, no special voices.

    As you said:
    Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

    I am not aware of any “specific guidance” that believers receive outside of God’s Word.

    Matt, if you have examples, we would open it for discussion.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  83. Jon, I agree with you, the church is misusing that verse, and we know that knowing His voice, comes from knowing His Word. The Word gives enlightenment, the hearing of it faith. I think they use the partial verse in Psalms a lot to give credence to the “listening” prayers. “Be still and know that I am God”, and they don’t finish the verse, nor use it in context.

    Some trying using the example of Elijah and the still small voice. I’m sure you know that so many are getting into the contemplative and the mystical, the meditative practices that they try to relate to Biblical meditation. But we know it never equates to emptying our mind, but meditating upon His Word day and night.

    He directs our paths as we trust in Him, acknowledge Him in all our ways, Through His Word we get counsel and direction, along with the Holy Spirit who guides us into truth. In former times He spoke to us in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us through His Son. (Heb 1) and I think the Word is clear that we now have a more sure word of prophecy, which I would trust over any “still small voice” I heard. If I believed the Lord was impressing something on me, I know that it has to be the Word, as the Holy Spirit brings His Word to our remembrance.

    Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
    The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Ps 119:105,130

    Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.
    My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. Ps 119:24-25

    We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
    Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
    For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Pet 1:19-21

  84. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Jack,

    See Acts 8:29, 10:19, 11:12, 13:2, 16:6, 20:23 [examples where the Holy Spirit gave specific guidance to believers regarding specific circumstances]

    See also 2 Peter 1:14 […THE LORD showed me…]

    Moreover, Colossians 3:15 [let the peace OF GOD UMPIRE your hearts]

  85. Matt, I have a couple of thoughts on the verses you cited:

    2 Peter 1:14 – could this have been a reference to an earlier conversation that Jesus had with Peter, as recorded in John 21:

    [18] Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
    [19] This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

    Colossians 3:15 – is it possible that “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” means to allow your decisions to be those that reflect the peace of God in your hearts? Or, to allow your decisions to be those that will result in peace with God?

  86. Bruce, I appreciate your efforts on my behalf in regards to my local churches. Perhaps I didn’t express that sufficiently at the time. I have thought of that several times and even wondered which specific churches you had looked at.
    I am obviously a troubled person and have no close Christian friends to talk to. I’m paranoid(easily offended) and read too much into what is written, you are correct. I am not a good person and probably one that should be avoided. I can’t seem to find lasting victory over sin. I have clearly left a bad taste in your mouth and don’t want to trouble you anymore. Thanks to everyone for your answers and for putting up with my garbage for so long.

  87. Matt — thanks for your verses.

    I believe we should not presume any of us today, from the greatest preacher to the youngest learner, can possibly be compared to the “Holy men of God” whom the Lord revealed truth and instructed them to write what He dictated to them — that which we know as the inspired (God breathed) Holy Scripture. God’s revelation is complete in the Bible.

    2 Peter 1:20-21
    “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

    To assume believers today are equally inspired by God to speak for Him as were the Disciples brings forth such false teachers as I describe below:

    This concept of special revelation from God to any believer today — outside of God’s Word, borders on the modern day Word Faith Movement, The Toronto and Lakeland Blessing movement. Likewise, the mystical Oxford Movement which promotes the mysticism of A.J. Russel author of “God Calling” and Sarah Young’s similar book, “Jesus Calling” and will likely include the iconic false teacher Beth Moore. This would also include these same authors who “listen to God” and then write “God’s word spoken” to them, claiming such words are just as inspired as the Bible.

    We must beware those who claim special inspired instructions and revelations directly from the Holy Spirit or “from God” as being God’s Word.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  88. Jack, I think I may have mentioned this before, but there is a local church in my home town whose senior pastor claims that the church was founded on “a vision God gave him.” See excerpt from “The Code” of that church, below:

    “4. WE ARE UNITED UNDER ONE VISION
    Elevation is built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven. We will aggressively defend our unity and that vision.”

    This is the kind of creepy stuff that arises from claims of individual revelation that is in no way verifiable.

    Matt, you said: “And if you share the perceived communication with someone, it is, in my view, generally the preferred practice to state that “I BELIEVE that God communicated to me that…” rather than saying emphatically that “God told me…”

    My comment: I agree that anyone claiming direct communication from God should be circumspect in sharing it with anyone, and should not be emphatic. In the above example, there would be no way to disagree with the pastor, because he claims the church was built on direct revelation from God.

  89. Jon, if you have no Christian friends to talk to, then stay here and talk to us. None of us have attained, we’re all still growing in grace. It’s hard when we cannot convey our tone, or even sometimes what might be going on in our own lives, sometimes in my fatigue I can be short, or maybe not thorough. We can only try to grant each other grace and forgiveness in our failures.

    You are part of the body, so you are necessary to us :)

  90. Matt – those were foundational apostles, with Jesus as the cornerstone, who had a different relationship before canon was closed, of course the Holy Spirit moved them, spoke to them, and I believe in a different way than when Scripture was closed.

    I do believe we get guidance in different ways as believers, but I don’t believe we hear audible voices like these teaching the “listening prayers”, but God’s Word was left for us and is everything we need to be fully equipped. (2 Tim 3:14-17)

  91. Thanks John,

    Don;t think I heard that one. Creepy, yes — and he makes no bones about defending it.

    However, I imagine if questioned in light of scripture, he might likely say it was not a Biblical vision from God but “just my own vision for our church.” Easily confused with truth. But one wonders how the congregation understands it. “Don’t dare question ‘The Vision’“.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  92. Jon, I have prayed that you will stick around and not feel alienated. I am confident that no one here wishes for you to feel that way.

    Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

  93. Can I ask, how does an ancient church council discerning that the canon is complete decide how God can speak and to whom? Obviously, the canon is set and it functions as source and authority in all matters of teaching within the Body of Christ. But how can we say that God does not reveal things to the hearts of believers that builds on and edifies their understanding of Scripture? Any “Word from the Lord” must be consistent with the teaching of Scripture and if it is then on what basis do we question it’s validity? In a very real sense, is not the act of preaching building on the existing Word of God to assist the Body of Christ in its understanding and application of the Word. This is an honest question. I’d really like to hear others’ thinking on this matter. Thanks, Eli

  94. Matt,

    We can be sure that God gives us direction through His Word. Be careful about any other supposed sources of revelation. (God speaking directly to us outside of the Word etc)

    Also, I always caution people to be careful about making principles out of specific unique events that happened in the Bible. Just because God can do miraculous things (like inspire men to write the Word of God) doesn’t mean there is going to be that kind of thing after the completion of Scripture. Everything we need for spiritual decisions is in God’s Word. We can also benefit from from teachers and preachers who are faithful with the Word and help communicate its truths to others. God intends us to build up and exhort each other with the Word.

    A problem that I ran into in my late teens/early twenties was the teaching that one had to try to find God’s perfect will for his life. This was often made out to be some mysterious additional thing to what was revealed in the Word. I heard this kind of thing often from missionaries or evangelists who in their zeal to get people to make decisions, often guilt tripped people with things like: “if you don’t decide to be a missionary right now you may be resisting God’s perfect plan for your life” or “if you don’t go to Bible college, you may be in rebellion against God’s plan for you and your life just may be filled with terrible consequences until you give in to what God wants.” Couple this with things like fruit inspection and Calvinist leanings and you have a good picture of why many Christians burn out and live somewhat defeated lives instead of living confidently in the Spirit. That kind of thing leads to total introspection. Every bad thing that happens then is seen as God possibly being upset with you and every spiritual failure is a possibility that you aren’t even saved. Talk about a deadly combo and both of these lines of thinking are not uncommon in many churches including fundamental Baptist churches. I am curious to know if anyone else has heard of this kind of teaching concerning God’s will. I know most of us have heard of Calvinism and “fruit inspection”.

    Jim F

  95. brokenpilgrim: “Can I ask, how does an ancient church council discerning that the canon is complete decide how God can speak and to whom?”

    I just wanted to say on this, that no “council” decided what is or isn’t Scripture. The whole “council of nicea decided the canon” thing, is fiction. It is fiction written by the catholic establishment and fiction agreed upon by apostate protestantism. It is nevertheless, fiction.

    The truth is that the Bible was already being passed around to churches as quickly as it was being written. No “council” decided what is or isn’t Bible. God decided that right from the start, hundreds of years before these “councils”.

    brokenpilgrim: “In a very real sense, is not the act of preaching building on the existing Word of God to assist the Body of Christ in its understanding and application of the Word”

    This is only my opinion, but technically, yes. The gift of teaching would be an elaboration on the written Scripture. If teaching were not that, then the teaching time of a service would just be reading the section of Scripture and sitting down without adding anything, nary a word. We add because, we feel that there is a gift, teaching, that causes us to add something. That gift of teaching is clearly going on today (and it is the faking and/or abuse of that gift that causes some to become LS).

    I’m not a cessationist (it is rare to find someone like myself in free grace circles), but I’m also not someone that would ever put any expression above or even at the level of Scripture. Scripture wins 100% of the time, and Scripture is the final and only authority on all matters.

  96. jimfloyd: “A problem that I ran into in my late teens/early twenties was the teaching that one had to try to find God’s perfect will for his life.”

    Well said. Because that “perfect will” doctrine leads to a form of a “sinless perfection” doctrine. Rather, in my opinion, the Christian life is actually a Matthew 13:23 situation (if you’re not stuck in the two previous seeds of offense and worldliness, that is). We go along laboring and the Lord leads and adjusts us as we go. Abraham is a great example. He was told to leave his father’s household, but didn’t. He delayed. He gave his wife into the pagan king’s harem twice. He had the Ishmael thing. Yet then there were the victories, as in trusting the Lord to deliver captured Lot when Lot was taken captive with the kings of the region, and trusting the Lord to again to deliver Lot from the destruction of Sodom, and then of course offering up Isaac. Continuing in the Lord and forgetting those things that are behind, rather than condemnatory “sinless perfection”. Just my opinion.

  97. Brokenpilgrim1995,

    You ask some good questions and there is a lot that can be said in response. I just have a few minutes this morning but I would first just like to address a couple things.

    God does want us as believers to exhort and work at building up one another in the faith. This includes preaching and teaching. These activities are not adding revelation as in scripture or doctrine as in say the way Catholics may view new revelation from the Pope. Those of us who hear teaching or preaching should always test it against the Word to see if the things spoken are so (that the line up with God’s Word). Part of the reason that Calvinism is so strong is that it is passed on almost as gospel truth whereas in reality it doesn’t match up with what the Bible actually says. The other danger is when a man’s set of theologies takes precedent over the actual Word of God. In that case you have a self perpetuating disaster on your hands.

    Jim F

  98. Matt for Grace and Truth

    All,

    Excellent points were made. Many false teachers claim to have received so-called special revelations from the audible voice of God or an angel which pervert or contradict the gospel of free grace.

    The danger of contemplative prayer with its links to eastern mysticism is real, and of which pastor shepherds need to warn their flocks!

    God’s written word is our complete and final authority.

    But, that does not mean that God does not personally guide us at times with advice specific to our situation.

    For example, if a believer, for whatever reason, was stranded in isolation without water and ready to perish of dehydration in the hot summer desert, and a water source was nearby but hidden from sight, and the person seeks God for guidance, would God invariably refuse to provide special Spirit led guidance to direct the believer to the water source? (A rhetorical question).

  99. Matt,

    How is there a Biblical normative principle to even answer an extreme hypothetical question like that? Why should we ever expect “special Spirit led guidance direct to the believer.” That is, guidance outside of bringing to recollection Bible verses or principles that may help in our distress? God may indeed provide what we need but I don’t see any precedent for us to expect for Him to lead us in that fashion to do it.

    Jim F

  100. My personal opinion as the answer to Matt’s rhetorical question is James 1:5, the Lord will indeed lead the believer to the water. How He will do that, I would leave up to Him. :)

  101. I can see in His Word everything we need to be fully equipped from salvation on in 2 Tim 3:14-17. In Psalm 119, it talks of the cleansing, the reviving, the counsel, the guidance, the enlightenment, the comfort, strength and direction His Word gives.

    So for me, His Word is where we find all we need. If I have any thoughts or feelings I need to be sure it is true to His Word. And praying for wisdom is one, and applying our hearts to it, another.

  102. Jim Floyd, I remember the perfect will doctrine, at least for me, that’s what I believe they were preaching, I was late teens. It was in a charismatic church that I went to (for about 10 minutes), until after attending one of their Bible studies, they kept insisting that I speak in tongues, and tried to make me do it.

    I could also see that they had the guilt thing down pat, it just was that they didn’t seem to see their own predicament of falling short in their works. It didn’t make sense to me, how did they seem to find God’s perfect will? From what I watched, it was from other people’s approval or confirmation, and/or prophecies spoken about them. Last time I was around, someone had invited me to a house, I believe, won’t say for certain it was Bob Jones (not from the university, but of IHOP fame) that this famous guy was going to be at this woman’s home, and everyone who was anyone wanted to be there. I happened to be invited and I was young and wondered. He was prophesying and women were weeping and thinking it was great, and they were so amazed at what he revealed, it reminded me of the psychic hotlines.

    I was walking in the background, I distinctly remember him pointing at me and starting to speak and he stopped. I thank God now that he never spoke some prophecy over me that in my immaturity and foolishness, I might have bought into.

    That might not be the same doctrine (I know I went off on a rabbit trail) but that is the church I first heard about it from.

  103. Jon, I, too, have been praying for you and I second Holly’s and John’s call that you stick around and keep connected to the fellowship.

    Blessings on you and your wife!

  104. Thank you Bruce, John and Holly for your prayers and encouragement to stay. I appreciate it very much. For what it’s worth: I agree with Jack that my charge of ‘elitism’ was misplaced. (I believe he said something to that effect.)

  105. I’m so happy to hear you are sticking around Jon, prayed again with Bruce last night. So many of us are weary and dusty walking through this world, and circumstances of life, and sometimes even circumstances of our own making, but He is the good one who will never leave us or forsake us. His mercy will not depart from us (promise in the new covenant).

    Anyways, glad you’re still going to be with us. In His love!

  106. Hi All,

    Thank you all for establishing this great website. Is there a resource link one could refer me to in order to gain clarification on salvation through the book of Revelation. It seems to me that there are some references to a loss of salvation in these verses. Also i read Jesus calling for churches to repent. Could someone clarify me on these points?

  107. Welcome Jesse,

    Thanks for joining us today. In response to your question, I have noticed that some advocates of Lordship “salvation” try to use Revelation 3 as a saved vs. lost text, which it is not. It is clearly referring to believers, as Christ is addressing Churches in Asia Minor. I have written a lengthy response to Francis Chan’s improper LS-based view of Revelation 3. To view it in detail see pages 10-13 of the article, “Balanced Love,” at Free Grace Alliance. Here’s the link and I hope that this is helpful to you for your inquiry. Thanks again for writing. Here’s the link:

    http://www.freegracealliance.com/pdf/BookReview%20ofCrazyLove.pdf

  108. Hi Jesse,

    Did you have any particular passages in mind? I totally agree with Bruce’s article above. Lukewarm in chapter 3 is not talking about unbelievers or people that lose salvation. It is referring to people who are living ineffectively for God. The solution would be to change your mind and do what you ought. It is a similar idea to those who in James chapter 2 are told to show their faith by their works. It is not that their works prove their salvation but they are a good testimony and are well pleasing to God. This is in contrast to those who have dead works – in essence those types of works show that one’s faith has become ineffective and useless to others. Yet our faith in Christ saves for all eternity. It can never be lost.

    Jim F

  109. Hi Jesse – I don’t want to get this wrong, but this is how I was taught regarding the churches, and how I have seen it to date.

    First that these were literal historical churches in the time of the apostles, that John wrote about. Secondly that they were also seen as types of churches throughout the ages of history from the Pentecost on through the dark ages, etc. Thirdly that each type of church is present in each age. Especially in end as we see all types of teaching and doctrine present.

    I think it was Thyatira who he said, “have not this doctrine”, and so I thought that there is wheat and tares everywhere including of course churches. Also we have plenty of wolves dressed like sheep in the churches. In each church it basically speaks to the “one who overcometh” as the one getting everlasting life so I believe it is that, which is important to know the definition.

    John wrote Revelation, I-III John, along with the book of John, all around the same time, so I believe he gives a definition of what “he who overcometh” is here.

    For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. WHO IS HE THAT OVERCOMETH the world, but he that BELIEVETH that Jesus is the Son of God? I John 5:4-5

    Of course would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on what I said and of course open always to the Word.

  110. It dawned on me too that John Piper evidently does not believe the witness of God or God’s record of His Son regarding eternal life.

    If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    He obviously also did not believe the Word of God regarding His sheep.

    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

    John Piper can sadly go on teaching people in direct contradiction to God’s Word and God’s record of His Son, but he is wrong, and has made God a liar.

    It does NOT take a village to keep people saved.

  111. Holly,

    I think I have heard of that line of reasoning concerning the churches before. Also, you made a good point about the “overcomer” in I John 5:4-5. I believe that overcomers are believers. I have not yet taken the view as far as some free gracers do that “overcomer” is referring to believers that will obtain certain special rewards and or privileges in the millienial kingdom. Though not all believers have or will necessarily receive the same rewards – if that makes sense.

    Likewise, I’m glad you mentioned Piper. I just saw a clip the other day where he referred to those who were lukewarm as the unsaved. It certainly fits with a Calvinist’s interpretation of the Bible but does does not fit with the Bible or the actual background and context of Rev 3.

    Jim F

  112. Hi,

    Thank you all for your interpretations of the passages. I really appreciate the guidance, revelation is a difficult book for me to understand

    Thanks,
    Jesse

  113. Don’t you think that it is a problem that there is no evidence in the Early Christian Church of the belief that “once saved, always saved”? In fact, quite the opposite. There are plenty of early Christian pastors and theologians in the first three to four centuries AD who warn Christians not to be complacent in their faith and live a life of willful sin…lest they perish to eternal damnation.

    I grew up evangelical. I witnessed many persons pray the Sinner’s Prayer or go forward during an Altar Call and make what seemed to be very genuine professions of faith. These people then went on to witness to others about salvation through faith in Christ, attend Church and prayer meetings, etc. for a number of years.

    They NOW never darken a church door or read a Bible. One person has converted to be a Muslim to marry her Arab husband, completely abandoning the Christian faith. I know of others who became murderers and child molesters and are unrepentant. I know others who are now living lives of sexual immorality and believe that there is nothing wrong with their behavior.

    Do you really believe that if one of these former believers dies…he or she will go to heaven???

    I know one Lutheran mother who’s daughter became an evangelical and had a “born again” experience. A short time later the daughter started living with her boyfriend. Her mother warned her that what she was doing is sin, and that ongoing willful sin against God places her salvation in jeopardy. The daughter replied, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m covered. I was born again, and if you are born again there is no way you can lose your salvation no matter what you do. Lutherans are wrong.”

    Neither infant baptism nor an adult “born again” experience is a “Get-into-heaven-free” card! Salvation only occurs by the grace of God, received through faith. No faith, no salvation.

    The Christian whose faith and trust is in the Lord need never worry about his eternal security/his salvation. Our salvation is not dependent on how many good works we do. But, the believer who takes his salvation for granted, turns his back on God and lives a life of sin is endangering his soul and very well may wake up one day in hell!

    The doctrine of Eternal Security is an invention of the Calvinists, codified at the Synod of Dort. It is false teaching. It did not exist in the Early Church. It is a license to sin! The Doctrine of Eternal Security is not scriptural!

    I encourage evangelicals to read this Lutheran statement on this issue:

    {Link removed by admin – false doctrine}

  114. Gary,

    Thanks for visiting. Of course you understand that we disagree with many of your premises. You seem to be taking man’s words and church teaching as being above the Bible, God’s Word.

    1. You said: “there is no evidence in the Early Christian Church of the belief that “once saved, always saved”?” Despite your claims of “the church,” Jesus Himself said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE. Gary, if that is not eternal security and “once saved, always saved” there is no Truth in the Universe.

    2. You said, “They [who said a “sinners” prayer”] NOW never darken a church door or read a Bible. etc…” Gary, you do not know if they truly believed in Jesus… and if they did, you are judging their salvation on their behavior. God does not do that. He judges our eternity by our one time decision to trust Jesus Christ as Savior. He knows our mind.

    3. You said: “Do you really believe that if one of these former believers dies…he or she will go to heaven???” Gary, we do not know these folks, their mind nor their Faith. The Lord knows whether they have trusted in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus alone for their eternal salvation.

    4.You said: “The doctrine of Eternal Security is an invention of the Calvinists, codified at the Synod of Dort. It is false teaching. It did not exist in the Early Church. It is a license to sin! The Doctrine of Eternal Security is not scriptural!”

    Gary, I wonder — are you studying God’s Word at all or the doctrine of your church? How secure is your eternity if you trust your good works, behavior etc, plus your church and your “faith.” Would you not rather put your faith in trusting Jesus Christ ALONE and be absolutely guaranteed ETERNAL LIFE freely, eternally, no obligation on your part to secure or keep it?

    Gary, if you insist on adding works or behavior to faith and you die in that condition, you may well be one of those who reject the salvation by Grace Jesus offers you freely — and you may be one of those of whom you speak who ends up in hell. We are here to help you make a decision to prevent that.

    “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Romans 11:6

    and:

    Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” Titus 3:5

    Praying for you, Gary.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  115. Gary, I just prayed that you would trust in Christ alone, if you have never done that, and that you would return to the truth of the Gospel if you once believed.

  116. Hi Gary,

    The Calvinists don’t understand eternal security. Also, what is “called” the early church got many things wrong and we are still struggling with many of those false doctrines today. We must look back to God’s Word directly for the basis of our belief.

    You said “But, the believer who takes his salvation for granted, turns his back on God and lives a life of sin is endangering his soul and very well may wake up one day in hell!”

    A believer that has salvation can’t lose it. Eternal life lasts forever or it wouldn’t be eternal life. Basically you are saying that eternal isn’t really eternal and that it is conditional during this life. You would have to back that up with scripture.

    It is quite simple really. Either you believe God or you don’t. Do you believe Him when he says whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life? Will you believe the gospel (I Cor 15) and trust Christ as your savior from the penalty of sin? The choice is yours and I’m praying for you. If you have believed the gospel then I pray that you can see the truth of eternal security. It is after all Biblical.

    Jim F

  117. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Greetings Gary,

    Thank you for sharing your current convictions.

    As Jack pointed out, Salvation must be obtained and maintained by grace alone or works alone…it cannot be a mixture of both…it’s one or the other. (Romans 11:6; Romans 4:4-5) God declares that salvation is by free grace alone (Romans 6:23). In contrast, Lordship salvation is by definition works based.

    Being a gift, I am NOT saved BY good works before or after salvation. Rather, I am saved FOR good works. God desires and urges good works (Romans 12:1-2). We “should” produce works (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8; Romans 7:4). They provide a profitable and “visible” witness to other people (James 2:14-26; Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). Good works will be rewarded (1 Corinthians 3:8; Colossians 3:24; 2 John 1:8). Lack of works does, however, produce a loss, but not a loss of eternal salvation (which is a free gift), rather a loss of profitable rewards (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

    Lordship “salvationists” must attempt to judge (but never truly know) HOW MUCH “fruit” or HOW MANY “works” (or how little sin) are sufficient or necessary to prove that you really are a believer in Christ. As a result, many are in a perpetual or intermittent state of uncertainty and doubting. Bottom line: You and I have never done and can never do enough works to merit our salvation (James 2:10; Galatians 3:10).

    If good works don’t save you, then lack of good works don’t damn you. Otherwise, salvation is by works and Jesus death on the cross was insufficient (John 19:30; Hebrews 9:26).

  118. Matt:

    Powerful reply to Gary. Thanks!

  119. I read something today, that someone wrote John Piper regarding discipleship being separate from salvation. He calls it a two part experience which he says is false. He uses the ESV to suggest the real experience is God granting repentance, granting for them to believe, and taking their heart of stone, and putting in a heart of flesh (citing 2 tim 2:25; phil 1:29; Ez 36:26 among others).

    He goes on to tell the story of a monk, who was converted ‘remarkably by the sovereign work of God when saying his evening prayers in the monastery’. (Note, it wasn’t by hearing the gospel.

    Piper says, ”The Bible makes it plain, I believe, that people who persistently refuse the command of Jesus’ lordship have no warrant for believing that they are saved. Such people should not be comforted that they are saved simply because there was a time when they “believed” gospel facts…”

    As if we ‘persistently’ refuse Jesus as Lord… Aren’t these men at all afraid they are enemies of the gospel by saying these things?

    He continues to say what it is that Paul preached as the gospel (using the ESV), and quoting 2 Cor 4:5, instead of the KJV rendering, preaching of Christ Jesus the Lord, he quotes it as, “Jesus Christ as Lord”.

    There was more, but nowhere did I see him preach Christ and Him crucified. I did see several references to those who belong to Christ having crucified the flesh (and he said “ALL of them!”). I didn’t see Jesus dying on the cross, but several references to ‘picking up your cross’ or ‘bearing our own cross’. The only resurrection he reference was those who have done good (in quoting Jn 5:28-29), under a sub-heading, “The Necessity of Doing Good”, no wonder he needs a village to stay saved.
    (I have saved the link and screen shot as some links have a way of going away).

  120. Thanks Holly,

    If you will please send the link and screenshot privately I will begin building my collection.

    Thanks,
    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  121. Will do Jack, on the Piper link, he also says, “You Did Not Receive A Half-Christ” (of course implying that is what we have done).

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