Author Archives: califgracer

Notes on Calvinism: Calvinism, a Rigged Carnival Game

Carnival Games
Remember going to a carnival as a child? Pretty fun; pretty exciting, right? I used to love the carnival games. So magical! So enticing! For a small price of a couple of quarters, along with a bit of skill and luck, I just knew that I could win one of those giant stuffed pandas, or a camera, or maybe even that alluring stereo set on the top shelf. Sadly, all that I ever won was a goldfish, a five-cent goldfish for a fifty-cent game fee. Rigged carnival games have been around for generations. Here are few of the most common:

1. Shooting Gallery: Air guns are armed with tiny BBs, air pressure is lowered and the sights are bent to skew the shots.

2. Land the Dime on the Plate: Plates are sprayed with silicone to make the coin slide right off.

3. Milk Bottle Pyramid: Lower bottles are filled with lead weights. Softballs are very soft indeed, being filled with straw or sawdust.

4. Basketball Shoot: Balls are overinflated; rims are undersized, sometimes slightly oval shaped and set higher than regulation height.

5. Balloon Dart Throw: Darts are lighter that store brands; tips are filed and dulled; balloons are underinflated and thick.

6. Ring Toss: Rings are made of hard bouncy plastic; their openings are only a fraction of an inch larger than the bottle tops on which they are supposed to land.

7. Sledge Hammer Ring the Bell: Hammers large but underweighted; carnival operator can apply “brake” as desired.

In many ways, Calvinism is very much like a rigged carnival game. For the Calvinist, some are prechosen to win and others are prechosen to lose. The individual has no say in his own destiny, no opportunity to trust in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone for salvation, as the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18, 36; John 5:24; John 6:29, 40; John 11:25-26; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 4:5. But in the case of Calvinism, “losing” involves much more than spending a few dollars at a carnival; it means spending eternity in hell, sent there by a whimsical Calvinist “god.” Yes, Calvinism is a rigged “game” and a very deadly one as well.

Listen to the words of Kent Kelly as he describes in detail the false “god” of Calvinism: a true ogre! (Source, Kent Kelly, “Inside the Tulip,” Southern Pines, NC: Calvary Press, 1986, page 59):

“The sovereign god of the Calvinist planned in a past eternity that billions of men, women, and children would be tormented in the Lake of Fire forever. he had no desire that any of them would be saved. This god was well aware that because of the sin nature received at conception, they could do nothing but become Hell-deserving sinners by the very fact of their existence. This same god said that the basis for their condemnation would be a failure to believe in the Saviour for them, and no atonement was made available in which they could believe. he sent forth people into all the world to command these billions of men, women, and children to believe in a Saviour who was not their Saviour. he commanded them to repent knowing that he had personally selected them to burn in Hell before they ever received their sin nature. This god of the Calvinist created billions of vessels of wrath fitted for destruction—commanded them to do what he had willed them unable to do—then sent them to Hell for not doing it. If this is your god, you have my sympathy.”

John MacArthur Speaks on Predestination: A Rebuttal

John MacArthur Speaks on Predestination Question:

A Grace-Based Rebuttal

Source of the MacArthur Interview: Shepherdsconference.org, 2010, Media, General Session 5, an Interview with John MacArthur
Johnny Mac
Introductory Comments:
Generally speaking, when I review an article or interview, I will select several salient statements upon which to comment. This methodology usually works well, but, at times individuals have made the accusation that the writer’s or speaker’s statements have been misquoted or taken out of context. In order to head off this dodge, I have chosen to print the MacArthur interview on the subject, “The Question of Predestination,” in its entirety. My brief, clearly-labeled comments or responses to MacArthur’s open questions and statements will be inserted throughout the text of the interview; they will be in [brackets].

Note: To view the article in its entirety, go to:

http://califgracer.wordpress.com/

John MacArthur on Predestination:

A Grace-Based Rebuttal

Source of the MacArthur Interview: Shepherdsconference.org, 2010, Media, General Session 5, an Interview with John MacArthur

[Interspersed with bracketed comments]

Question posed to MacArthur:

“Why witness? How do we tell people that God loves them and that Jesus Christ did not die for them? Or do we tell them that?
[Inserted comment: A great question posed to John MacArthur. I have often myself asked Calvinists a similar question: "If God's got it all slated as to who gets to go to heaven and who must go to hell, and the individual has abolutely no say in the matter, then, WHY HAVE MISSIONS?" To date, I have never heard anyone give a logical biblical answer to that question. Let's see whether John MacArthur will be the first] . . . .

MacArthur answers:

Well, you tell them whatever the Bible tells you to tell them. And the Bible tells you to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. That’s what you do because that’s what the Scripture says.”

[Inserted Comment: Right so far, John: Mark 16:15. And verse 16 tells why Jesus commanded the preaching of the gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, 1 Cor. 15:1-8)---so people would believe and become saved (cf. Acts 16:30-31); he also warns that those who refuse to believe (right through the point of death) will be lost (cf. John 3:18, John 5:40, 47). Christ Jesus would never command something be preached to the world if that proclamation had no possibility of efficacious results, i.e., if the individual had no ability to respond to the message in belief (Calvinists teach "Total Inability," the "T" of the Calvinist acronym "TULIP," that is, that men and women are completely dead in their sins and have absolutely no ability to respond in believing faith to the gospel of Christ Jesus). In view of the multitude of verses that call people to believe and thus be saved, e.g., John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31; John 5:24; John 6:29, 40; John 7:37-38 (ALL are welcome); John 11:25-26, this (Calvinist) teaching is UNBIBLICAL and illogical.]

MacArthur continues: “Any tension you have between that and the doctrine of divine election and predestination; any tension you feel in those areas, I feel. I feel the same tension. I ask the same question. I don’t know that there’s some kind of quick answer to the question. I am, however, happy to concede that God can resolve all things that I can’t (crowd laughter and applause). Really! I don’t expect the view and you shouldn’t expect of me to be able to unscrew the ‘unscrutable’ [inscrutable?]. Uh, you, you, really don’t think that I’m going to solve all the vast theological dilemmas that have existed since the Scriptures were penned. [Interviewer inserts, ‘Actually, some people do.’ (crowd laughter; then MacArthur continues)] Ya; the best answer to this question is, ‘My brother, I feel your pain’ (crowd laughter).”

[Inserted Comment: Really, Dr. MacArthur? The best answers that you can give are, "I feel the same tension," "I ask the same question," "I feel your pain"? Might it be that these issues are "painful" and "unresolvable" only because you view the Bible and the gospel through skewed Calvinist lenses? Christ called us, not to live in tension, anguish and fear, but in trust and rest in his finished work on our behalf. Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." ]

Mac Arthur: “I, uh, I’m not here to give you an answer, but, I will tell you this: I do not believe that Jesus died for nobody. I believe he died for somebody. And I believe he died specifically for those who would believe in him, and those who believe in him are those who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit based upon the eternal sovereign electing purpose of God. I think his atonement was an actual one, not a potential one. I don’t think that it was a general one; I think it was a specific one. I think it was a real death for sin. The issue here is the nature of the atonement.”

[Inserted Comment: Wow, Dr. MacArthur, you are speaking at a leadership conference at a question and answer session, and you say, "I'm not here to give you an answer"? Let's look at some of your statements: "I do not believe that Jesus died for nobody. I believe he died for somebody." Response to MacArthur: The Bible declares that Jesus died for everyone, for the world: John 6:33 "The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto THE WORLD." 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 eternal life." 1 John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of THE WHOLE WORLD." 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some me count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH but that ALL should come to repentance." 1 Timothy 2:3-6 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time."

Yet, sadly, NOT ALL THE WORLD WILL RECEIVE his gracious gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) of salvation: John 3:36 (which clearly demonstrates man's free will to accept or reject God's gracious gift of salvation through believing in his Son, cf. Matthew 23:37; John 3:18) "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."]

To view the entire article, go to:

http://califgracer.wordpress.com/

Free Grace Gospel Tract: Let’s Build it Together

saved by grace

Greetings Free Grace Friends!

This is a new project which I trust will be instructive, beneficial and a good way to demonstrate the Truth of the Free Grace Gospel as opposed to the Folly of other “gospels.” Anyone can participate, but the administration reserves the right to review and possibly edit some of the comments for appropriate content, grammar or length.

Here are the rules:

There will be two categories listed in the tract. The first will be comprised of genuine presentations of the Free Grace Gospel of the Bible. The second category will be made up of poor or false presentations of statements which are commonly referred to as, “the gospel.” Please keep your statements BRIEF (one or two lines per category maximum) as this process is meant to assemble an easy-to-read free-flowing tract. Brief Scripture references or Scripture quotations are fine (King James refs. preferred). Please limit your comments to one entry per category per day. This restriction will allow lots of people to take part in the project. As the entries come in, they will be checked as indicated above, and, if appropriate, they will then be added to the tract. Well, that’s about it for now. Thanks, in advance, for participating. Here are the two categories: “Proper, Biblical, Free Grace Presentations of the Gospel,” and, “Inappropriate, False or Erroneous Presentations of What is Called, “the gospel”

Proper, Biblical, Free Grace Presentations of the Gospel:

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31)

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Jesus Christ was fully man yet fully God. He lived a sinless life and died on a cross, shedding his blood in the process, as a payment for our sin. It was only by a perfect sacrifice that our sin could be forgiven. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. He is in heaven and is the only means by which man can be saved from the penalty of sin and thereby escape eternal damnation.
Do you realize that you are a sinner that stands condemned before God? Rom 3:23 Do you understand that Christ died for you? Will you this very moment trust Christ alone to be your Savior? The Bible says that whosoever believes on Him (Christ) shall have everlasting life. John 3:16.

“Trust in Christ alone for your Salvation and in nothing else.”

We don’t “do” anything to be saved. It is a free gift. We only need to BELIEVE!

Shorthand equation…: Eternal Salvation = Faith + Nothing

There really is no other way to obtain salvation than this:

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
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.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
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.

(true) Acts 16;30-31 “what Must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ . . .

True: “We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood.”

Genuine:
Romans 6:23(NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Our salvation was infinitely costly to God, but it is absolutely free to us.” Quote by Dave Branon.

1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Eph 2:8-9 For by grace… There is no price that we can add to obtain salvation. Christ paid the price. There is no additional price to be paid on our part. We must simply put out faith in Christ alone to save us.

Statements Below are Inappropriate, False or Erroneous Presentations of What is Called, “the gospel” (again, these statements below are NOT the true gospel of the Bible).

“Turn or burn”

“Faith sandwich” – works on the outside, faith in Christ on the inside. Can also be served “open face”. Example:
Works – Repent of your sins
Faith – Place your faith in Jesus
Works – Surrender to Jesus as Lord

A sampling of “the MacArthur” plan of salvation (for the full message, see: Comments, Holly’s list of MacArthur sayings). Sample: “Becoming a Christian is not easy. It’s hard. Another way to say all that is that the Kingdom opens up to those who seek with all their hearts. You’re not going to sleep your way into the Kingdom. The Kingdom requires earnest endeavor, untiring energy . . .”

Two false gospel quotes: 1. Calvinism is the Gospel. (Sermons, Vol. 1, p. 50) Spurgeon . . . . 2. I believe that Christ came into the world not to put men into a salvable state, but into a saved state. Not to put them where they could save themselves, but to do the work in them and for them, from first to last. (Sermons, Vol. 3, p. 34) Spurgeon

Inappropriate expressions I hear a lot:

“Count the cost”

“Forsake your life”

There are so many mountains in your life, so many obstacles in your life; so many things in your life that seek to derail you−to stop you. And they’re going to stay there because some of those things just don’t go away by counseling. They go away by falling on your face before God until He delivers you. ~Paul Washer

So I would like to add that the notion of “praying a sinner’s prayer” or “asking Jesus into your heart” is one example of a false or faulty gospel.

Erroneous faith + works analogy: Salvation is like a row boat. One oar is faith. The other oar is works. If one uses one oar only, the boat goes in circles. If both oars are used, the boat travels in a straight path to its destination (i.e., heaven). But we are not going to Heaven in a rowboat. Rather, we are carried to heaven on the shoulders of the good Shepherd, Jesus Christ!

(Illustration above based on a Dr. Harry Ironside sermon)

False quotes:

• “Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God… If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”
― John Piper, God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself

“Gospel repentance is tapping into the joy of our union with Christ in order to weaken our need to do anything contrary to God’s heart.” [@DailyKeller]
“You are not saved by love, joy, peace…You are saved by faith not fruit, BUT you are never saved by fruitless faith.” [@dailykeller]

And finally today, one more head scratcher from Spurgeon:

“Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul.” Spurgeon

(false statements )-faith alone justifies but the faith that justifies is never alone; also salvation is free but it can cost you everything (these two are not for the tract but I couldn’t resist mentioning them—kept them in, they are worth mentioning)

(this is a common tract prayer) believe in Jesus, feel sorry for your sins and turn or be willing to turn from your sins etc, etc.

More false definitions of even what faith is, by W.E. Vine as quoted by Macarthur in “the Gospel according to Jesus”:

Faith consists of “a firm conviction…a personal surrender…[and] conduct inspired by such surrender” (173-174). According to this definition, faith includes conduct, that is, works. Faith is conviction, surrender, and conduct.

False: “We believe that all who receive by faith alone, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who confess Him as such before their fellow men, are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God.”

Here was one on FB: Instead of hugging and accepting a sinner in their sin, how about warning them of the truth of hell damnation and salvation through repentance to Jesus? Few warn because most are with sinners on the broad path to destruction. TIME TO REPENT AND DEDICATE TO JESUS AND BE SEPARATE FROM SIN. . . . When asked what one did with the woman at the well or later they asked about why Paul still sinned, this was the answer: Dear soul, those whom were forgiven were changed and left their sin…Jesus didn’t forgive those who stayed in their sins…He didnt say to the pharisees who refused to repent “Your sins are forgiven” Dont be fooled if you stay in sin and won’t turn from the broad path, then you won’t find the forgiveness needed to enter heaven…Rather hell instead…Time for you to repent and seek to know Jesus and he will lead you and forgive you…….

What You Must Do:
God commands all men everywhere to repent of their sins, turn to God, and believe in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to Him and flee from the wrath to come! To repent is to turn away from everything in your life that goes against God’s will, including your works, words, and thoughts.
Stop fighting against God! Fall down before Him and stop trying to justify yourself and think you’re good enough. Admit your wickedness before a holy God, your helplessness to do anything to please Him, and trust in nothing except what Christ has done.
If you come to Christ, repenting of your sins and believing in Him, you will be saved. . . .

Repentance: 1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent
2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins “Repentance (metanoia, ‘change of mind’) involves a turning with contrition from sin to God; the repentant sinner is in the proper condition to accept the divine forgiveness.” (F. F. Bruce. The Acts of the Apostles [Greek Text Commentary], London: Tyndale, 1952, p. 97.)

On the topic of salvation in one sermon MacArthur compared it to an exchange. He said, “It’s an exchange of all that I am for all that he is.”

The Mistrusting Groom: A Portrait of Lordship Salvation’s Capricious “god”

just married 3

The following story illustrates the vindictiveness and absurdity of the false “god” of Lordship Salvation, an unbiblical “god” who denies that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31); a whimsical “god” who denies assurance of salvation to all; a “god” of man’s creation who demands the promise of a lifetime of obedient [some say "over-the-top," "on-fire"] unwavering commitment—failure to fulfill that promise for a lifetime will, for the purveyor of Lordship Salvation teaching prove that one was never saved to begin with. What a mean ridiculous unbiblical “god” is this “god” of Lordship Salvation.

Source for the following story: Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, “What’s His Is Ours,” from ChristianityToday.com, September 14, 2012, vol. 56, No. 8, Pg. 32.

“Picture this: a bride and groom dashing out of the church, through the showers of birdseed and into the limo, all aglow with the light of love from the vows they’ve just taken. In the backseat of the car, en route to the reception, they embrace and kiss. Then the groom announces that he has something to say.

“Now you realize, my dear,” he begins, “that, as far as I’m concerned, we can’t really say we’re married, because I don’t know yet what kind of wife you’ll turn out to be. I hope for the best, of course. And I’ll help you all I can. But only at the end of our lives will I be able to tell if you’ve lived up to my expectations. If you have—then, and only then, I’ll agree that we truly got married today. But if you don’t, then as far as I’m concerned we were never married at all. After all, how can I call you my wife if you fail to be a wife to me?”

Under such circumstances, it will not be a happy honeymoon—if there’s one at all. A wife cannot be a wife if her whole existence as wife is conditional and under constant scrutiny (likewise for a husband). She will certainly fail. This groom has completely misunderstood what just happened. A marital vow is a forward-looking creative act, not a retrospective judgment. The couple that tied the knot only 60 minutes ago is every bit as married as the couple celebrating their 60th anniversary. Whatever happens in the course of the marriage does not affect the “married-ness” of that couple.”

Lordship Salvation for Kids? “Crazy Love” Lite: A Review of Francis Chan’s Children’s Book, “Halfway Herbert”

“Crazy Love” Lite: A Review of Francis Chan’s
Children’s Book, “Halfway Herbert” (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook Publishers, 2010)

by Califgracer

Halfway Herb

At First Glance:

Here’s a sampling of praises from glowing online reviews of Francis Chan’s children’s book, “Halfway Herbert”:

· “Excellent children’s book!”
· “great book for children of all ages!”
· “awesome book for kids and adults alike.”
· “a favorite with my children”
· “the book is great!”
· “an excellent book that helps teach honesty, integrity, hard work, and doing your best work.”

After taking a brief glimpse at the book, cover to cover, my superficial assessment was somewhat in line with the comments listed above. The artwork is attractive, bright and colorful. The narration is pithy with large letters for children to be able to follow along. The book’s layout is skillfully organized with artful interspersing of pictures and narration. The basic theme seemed innocuous, emphasizing virtues such as achieving goals, integrity, proper enthusiasm, and honesty. If my children were still young and I came across this book in a secular bookstore, not knowing anything about the book or its author, I might be inclined to pick up a copy. However, let’s investigate the book, “Halfway Herbert,” a little further.

A Closer Examination:

First, let’s look at the author of “Halfway Herbert,” Francis Chan. Chan is a former pastor from Simi Valley, CA, who now spends much of his time speaking at various conferences nationwide. He is the author of the best-selling book (two million plus copies sold to date), “Crazy Love.” He teaches and preaches a caustic, judgmental, all-or-nothing, brand of Lordship Salvation which absolutely decimates assurance of salvation for the believer who follows his teachings. For the unbeliever, his teachings may thwart that person from experiencing genuine Biblical salvation through trusting in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone for salvation—Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; John 11:25-26. This fact has been well chronicled at Expreacherman.com. See, for example, the articles:

http://expreacherman.com/2012/07/22/francis-chans-latest-speech-to-5000-christian-youths-questioning-their-faith/

http://expreacherman.com/2012/03/27/francis-chans-latest-pronouncement-failure-to-help-the-poor-could-send-you-to-hell/

Chan’s book, “Crazy Love,” could be viewed as a manual for Lordship Salvation teaching (a.k.a., Lordship Faith or Lordship Probation). In “Crazy Love,” Francis Chan concocts his own artificial list of characteristics of what he dubs, “the lukewarm.” In a nutshell, “lukewarm” means basically any churchgoer who does not live up to some lofty, on-fire, over-the-top level of service for God, whatever all of that entails. According to Chan, all of the “lukewarm” are unbelievers bound for hell. To read a complete review of “Crazy Love,” coming from a Free Grace perspective, see:

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

Since “Halfway Herbert” comes from the pen of Francis Chan, I would expect for there to be an emphasis on Lordship Salvation in the book. I was not wrong, although Chan’s approach was more subdued and veiled in this book written for children. Was “Halfway Herbert” intended to be a “Crazy Love” Lordship Salvation message targeted at children? The top headline on the rear of the book answers that question in no uncertain terms. It boldly and proudly refers to the book as, “The ‘Crazy Love’ Message for Kids!” I refer to the book as, “Crazy Love Lite.”

Content of the Book “Halfway Herbert”

In the book, “Halfway Herbert,” we are introduced to a young boy who has quite a problem: he does everything halfway. He eats only half of his meals; he brushes only half of his teeth; he does only half of his homework; he plays soccer only half-heartedly; he tells half truths. After we find out about Herbert, he experiences a minor bicycle accident, denting his father’s car, and then lying about the incident to his dad. His dad lovingly admonishes him and then uses the occasion to give him a Lordship Salvation type “salvation” message :

“Jesus doesn’t want us to love Him halfway. God doesn’t want us to live out of just half of our hearts. He tells us this in the Bible.” (Chan proceeds in the book to tell the story of a man building a tower, from Luke 14:28-30; a classic text used by Lordship Salvation teachers to try to prove that genuine salvation requires first “counting the cost.” In actuality, the text refers to the cost of discipleship, NOT salvation.) Chan continues: “This man didn’t just try halfway with his tower, and we shouldn’t follow Jesus halfway either. He deserves our whole hearts, our total devotion.” “But I’ve never been able to do things all the way,” cried Herbert. “God knows that none of us can love Him all the way by ourselves. So He gave us a friend called the Holy Spirit to help us live out of our whole hearts,” Herbert’s dad said. “When we decide to follow Jesus all the way, God’s Spirit fills up our hearts and helps us obey God.” “Can God’s Spirit help me?” Herbert asked. “Yes,” his dad answered. “God loves when we ask for His help!” So Herbert prayed, “Jesus, I am sorry I haven’t obeyed You. I want to follow You, but I don’t want to follow You halfway. I need Your help. Please give me Your Spirit so I can know how to follow You.” God answered Herbert’s prayer. Now he finishes things! . . . He also tries to obey what he reads in his Bible. He isn’t perfect, but God’s Spirit helps him.

Closing Thoughts

So what can we take away from our brief look at the book “Halfway Herbert?” Some would certainly say, “It’s just a simple harmless book, written strictly for children, which has a nice sweet innocent message.” But think about it for a moment. If the book is really what it claims to be, namely, “The Crazy Love Message for Kids!”, then, by self admission, it is a declaration of a false gospel, namely, Lordship Salvation. Did you notice that nowhere in the father-son dialog was anything mentioned about trusting in Christ Jesus alone by grace alone through faith alone for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:30-31)? On the contrary, all you see is a call to striving, a call to working harder for God, for attempting to do your best—namely, a works-for-salvation approach—a FALSE gospel! And it’s targeted at KIDS! How tragic!

Notes on Calvin and Calvinism: Was John Calvin Really a Calvinist?

A Possible Sheep in Wolves’ Clothes or a Hard-core Calvinist Through and Through?—Notes on Calvin and Calvinism: Was John Calvin Really a Calvinist?
.
Calvin or not

Sources:

Dr. Phil Stringer, “Was John Calvin a Calvinist?” Grace Leadership Conference, 2011, Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church, Lake Zurich, IL.

Kent Kelly, “Inside the Tulip,” Southern Pines, NC, 1986.

Calvin’s Commentaries and Calvin’s “Institutes.”

Introduction:

In recent years, there has been a growing trend in Christianity for people to claim that John Calvin, the founder of modern Calvinism, did not really believe or teach what is being taught by Calvinists today. Many want to hold Calvin up as some sort of an iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation while, at the same time, they wish to distance themselves from the radical unbiblical teachings attributed to Calvin. They claim that the Five Points of Calvinism, known by the acronym “TULIP,” were actually invented by the Synod of Dort, over fifty years after Calvin’s death, having little or nothing to do with what Calvin actually taught. Some even want to go so far as to claim that Calvin really taught a Free Grace gospel. Startling!

Who are these people, mentioned above?

1. “New” Calvinists. This group generally holds to the modern five points of Calvinism but stands against “double predestination,” sometimes referred to as, “hypercalvinism,” the teaching that God predestined some for heaven and some for hell (neither can do anything to change that fate). They claim that Calvin did not teach double predestination.
2. “Moderate” Calvinists. They hold to only one to four of the five points of Calvinism. Most from this category would object to “limited atonement,” (the “L” of TULIP) the Calvinist false, unbiblical teaching that Christ died only for the elect. Some “moderate” Calvinists also deny that their concept of Calvinism teaches Lordship “Salvation.” Some also deny that Calvin taught Lordship “Salvation.”
3. Free Grace believers. Now, this is astonishing! But, yes, there are actually some who hold to the Free Grace Gospel of the Bible who think that John Calvin was, in reality, a Free Grace theologian! “He has just gotten a bad rap,” they say. How naïve is this! I submit that those who make this claim have read only short isolated clips of what Calvin wrote. Folks such as this love to answer Calvinists by saying, “Well, even Calvin himself didn’t believe what you teach.” Frankly, it is an impossible stretch to demonstrate that Calvin taught Free Grace theology. His standard pattern of writing throughout his commentaries is, when confronted with a Bible text that unmistakably declares that Christ died for the sins of ALL the world and, further, when the Bible explains the Gospel message of God’s Free Grace salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, Calvin initially states what the text says plainly (Free Grace); HOWEVER, he quickly filters the text through his preconceived skewed theological construct, restating, contradicting and denying what the text of the Bible clearly declares. This theological filter appears to have originated from his background of being a Roman Catholic Priest and, for a time, a humanist. He also held the teachings of Augustine in the highest regard.

Was Calvin simply a moderate or limited Calvinist, a Free Grace Gospel teacher who has been misquoted, or, in reality, a strong Calvinist or Hyper-Calvinist? Let’s look at some quotations from Calvin and see what he really said.

From Calvin’s Commentaries
1. John 6:33 KJV: “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” Calvin’s response: “This passage teaches that the whole world is dead to God, except so far as Christ quickens it, because life will be found nowhere else than in him.” NOTE: Calvin’s comment here affirms four of the five points of Calvinism (T, U, L, I) and denies that God gave his Son to the whole world (while God’s gift of salvation through belief in his Son is offered to the whole world, sadly, many will reject his gift—Matt. 23:37).
2. John 3:16 KJV: “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.” Calvin’s response: Calvin begins by acknowledging the clear meaning of the verse, but then quickly reverses his position: Calvin: “Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith.” Additionally, Calvin said, “We must not assume that ‘the world’ means every single individual human being, ‘world’ refers to those who have the capacity and ability to believe.” NOTE: Calvin affirms in this statement, unconditional election, limited atonement and irresistible grace (U, L and I of the Calvinist acronym TULIP). Dr. Phil Stringer relates further that Calvin repeatedly says throughout his Commentaries that “all,” or, “the world” mean, to him, all kinds of human beings, some out of each class or race of people, or ranks of life, not every human being. Calvin, thereby, attempts to dodge the clear straightforward meaning of “all” or “all the world,” in Scripture, as meaning EVERYONE. As Dr. Stringer put it so aptly, “Even a child can understand that all means ALL.”
3. Matthew 23:37 KJV: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Calvin’s response: “Again, when the sophists seize on this passage, to prove free will, and to set aside the secret predestination of God, the answer is easy. God wills to gather all men, say they; and therefore all are at liberty to come, and their will does not depend on the election of God. I reply: The will of God, which is here mentioned, must be judged from the result. For since by his word he calls all men indiscriminately to salvation, and since the end of preaching is, that all should betake themselves to his guardianship and protection, it may justly be said that he wills to gather all to himself. It is not, therefore, the secret purpose of God, but his will, which is manifested by the nature of the word, that is here described; for, undoubtedly, whomsoever he efficaciously wills to gather, he inwardly draws by his Spirit, and does not merely invite by the outward voice of man.” NOTE: Calvin holds to the classic Calvinist denial of free will while affirming the Calvinist U, L and I.
4. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Calvin’s response: once again, Calvin makes an initial affirmation of what the verse plainly states, but he quickly denies his affirmation with the following statement, “But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world.” Comment: Calvin clearly twists the clear meaning of the text, pushing his notion of limited atonement.
5. 1 John 2:2 KJV: “And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Calvin’s response: “Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation. . . . It seems to me that the Apostle is to be understood as speaking only of all those who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, over the whole world. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world.” Once again, Calvin denies the simple straightforward message of 1 John 2:2, while pushing his own theological platform of limited atonement.
6. James 2:17 KJV: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Calvin remarks, “He [James] says that faith is dead, being by itself, that is, when destitute of good works. We hence conclude that it is indeed no faith, for when dead, it does not properly retain the name.” James 2:18 KJV: “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Calvin’s response: “Shew me by works thy faith; for since it is not an idle thing, it must necessarily be proved by works. The meaning then is, Unless thy faith brings forth fruits, I deny that thou hast any faith. This verse is a key to the meaning of James: faith is to be proved by works; then faith properly justifies and saves, and works prove its genuineness.” COMMENT: Calvin makes the standard error of Lordship “Salvation” teachers in misinterpreting James. James’ epistle clearly speaks to believers about the quality of their faith, NOT the reality of faith. Calvin unmistakably declares the Calvinist teaching of perseverance, the “P” of the Calvinist TULIP. Calvinist perseverance is nothing other than the false teaching of Lordship “Salvation.” For a detailed look at this subject, see Dr. Tom Cucuzza’s outstanding book, “Secure Forever! God’s Promise or Our Perseverance,” St. Cloud, MN: Xulon Press, 2008 (see the link on the right column of Expreacherman.com).
7. Finally, if there were any doubt left in anyone’s mind about where Calvin stood on what is known today as, “Calvinism,” look at this main title in Calvin’s “Institutes” section dealing with the subject of predestination. The title itself leaves no doubt on Calvin’s position: “Of the Eternal Election by Which God has Predestined Some to Salvation and Others Predestination in Hell.” This title and statement of his position, declares Calvin to be, not only a Calvinist, but a HYPERCALVINIST!

Lordship “Salvation” Authors/Speakers Francis Chan and David Platt Team Up to Create the “Multiply” Discipleship Movement

discipleship

Francis Chan, author of best-selling book, “Crazy Love,” and David Platt, author of the book “Radical,” haved teamed up to form a new movement called, “Multiply.”

On the face of this undertaking, the motivation may seem harmless, perhaps even noble—to motivate, to encourage, to enable people to make disciples. But we must analyze this situation more deeply by asking a couple of pertinent questions:

What happened to the gospel? The Bible declares that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31). Why is it that this new “movement” pushes discipleship but not salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone?

Make disciples of whom or of what theology? A disciple is simply a “follower.” But whom or what are people being asked to follow? Buddhists have their disciples (followers); so do Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. Promoters of Lordship “Salvation” have their disciples too.

As I read through some of the materials on the “Multiplymovement.com” website, it became quickly obvious that the “discipleship” principle being promoted was the standard radical Lordship “salvation” agenda which David Platt and Francis Chan have pushed for years through their radical LS books, videos, sermons and articles.

Here are a few excerpts from the Multiplymovement.com website:

From Part I, # 1, page 1, “What is a Disciple?”:

“It’s impossible to be a disciple or a follower of someone and not end up like that person. . . . Yet somehow many have come to believe that a person can be a ‘Christian’ without being like Christ. A ‘follower’ who doesn’t follow. How does that make any sense? Many people in the church have decided to take on the name of Christ and nothing else. This would be like Jesus walking up to those first disciples and saying, ‘Hey, would you guys mind identifying yourselves with Me in some way? Don’t worry, I don’t actually care if you do anything I do or change your lifestyle at all. I’m just looking for people who are willing to say they believe in Me and call themselves Christians.”

Comment: Standard Lordship Faith caricature of Free Grace theology.

From Part I, # 2, page 2, “How Do I Become a Disciple?”:

“The word repent means ‘to turn.’ It has the idea of changing direction and heading the opposite way. It involves action. . . . Jesus says we need to repent. This implies that we all need to turn from the way we are currently thinking and living.”

Comment: Standard Lordship Faith “salvation” message of “turning from one’s sins” and performing some kind of action in order to be saved. For LSers, believing in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone is not meritorious enough, i.e., it is not sufficient to save a person from his sins.

From Part I, # 3, page 3, “The Lord of Grace”:

“Salvation is all about the grace of God.”

Comment: Great! Why don’t you believe it?

Continuing from page 3, “But keep in mind that while this is simple, it’s not easy. Faith in Jesus Christ means believing that He is Lord (according to Rom. 10:9). Have you ever thought about what Lord means? We sometimes think of it as another name for God, but it’s actually a title. It refers to a master, owner, or a person who is in a position of authority. So take a minute to think this through: Do you really believe that Jesus is your master? Do you believe that He is your owner—that you actually belong to Him? . . . The problem is, many in the church want to ‘confess that Jesus is Lord,’ yet they don’t believe that He is their master.”

Comment: Again, this is the standard Lordship Faith misapplication of Jesus Christ as “Lord.” Yes, Jesus Christ is Lord God of Creation, Lord God of Redemption, Lord God of the Universe, Lord God of ALL; He is Lord, in spite of any puny declaration that one can make. We do not make Jesus “Lord.” He IS Lord!

From Part I, #5, page 4, “Count the Cost”:

“As you work your way through this material, you will be challenged to consider what it means to be a follower of Jesus. . . . But before you set out to teach other people to be disciples of Jesus, you need to examine your heart and make sure that you are a disciple. Read the following words from Jesus slowly and carefully. Understand that Jesus is speaking these words to you. Think about what Jesus is saying and how it should affect the way you approach this material and your relationship with Him. After you have read this section, use the questions below to help you count the cost of following Jesus (quotation given from Luke 14: 25-33).”

Response: This text from Luke is often cited by Lordship Faith advocates to claim that salvation requires a whole array of promises to fulfill, statements of commitment to make, promises of things one must give up (money, lifestyle, etc.), and the carrying out of these promises in order to be worthy of acquiring or maintaining salvation. This is a misuse and a misapplication of a Scripture that has nothing to do with salvation; furthermore, it is a denial of the multitude of Scriptures that declare that salvation is completely a gift of God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. There are NO STRINGS ATTACHED!

Can an Unbeliever Produce Christian Music?

World famous songwriter/composer/arranger/conductor John Rutter writes beautiful Christmas music. For many decades his pieces have been performed in churches around the world. The following piece is one popular sample:

There’s just one problem: From all that I have heard and read about the man, Rutter does not claim to be a born-again Christian, although he is not considered to be an atheist.

Listen to this brief excerpt from a Minnesota Public Radio interview:

“John Rutter: What Sweeter Music
by John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
December 9, 2009
For their Welcome Christmas concerts this weekend, VocalEssence sings a tribute to the English composer John Rutter. One of his most beloved Christmas carols, “What Sweeter Music,” became famous in America when it was used in a Volvo television commercial. Rutter told Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s John Birge that it almost didn’t happen.

St. Paul, Minn. — For a composer who has created some of the most eloquent Christmas music, it may come as a surprise to learn that Rutter himself is not a believer, at least in the conventional sense. In that, he allies himself with another great English composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, who said “I’m agnostic, but I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for Christianity. It’s given me my values, and a strong sense of faith. But I’m a fellow traveler rather than a believer. ” But Rutter says that the Anglican Church remains central to his being: In 2002, Rutter’s 19 year-old son died in an automobile accident. While Rutter’s grief temporarily interrupted his composing, he retained his faith in the gift of life.”

Is it possible for an unbeliever to produce “Christian” music, music that will uplift true believers, music whose words can be honoring to God, music whose words may even lead one to Christ and salvation? What do you think?

Latest on New Calvinist Timothy Keller: Timothy Keller in Interview Stumbles Over the Gospel; Speculates That There is a “Trap Door” to Heaven

See Interview of New Calvinist author and PCA Sr. Pastor, Timothy Keller (Martin Bashir interviews Timothy Keller):

Timothy Keller, widely popular author of, “The Reason for God, The Prodigal God” and “Generous Justice,” is also senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York. He has endorsed the “Christian” Mysticism book, “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook,” by Adele Calhoun, a book which promotes contemplative prayer, labyrinth prayer, spiritual formation and inner healing. His church also teaches classes on the subject.

In the YouTube video (link above), interviewer Bashir asks Keller if Christ and Christianity is the only way to heaven. He asks Keller what is his view about other religions like Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism and what will be the eternal fate of their devoted followers. For five minutes, the seemingly befuddled Keller stammers and fidgets, dancing around the question and never giving a biblical answer, or any real answer, for that matter. Keller’s response to Bashir was very similar to Bashir’s interview of universalist Rob Bell. Neither Keller nor Bell could give any kind of definitive biblical answer about salvation, heaven or hell. Both simply sidestepped Bashir’s straightforward question.

This is how I would answer Bashir’s question:

Well, Mr. Bashir, it really doesn’t matter what I think about about the matter, but let’s look at what the Bible said and what Jesus himself said on the subject. Then I would quote:

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved [Peter is referring to the name of Jesus].

Acts 16:30-31 “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it.”

John 3:16-18 “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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 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.”

What would you say if you were asked the same question?

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Latest News on “Radical” Author David Platt: Calvinist Author of Lordship Salvation book “Radical” Openly Declares his Lordship Salvation Stance

David Platt is a 33 year-old preacher and author from Alabama who preaches and promotes a judgmental form of Lordship Salvation, a.k.a. Lordship Probation or Lordship Faith teaching. He is very similar in style and approach to Francis Chan (there are several articles on Chan at the Expreacherman.com site). Platt wrote a best-selling Lordship Faith book entitled, “Radical.” It is very much akin to Chan’s popular book, “Crazy Love.” The following is an excerpt from the article, “David Platt Still Addressing Controversy Over ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ Remarks,” SOURCE: thechristianpost.com, November 12, 2012. Platt got himself into hot water with various Christian groups recently over a public comment that he made declaring that the sinner’s prayer is “superstitious.”

We, who hold to Free Grace theology, declare the biblical message of Ephesians 2:8-9, that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone; Free Grace theology also agrees that “walking an aisle,” “raising a hand,” or “saying a prayer” are of themselves in no way salvific. However, David Platt’s “sinner’s prayer” comment seemed to be a caricature of what he calls, “easy believism,” as well as a not-so-veiled slam at Free Grace teaching in general. His later statement of defense of that comment bears this out. Below is his statement. You will notice that in it Platt utilizes the same old worn-out hackneyed Lordship Salvation slams that have been used and reused by other LS preachers and writers like John MacArthur, Francis Chan and John Piper. These guys really need to come up with some fresh arguments!

From the article from the Christian Post, 11/12/12:

“‘But the question,’ he said, is: ‘What kind of faith are we calling people to? In a day of rampant easy-believism that creates cultural Christians who do not know Christ, who have never counted the cost of following Christ, we must be biblically clear about saving faith, lest any of us lead people down a very dangerous and potentially damning road of spiritual deception. True, saving faith, the Alabama pastor explained, requires first understanding man’s condition before God – that they are dead in sin. ‘We cannot dumb it down,’ he stressed. ‘We are morally evil.’ ‘To be born-again, one must repent – turn from sin and self – and believe – trust in Jesus as the Savior who died for us and the Lord who rules over us.’ ‘We tell men and women, boys and girls everywhere: repent and believe in Christ. Whether we say, ‘Pray this prayer after me,’ is not the issue,’ Platt highlighted. ‘The issue is that together we say, ‘By the grace of God in the cross of Christ, turn from yourself and trust in Jesus. Come from darkness to light. Come from death to life.’”

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]

Dr. J. Vernon McGee on Calvinism, Dr. J. Vernon McGee Denounces Calvinism!

Listen to this brief answer given by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, the late famed pastor and founder of “Thru the Bible Radio,” to a young woman who asks, in effect, “What’s wrong with Calvinism?”

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Christian Evidences: Why Should I Choose Christianity? Where is the Evidence?

Recently a man wrote to our behind-the-scenes mailbox asking a very profound, albeit a bit sarcastic, question (detailed below). Now the brief imaginary scenario below actually brings up to Christians a valid question: Why Should I Choose Christianity?

Submitted by Jerry K: “Please convince me!”

Jerry’s comment: Once there was a young man in search of God. In his pilgrimage he first met a Christian minister who told him that if he didn’t accept Jesus, he would suffer in hell throughout eternity. This didn’t sound like a message of love so he continued on and met a Sunni Muslim who told him that if he didn’t accept Sunni’s Allah he would die and suffer for eternity in hell. He continued on and met a Shia Muslim, a Mormon, and a Roman Catholic, all of whom told him the same thing. So the young man didn’t know who to believe so he lived out his life worshiping an unknown universal god and loving his fellow people. When he died god told him that since he guessed wrong he was going to hell. “How was I to know, they all told me the same thing” asked the young man. “Tough luck,” replied god.

Now, Jerry’s question cannot be answered quickly, lightly or superficially. Indeed, countless volumes have been written on the subject over the centuries. Nothing short of a doctoral dissertation will really serve to answer the vast implications of his question. About all that one can do in this very limited setting and format is to give a brief general outline of evidences for the validity of Christianity. Other commenters may certainly join in and fill in some of the gaps and/or provide other evidences. Of course, for the hardened atheist, or the obstinate skeptic, possibly no amount of proofs will pierce the crusty shell of unbelief.

Selected Evidences for the Validity of Christ and Christianity:
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Recommended Reading: “A Case for Christ,” by Lee Strobel

1. Uniqueness of the Bible: written by forty authors from eight countries over fifteen hundred years in three languages and all with a consistent and unique message of a God of love who ransomed us from our sins.
2. Old Testament prophecies fulfilled hundreds of years after the time of their writing in and through the person of Jesus Christ (over 300 by many counts). Examples: precise details of Christ’s crucifixion were written in Isaiah 52-53 and Psalm 22 (crucifixion, used as a means of capital punishment would not even exist for several hundred years to come at the point that the prophecies were made).
3. The Book of Daniel correctly predicted in detail the rise and fall of several world empires, including Rome, Greece and Persia.
4. One of the greatest “name” prophecies of Scripture was that of King Cyrus of Persia. Think of it, God prophesied through Isaiah (Isaiah 44:26-45:3) that a great leader named Cyrus would be God’s instrument to bring the Jews back to their homeland in Jerusalem and Judea nearly two hundred years before the events occurred! To prophesy generalized events which will occur is one marvelous miracle, but for the prophet actually to name the individual through whom the prophecy will be accomplished is nothing short of breathtaking! This is a situation in which Scripture really comes alive as the reader digs beyond the casual glance and compares various texts. Not only does Isaiah’s prophecy from God name the leader who would carry out the fulfillment of the prophecy, but the text (especially Isaiah 45:1-3) specifies the means by which the fulfillment was to take place: “to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him so that the gates will not be shut: . . . I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” These statements are a distinctly perspicuous reference to Cyrus’ leadership of the Medes and Persians on that fateful night in which they diverted the Euphrates River, cut the bars of iron under the walls of Babylon, and stormed the city. Secular tradition also details that the inner bronze gates were mysteriously left unlocked that night which allowed the soldiers, once through the outer wall, easy access into the heart of the city. All of these descriptions dovetail perfectly with the events of the takeover of Babylon as described by Daniel in chapter five.
5. Modern archaelogical evidences verify the authenticity of the Bible. Examples: The Nabonidus Chronicles and early cylinders (British Museum) authenticate leaders and events mentioned in Daniel. (See for one ref., Edwin Yamachi, “The Stones and the Scriptures”): Excavations have proven the veracity of the events of Joshua 11, the taking of and destruction by fire of the city of Hazor.
6. Ancient secular historians, such as Tacitus and Josephus, verify the historicity of Jesus, the crucifixion and events surrounding and including the early Christian church.
7. Ancient very early manuscript evidences (Rylands Papyrus of part of John, dating to 135 A.D.; Dead Sea Scrolls predating the Christian era by a couple of hundred years or more contain almost the entire Old Testament intact).
8. The Books of Acts and 1 Corinthians chronicle that hundreds of eyewitnesses verified the reality of the resurrected Christ Jesus. Christianity is unique in being the only religion or belief system which has a living founder!
9. Twenty centuries of Christendom validate the magnificent impact of Christ Jesus on the world.

I’ll stop for now and give others a chance to add to the list.

Paul Washer, Lordship Salvation: Paul Washer Redefines the Plan of Salvation, Obliterating Assurance of Salvation

Source: “The Gift Nobody Wants,” True Disciple 2008, by Paul Washer, Preached at Grace Community Church, San Antonio, TX, December 4, 2008. Available for download at SermonAudio.com, Online Sermons: http://www.sermonaudio.com/gcc

The following are some quotations from Paul Washer’s sermon listed above, along with a few associated comments. At the end of this post is an excerpt from Dr. Charlie Bing’s Doctoral Dissertation on Lordship Salvation. That section deals with the true biblical meaning of the term “repentance.”

Paul Washer Quotations:

In a not-so-veiled mocking caricature of the common invitation for people to trust in Christ alone by grace through faith for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9;), Washer says the following (pp. 1-2):

“‘Who would like to repeat this prayer after me? Oh, I see that hand. Come forward.’ We see none of that [in Scripture]. But the message of our Lord we see, ‘Repent and believe.’ . . . It is only until we come into this modern time that we hear nothing of repentance and faith unless it is redefined in the context of receiving Jesus which means pray this prayer and ask him into your heart and if you have done that sincerely you can stand on the fact that you have been born again. Now that is serious, folks. This is serious.”

Comment: In actuality, the biblical gospel of grace never says to simply say or recite a formulaic prayer or to “come forward” to be saved. It says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Washer continues: “The reason there were just as many people and still are just as many people going out of the church as coming into the church is because the gospel that we are preaching is not the gospel. It is a truncated version of the gospel and the invitation we give cannot even be found in the New Testament. Now does anyone have a problem with that? The reason why they are leaving, well, they went out from us because they were not of us. They were not truly converted.”

Comment: This is the standard “out” for Lordship Salvation teaching. If anyone, true believer or not, ceases attending church, becomes lukewarm, or seems to have strayed from the faith, the standard LS response is to simply write them off as, “never having been genuinely saved to begin with.”

Paul Washer discusses (p. 4) Mark 1:15:
“‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’ Now both of these commands are in the present tense imperative and I believe there is an issue here. I believe that there is something going on that will cure the malady that is so frequent today in America. It is almost as if Christ is saying, ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Now spend the rest of your life repenting and believing.’”

Response: In reference to Mark 1:15 above, as well as John 3:16, the present tense usage in no way mandates that pisteuo must be interpreted as continuous ongoing belief (the default position of Lordship Faith teaching). Quoting Bible scholar, Fred Chay, PhD, “Continual belief is no more in mind in John 3:16 than continual baptizing [also present tense usage "the baptizing one" meaning that John's baptizing would have to continue while he was imprisoned and even after his death!] is in view in Mark 6:14. With this in mind, it becomes clear that it is dangerous indeed to assume that the normative use of the word pisteuo is always continuous action, especially in the light of the fact that it cannot even be assumed that the present tense in general assumes continuous aspect” (Chay and Correia, “The Faith that Saves,” Grace Line, Inc., 2008, pp. 48-52—available from Free Grace Alliance) http://www.freegracealliance.com/ .

Washer continues, as he describes a man who claims to have trusted in Christ alone as his Savior some ten years earlier:

“They don’t realize that the evidence, the raw bone biblical evidence that there was one time in your life that you repented unto salvation is that you continue repenting until today and growing in repentance. They do not realize that if at one time in your life you believed unto salvation, the evidence of that will be you continue believing unto salvation and growing in faith.”

Comment: the standard Lordship Faith tactic or approach is to place the onus of salvation back onto the person; the individual must continue repenting and believing in order to validate or to prove his true belief; he can never rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross on his behalf. Mr. Washer, your approach decimates assurance of salvation! (we are kept by the grace and power of God—John 10:27-30).

Paul Washer Quotation (p. 5): “A person who can show no mark of the sanctifying work of God in their life has no assurance that they have been justified. Now that is biblical teaching.”

Comment: Again, assurance of salvation is placed, not upon the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary (see Corinthians 15:1-8), but back upon the individual to prove or maintain his or her salvation—a standard teaching of Lordship Salvation and a real assurance killer!

Washer Quotation (p. 20): “People ask me, ‘Is there free will?’ I say, ‘Let’s not even answer that question. Let’s just go a little bit farther.’ The question is not: Is there free will? The question is: Is there good will? You are free to will, but will only [act] according to your nature and your nature is evil, so what you are going to do is evil unless God comes in and gives you a new heart, unless God regenerates you.”

Comment: Standard Calvinist unbiblical plan of salvation, that is, God must regenerate the sinner prior to his coming to faith. This false teaching flies in the face of the multitude of calls to salvation in the Bible (to be received—through free will—by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone), e.g., John 3:16, Acts 16:31; 19:4, John 11:26 (calls to believe in Christ for salvation are throughout the Gospel of John), 1 John 5:13.

Washer’s example of a child: Washer uses the example of a young child regarding the plan of salvation [no name or gender will be given] (pp.24-25). The child was concerned with life and death; “I don’t want to die,” they said. He assured the youngster that, although death is always a possibility for everyone, that they were young and healthy and although no one knows the future, we trust in God. But the child pleaded, “I want God.” Washer asked, “You do?” “Yes, I want God,” the child replied. Washer said, “Well, you have heard the gospel . . . You know that you are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The child responded, “Oh, . . ., I believe. I believe in Jesus.” Washer pondered what to say next: “Now, what do I do with them? Do I sit there and go, ‘[name withheld], you don’t believe. You just don’t believe. You are not fully understanding what is going on here’? But do I say, ‘Oh, [name withheld], you believe and you are saved. Let’s go tell [name withheld]‘? That is what most people would do. But, you see, a discerning heart would recognize after talking to the [child]. [They] were not weeping over sin. [They] were not weeping over an offense against God. [They] were weeping over self-preservation. [They] didn’t want to die. And so what did I do? I said, ‘[name withheld],’ I redirected [them]. I said, ‘[name withheld], I want you to know something. If you truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the one who can take away your sins, any [one] who truly believes and trusts in him, recognizes the depth, something in the depth of [their] sin, turns from it and believes in Jesus is saved. And if you are doing that, if you are really doing that, that has really happened to you, you are saved. But now let me tell you something. The evidence of your salvation is going to be God beginning to work in your life, directing you towards Scripture, pointing out sin in your life, making you contrite and things such as that over disobedience to your parents. And [certain people] are just going to watch you, [name withheld]. And [they] are going to use the Scripture and just help you as you go through these next months and years to discern whether you have truly come to know him.”

Response: read the story of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16. There was a violent earthquake. The prison doors had broken open. He was distraught that the prisoners might have fled and he feared for his life. Verses 30-33 tell of the man’s miraculous conversion, along with his family: “And brought them [Paul and Silas] out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”

Observation: notice that when the jailer and his family trusted in Christ alone for salvation, Paul and Silas accepted them IMMEDIATELY as brothers and sisters in Christ and then baptized them as an outward symbol of the new inward reality. Paul and Silas did not say that they were going to watch the jailer and his family to make sure that they were truly saved.

Repentance and Salvation

The following is a brief excerpt from Dr. Charlie Bing’s Doctoral Dissertation on Lordship Salvation. This review section deals with the topics, “Repentance and Salvation.” In it, Dr. Bing highlights some of the errors of the Lordship Salvation position on repentance. Below is the excerpt and the associated link to read the chapter in its entirety:

http://www.gracelife.org/resources/dissertation.asp?id=chp6

Repentance and Salvation

The controversy over repentance concerns the scope of its meaning in soteriological contexts. The Lordship Salvation position takes repentance to mean a turning from sin and sins which is necessary for salvation.
By association with metamelomai and epistrepho it is argued that the word metanoeo denotes both regret for sins and turning from sins. The study concluded that this argument is not supported from biblical usage. Furthermore, “repent” is not an accurate translation of metanoeo, which has the basic meaning “change the mind.”
Key Bible passages considered did not substantiate the Lordship understanding of repentance. An evaluation of the passages that concern the offer of salvation by John the Baptist (Matt 3:2, 11; Mark 1:4/Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24), Jesus Christ (Matt 4:17/Mark 1:15; Matt 11:20-21/Luke 10:13; Matt 9:13/Mark 2:17/Luke 5:32; Matt 12:41/Luke 11:32; Luke 13:3, 5; Luke 15; 16:30; 24:47), and the Apostles (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22; 14:15 [with 1 Thess 1:9]; 17:30; 20:21) showed that metanoeo should be taken in its basic sense of “change the mind.” In these passages, that about which the mind changed was not always sin or sins, but could also be God or one’s opinion about Jesus Christ. Turning from sins is more accurately a result of repentance in some of the passages and should not be confused with repentance itself.
When sins are closely associated with repentance in Bible passages (2 Cor 12:21; Heb 6:1; Rev 2; 3; 9:20-21; 16:9), it is usually Christians who are in view, not unbelievers. Turning from specific sins is not required of the unbeliever in order to secure salvation. The exception of the unbelievers in Revelation 9:20-21 and 16:9 is not an offer of salvation.
Passages used by Lordship proponents to define repentance in terms of its fruits or works (Matt 3:8/Luke 3:8; Acts 26:20) did not support that understanding. It was argued that though there is a logical relationship between repentance and its fruits, the term repentance itself does not require resultant works for its meaning.

What is Francis Chan Doing Now? Francis Chan’s Latest Speech to 5000+ Christian Youths, Questioning Their Faith; Latest News on Francis Chan

Recently we chronicled (see the link below) how Francis Chan continues to use the standard Lordship Faith promotional tactics of guilt, doubt and fear [fear of damnation] as primary motivational tools when addressing large Christian audiences. This seems to be an ongoing theme of his sermons/speeches since he introduced the concept of condemnation of “the lukewarm,” which appeared in a 2008 sermon entitled, “Lukewarm and Loving It,” as well as in his best-selling 2008 book, “Crazy Love.” In March of this year, continuing with the same theme, Chan gave a speech in which he declared that failure to help the poor could cause you to wind up in hell. In this speech (below), Francis Chan’s pronouncement links him with the social welfare “gospels” of popular authors David Platt and Richard Stearns. SEE:

http://www.expreacherman.com/2012/03/27/francis-chans-latest-pronouncement-failure-to-help-the-poor-could-send-you-to-hell/

Just this past week, Francis Chan utilized a similar motivational approach as the keynote speaker at the CHIC 2012 Christian Youth Conference in Knoxville, TN. As typical of other Lordship Faith teachers, Chan challenged his Christian audience to look at themselves introspectively to see if they were really saved, based upon their behavior, attitudes and lifestyle. This speech was similar to one given by John Piper to another large gathering of Christian young people (see: http://www.expreacherman.com/2012/01/13/john-piper-speaks-to-42000-youth-redefining-the-plan-of-salvation/).

At this current event, Chan spoke to over 5000 Christian students in a large arena in Tennessee [see information source below]. Preaching from John 21 about Jesus’ verbal exchange with Peter, Chan invited the audience to reexamine the sincerity of their faith in Christ. He inquired of the audience, what would be their reply if Jesus asked them, “Do you love me?” He followed that question with, “Is it obvious on your Facebook that you love God or is it obvious that you love yourself?”

Writer, Stan Friedman, finished his article with the following observations about Chan’s speech:
“In an extended illustration that enthralled the audience, Chan drank from two different beverages—lemonade and Starbuck’s Frappuccino. Much to the disgust of the gathering, he alternated between the two. Christians too often do the same [he said], switching between holy and sinful behavior. Finally, he poured the coffee into the lemonade to show what happens when sin is allowed to rule part of a person’s life—it makes the rest distasteful. Chan told the worshipers that hiding the truth about sin with which they are struggling and trying to look as if they have their lives together would have eternal consequences. ‘What’s going to happen at the end because you just keep the facade going?’ he asked. ‘So then, you go to hell and you say to yourself, ‘Oh, but that’s okay because everyone up on earth thinks I’m in heaven. I fooled them.’ That’s your goal?’ Chan ended by asking the students to pray quietly and be open to God so that they might listen and confess. And be restored.”

Post Source: “CHIC Students Challenged to Answer Christ’s Question,” article written by Stan Friedman, Knoxville, TN; article accessed from http://www.covchurch.org/news/2012/07/18

For updates on Francis Chan 2013, see:

http://expreacherman.com/2013/01/05/lordship-salvation-authorsspeakers-francis-chan-and-david-platt-team-up-to-create-the-multiply-discipleship-movement/

Prayerful Praise: Practical Prayers About Praise

by Califgracer

(I hope that you enjoy the alliteration)

Precious Lord and Savior Jesus, I lift up the following prayers about praise to you . . .

  • Permeate my innermost being with praise.
  • Predominate my life with praise; let praise be pervasive.
  • Engulf me with a passion for praise.
  • Let the magnificence and inspiration of your grace prompt me to praise. 
  • Through your Spirit, partner with me in praise.
  • Lord, protect me in my praise.
  • With all of my will help me to pursue praise.
  • Please give to me great pleasure in praise; be pleased with my praise.
  • Keep my thoughts focused and pure in my praise.
  • Grant me peace in my praise.
  • Despite the busyness of life, help me to prioritize praise.
  • Give to me a plan for praise.
  • Supply me with plentiful provision for praise.
  • Let the life of Christ be my paradigm for praise.
  • Let the Cross of Christ be the precious predominate point of praise.
  • Please alleviate any pain or panic through praise.
  • Through your Word, grant me a peek into the palatial praise of heaven.
  • Guide me into the expansive parameters of praise.
  • Pardon my imperfection in praise; perfect my praise.
  • May my life personify praise.
  • Prohibit the prevention of praise provoked by groundless doubt, guilt and fear. 
  • Penetrate a lost world through your people’s praise.
  • Precious Spirit, assist me to persevere in praise.
  • Through my own words and thoughts allow me to express my personality in praise.
  • In my life, make praise passionate and pervasive.
  • Let the promulgation of praise predominate your church.
  • Disallow wrongful motives which pervert my praise.
  • Provide piety in praise.
  • Inspire and protect the praise of your people.
  • Let no legalistic penchant pollute my praise.
  • May your Word be a portraiture of praise.
  • Feed me a huge portion of praise.
  • May my attitudes be predisposed to be positive in praise.
  • Throughout your church, tinder an outpouring of praise.
  • Demonstrate the practicality and power of praise.
  • Please predetermine in me daily to praise.
  • Be always the prime focal point of praise.
  • In every circumstance, give me the propensity to praise.
  • When I am lonely, sick or sad, prescribe to me praise.
  • Preface my day with praise.
  • Prearrange my schedule for praise.
  • Deter me from becoming presumptuous in praise.
  • Precipitate my predilection for praise.
  • Dissuade me from all pretense in praise.
  • Over sin may I prevail through praise.
  • Let no obstacle prevent my praise.
  • May I ever prize the privilege of praise.
  • May your Spirit teach me proficiency in praise.
  • Allow me to glimpse the profundity of praise.
  • With vivid exclamation, punctuate my praise!

July 4th, 2012: Let Freedom Ring!

On this occasion of remembering our nation’s independence and freedom, let us also reflect on the great freedoms that we have as Born-Again Christians—We are saved by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Jesus Alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).  And let us never allow the grace-robbers and freedom snatchers to steal away our Hope, Confidence and Joy in the Lord.

Listen to these wonderful words of Paul in Galations 5 on our magnificent Freedoms in Christ:

5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.  5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 

On this occasion of celebrating freedom, I hope that you enjoy this video and song (my favorite patriotic song), “God Bless America!”

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCavKL2zdjM

No Guilt, No Fear! Living by Grace not by Doubt and Fear: Guilt-Free Christianity!

Grace robbers are everywhere today!  Their faces can be seen on “Christian” television; their voices bellow from the pulpits of large churches across the land; their best-selling books are widely featured in Christian bookstores.  It seems that at every turn there surfaces another voice in the Christian world who would steal the joy and assurance away from any believer who will listen to such voices and follow their unbiblical teachings.  True Hope in Christ Jesus and in his wonderful free gift of salvation through faith alone are replaced by doubt.  Doubt increases; it shifts one’s focus from trusting in Christ and his finished work on the cross alone to a fixation on oneself—What have I done for God lately?  Am I really doing enough?  This increasing introspection quickly begins to destroy confidence in Christ Jesus alone and assurance of one’s salvation.  Decimation of assurance morphs into fear and anxiety.  Fear of what?  Fear of not being sin-free enough to please God; fear of not reading the Bible enough; fear of not attending church often enough; fear of not witnessing enough; fear of not doing enough to help the poor; fear of not being “on fire” for Christ; fear of not being good enough to please God.  Fear leads to dread, often the dread of possibly heading for hell one day.  Grace-robbing preachers fuel this dread through their incessant unbiblical judgmental rants.  Dread destroys any semblance of joy remaining in the Christian’s life.  And what is the final result?  A miserable, defeated, guilt-ridden believer.  Yes, a believer to be sure:  one who has placed her complete faith in Christ Jesus alone for salvation—by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, Ephesians 2:8-9.  But one who has allowed the joy-sucking assurance-thieving grace robbers to steal away the Grace, Hope, Joy, Assurance, Confidence and Guilt-Free existence that God would have for the true believer in Christ to experience every day.

Let’s make every effort to speak out against unbiblical grace-robbing teaching in the body of Christ.  And let us live and encourage other believers to live Guilt-Free lives of Confident Assurance through faith in Christ alone and through his wonderful gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ).

Expreacherman Mail Box

From time to time we get email letters from all over the world asking questions on various topics, especially on biblical and theological issues.    

It could be beneficial to post some of these questions so the inquirers can receive a more thorough response.  Also, the answers can bring edification to other readers as well.

Here’s a sample question from a man named Stanley:

“God bless you for your good tract; nevertheless, where is BAPTISM in the plan of Salvation?  You have said nothing about Baptism.”   

  

The 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic, April 15, 2012: Titanic Gospel Warnings About Rejecting the Gospel

One hundred years ago, today, April 14, 1912, the famous oceanliner Titanic struck an iceberg.  Hours later, in the early morning of April 15, the huge ship sank carrying about 1500 people to their death.

Over the years, analysts have studied what things went wrong leading up to the tragedy of April 1912.  Several facts have been chronicled which detail why this event occurred.  The following piece summarizes some of these findings:

Source:  http://www.39online.com/kiah-20120413,0,4594381.photo

1.  Substandard Rivets in Bow and Stern, containing iron and a high content of slag, which becomes brittle at very cold temperatures.

2.  Ship Steaming Too Fast in spite of repeated telegraphed messages from other ships about iceberg ice in the area.

3.  Lack of Binoculars:  some of the lookouts were not furnished with proper optical equipment.

4.  Repeated Ice Warnings disregarded by Capt. Smith.

5.  Unusually High Tides may have brought excessive icebergs into shipping lanes.

6.  Last Minute Manuever of Ship Failed, causing more damage than would have probably occurred in a strike with the bow.

7.  Watertight Bulkheads were not sealed at the top.

8.  Insufficient Number of Lifeboats:  Only enough to accommodate about 1/3 of the passengers and crew.

9.  Lifeboats Not Filled to Capacity:  some were launched half full.

10. The British Steamer “Californian” saw flares and could have steamed toward them, but failed to do so, some think because the wrong color flares were used, ones which would normally be used for celebrations, not for S.O.S. signaling. 

11. [added to article]  Rope Too Short:  It has been reported that rope used to drop buckets down to collect water temperature readings was too short to reach the water’s surface.  Crew members, instead, substituted water from onboard the ship to render the readings. 

“Titanic” Warnings About the Gospel:

The Gospel of Salvation is so straightforward, so clear in the Bible in many places, including 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus); Acts 16:30-31 (“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved . . .”); Ephesians 2:8-9 (We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, not by works); John 3:16-18 (Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.)

Why do so many people refuse to go God’s way, trusting in his Son, Christ Jesus, for salvation, and not in their own “good” works?

How similar are unbelievers today to passengers on the Titanic?

1.  Both were (are) sailing toward disaster at breakneck speeds.

2.  In the frenzy of the night, many failed to board the Titanic lifeboats which could have rescued them from death; in the hustle and bustle of life, many or most people fail to avail themselves of God’s gift of Eternal Life in His Son, Jesus Christ, who can save them from eternal destruction.

3. Up until the moment of the crash, people on the Titanic were going about their normal routines (business as usual):  crew members were observing their daily duties; passengers were laughing, dancing and dining; both were (are) oblivious to the imminent dangers that lay (lie) ahead.

4. Even after the Titanic struck the iceberg, for the first couple of hours many were in denial that they faced any danger whatsoever— “This ship is unsinkable,” some claimed.  How many people in our day live in similar blind denial:  “There’s no hell,” many declare.  “If there is a heaven, either we’re all going there or we ain’t,” others might retort.  On that sad early morning of April 15, 2012, dozens and dozens of scoffers faced reality head-on.  How many millions, in our generation, will, tragically and avoidably, come face to face with the legitimacy of death and an eternity in torment (Luke 16)?

5.  Some of the passengers on the Titanic, who failed to board the lifeboats which could have rescued them, sought, instead, to save themselves by strapping on life preservers and jumping into the ocean.  If the impact of the fall did not kill them, the frigid water would have finished them off in minutes [this observation is for the purpose of illustration only; obviously, in the frenectic scene of the night, many were not given the opportunity to board the lifeboats].  How many unbelievers, today, steadfastly refuse to accept God’s plan of salvation? (there is only ONE WAY, by grace alone through faith alone in his Son Christ Jesus alone).  They would rather go their own way, seek their own path, add to God’s plan, or devise their own plan, while attempting to please God through their own works.  Refusal to go God’s way will certainly lead to destruction.

Francis Chan’s Latest Pronouncement: Failure to Help the Poor Could Send You to Hell; Latest Francis Chan news

Once again, Francis Chan, popular conference speaker, author and Lordship Faith Advocate, adds qualifications (good works) to the simple straightforward gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 4:5; John 3:16; Titus 3:5).  His latest pronouncement is shown in the brief excerpt of his article below (to view the article in its entirety, see, “Failure to Help the Poor Could Send You to Hell,” by Francis Chan—Churchleaders.Com).     

 

“Blessed Are the Poor

And what about the poor? Jesus is crystal clear about the necessity of reaching the poor. Yet many hellfire preachers are overfed and overpaid, living in luxury while doing nothing for the majority of Christians who live on less than two dollars a day. [2] Contrast that with Jesus, who in His longest sermon about judgment made helping the poor a vital criterion.

Put simply, failing to help the poor could damn you to hell.

I know, I know, everyone wants to qualify this. We want to add all sorts of footnotes to fix Jesus’ shaky theology in Matthew 25—justification is by faith, not by works; you don’t really have to help literal poor people, etc. [3]On the flipside, some want to keep the stuff about helping the poor but take hell out of the picture. Sometimes, people even take Jesus out of the picture—fighting poverty, they believe, is an inherent virtue whether or not it’s rooted in the gospel.  Let’s keep the teeth of both truths. There’s a literal hell, and helping the poor is essential. Not only did Jesus teach both of these truths, He saw them as necessary and interrelated.”

Is Francis Chan right; is what he describes the Biblical plan of salvation, or is he teaching a false gospel of faith PLUS WORKS?
see also: http://expreacherman.com/2012/07/22/francis-chans-latest-speech-to-5000-christian-youths-questioning-their-faith/

For updates on Francis Chan 2013, see:

http://expreacherman.com/2013/01/05/lordship-salvation-authorsspeakers-francis-chan-and-david-platt-team-up-to-create-the-multiply-discipleship-movement/

We welcome your comments. 

American Christianity / Christianity in America: What’s Wrong With the Term “American Christianity?”

A couple of years ago I heard the testimony of a young man who stated that he had been raised in a loving Christian home;  his parents took him to Sunday School and church every week; he intimated that he may have trusted Christ as Savior at a very young age, although he was not sure about that.  While he was attending a secular university, he met some students from The Master’s College (founded by and presided over by John MacArthur).  Through them he was led into what has been called “Genuine, committed” Christianity.  He then claimed to “realize” that his former beliefs of two decades were undoubtedly bogus, what he dubbed, “American Christianity.”

I have often heard the term “American Christianity” bandied about by Lordship Faith preachers as if it is some sort of an inherently-evil nomenclature.  Lordship Faith writers and preachers such as Paul Washer, David Platt, and Francis Chan use the term as a slam against all but whom they deem to be the most committed Christians in America.  Francis Chan in his book Crazy Love labels the masses of American Christians as “the lukewarm.”  Then in one fell swoop he consigns them all to hell.  Only the really on fire minority of churchgoers will make it to heaven, in Chan’s teaching.  Based upon what I read in Crazy Love, possibly even the Apostle Paul himself would not pass Chan’s “lukewarm” test. 

So why has the term “American Christianity” become so offensive in many Christian circles?  I find it rather hypocritical that everyone whom I have heard or read using the term, in such a negative way, IS an American as well as a professed Christian himself!  Doesn’t the derogatory utilization of the term “American Christianity” fail to acknowledge the great history of Christianity in America?  And doesn’t its use deny the fact that Christian churches and Christian mission organizations have been the most colossal senders of Christian missionaries and the Christian gospel worldwide?  And how about the fact that America possesses the most professing Christians and the highest per-capita church-going population in the world?  [Granting the fact that some are not really born-again Christians]

    

Was Whitney Houston a Christian? Whitney Houston Sings “I Love the Lord”

With the sudden tragic death of Whitney Houston, Christians across the Christian magazines, TV programs and internet sites are asking the question, “Did Whitney Houston know the Lord?”  Of course, this is the most important question, one for which this commenter does not have the answer.  Speculations are swirling on the question.  What we do know, however, is that she was raised in a Christian church, and by many reports, she had a devoted Christian mother.  If she trusted Christ as her Savior in her youth by faith in him alone, then John 10:27-30 promises us that God will never let go of her.  She cut her artistic teeth singing gospel hymns in the church choir.  And, in spite of her oft-troubled life, she continued to sing gospel songs into her adulthood.

I trust that you find this song to be uplifting:   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiCBOXOj9s0

Annual ONE Conference; Proceed with Caution: “ONE” Conference Coming to Miami

This is an alert for our readers:

A much-publicized Christian “impact” conference is coming to Miami, FL this weekend, February 10-12.  It is youth-oriented, having rock-style music and fiery preaching.  Some of the keynote speakers are quite well known in the Christian community.  Some come from churches and Christian organizations which have solid grace-oriented statements of faith and salvation.  But please be forewarned that some of the speakers are from churches or ministries supporting Calvinist/Lordship Faith teachings.

Here are some of the speakers speaking at the ONE Conference:

Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse, a worldwide help organization

Frank Harrison, a Coca Cola executive and well-known Christian conference speaker

Francis Chan, Conference Speaker, Author, radical Lordship Faith promoter (see any of the many articles on the Expreacherman site for more detail on his teaching). 

Bob Coy, Calvary Chapel, Ft. Lauderdale

Brian Houston, Hillsong Church, Sydney; Carl Lentz, Hillsong, NYC.  Hillsong Church has a troublesome LS type statement of faith regarding salvation:  “We believe that in order to receive forgiveness and the ‘new birth’ we must repent of our sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and submit to His will for our lives.”  

James MacDonald, Harvest Bible Chapel, Chicago.  The Harvest Bible Chapel statement on salvation is equally troublesome to the Hillsong statement, again, promoting a Calvinist/ Lordship Faith salvation plan.  It reads,

“We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as the substitutionary atonement in our place, and that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. Before Creation, God chose those who would be saved and granted this unearned grace solely based on His sovereign good pleasure. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was the sole and complete payment for sins, fully satisfying God’s righteous wrath, for each person that turns from sin in repentance and places their faith in Christ alone by grace alone. At salvation each person is made a new creation by the Holy Spirit, declared righteous before God, and secured as an adopted child of God forever. Genuine faith continues in obedience and love for Jesus Christ with a life eager to glorify God and persevere to the end.”

Rich Wilkerson, The Rendezvous, Miami.  The ministry’s statement on salvation is more toward the Biblical Ephesians 2:8-9:  “This justification is imputed by the grace of God because of the atoning work of Christ, is received by faith alone . . .”  However, “repentance” as a term is used but not defined and fruits of the spirit and a holy life are expected evidences of true salvation.

Britt Merrick, Reality Church, Santa Barbara.  The church is self-described as “missional” in focus, but does not appear to be connected with the neo-Calvinist movement.  Decent statement of belief:  “We Believe in the absolute necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation because of the exceeding sinfulness of the human nature, and that all are justified on the single ground of faith in the shed blood of Christ, and that only by God’s grace through faith alone are we saved.”

Greg Laurie, Harvest Church, Riverside, CA.  Well-known radio Bible teacher and conference speaker (Harvest Crusades).

Scott Harrison, founder of clean water well-building worldwide help organization called, “WATER.”

Ed Young, Fellowship Church, Dallas.  Pretty solid statements of belief on salvation and eternal security:  “Salvation is a gift from God to man.  Man can never make up for his sin by self-improvement or good works.  Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can man be saved from sin’s penalty.  Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.  . . .  Because God gives man eternal life through Jesus Christ, the believer is secure in that salvation for eternity.  Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God [John 10:27-30], not by the self-effort of the Christian.  It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives this security.”

Pedro Garcia, Calvary Church Kendall, Miami.  Statement of faith looks alright, but, sadly, the web site recommends books by Calvinist or LS writers like John Stott, Francis Chan and Timothy Keller.

Miles McPherson, Rock Church, San Diego.  Web site’s heading on its statement of belief regarding salvation bore the questionable wording, “Repent and Believe.”  But upon downloading the complete statement it presented a grace gospel message.

Christine Caine, Equip and Empower Ministries, Sydney.  Statement on salvation looked fine.   

That’s about it for now.  Feel free to check out these individuals on your own as well.  Please let us know if you have any additional information or warnings about the ONE conference or about any of its speakers.

MacArthur Type Lordship Faith Book with Amplified Ferocity: “Crazy Love”

From the Vintage Archives of Expreacherman we re-present this article (newly titled) which continues to garner substantial attention since its release in 2009.  As always, your thoughtful comments are welcome.

One of my readers who signs his comments “Stickin’ to the Bible” wrote a couple of comments which deserve more than just a cursory look.

He compared the doctrine of Francis Chan,  author of a new book, “Crazy Love,” to John MacArthur.

I have never read the book but did look up Chan and his ministries and find him to proclaim Calvinist doctrine (as does MacArthur).

My friend, Stickin’ then proceeded to offer another comment with details from the pages of Chan’s book. I will quote some below — so you may be forewarned about Francis Chan.

Stickin’ To The Bible said:

I have also heard that Chan is a graduate of Master’s College and Seminary, both are schools founded and presided over by John MacArthur.  In Chan’s book, “Crazy Love,” David Cook Pub., 2008, pp. 68-78, he creates a list of what he describes as his “Profile of the Lukewarm.”  His descriptions are along these lines:

1. People who say they love Jesus but only include him as a part of their lives; 2. People who are moved by stories about those who do what he calls, “radical things for Christ,” but they themselves do not do such things; 3. People who rarely share their faith with others for fear of rejection; 4. on page 78 he says, “Lukewarm People feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America.”   After making his list of  what he calls “The Lukewarm,” he then discards them like matchsticks all in one fell swoop on pp. 83-84.  Chan says, “As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing.  To put it plainly, churchgoers who are “lukewarm” are not Christians.  We will not see them in heaven.”

Clearly, Stickin’ has pegged Francis Chan as a MacArthur type “Lordship Salvationist.” Chan’s statements above imply that one cannot be a Christian without good works — in direct opposition to multiple scriptures which state that salvation is free and complete apart from good works. Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 11:6.

Obviously Francis Chan has interpreted Scripture to suit himself or has never read the Book of First Corinthians about the carnal believers in Corinth.

Thanks to my reader Stickin’;… he has done a great job of research and reporting.