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?


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

  1. I wanted to bring up this article again, my daughter’s friend asked her about him and she hadn’t heard. The link doesn’t work, but it’s still available on youtube.

  2. Tim Keller is integrally involved with the works for salvation “Gospel Coalition,” which is a Calvinist/Lordship “salvation”/ecumenical monstrosity that is actually aligned against the gospel.

  3. I was reminded of this article today when I read an article entitled “Is It Hateful To Believe In Hell? Bernie Sanders’ Questions Prompt Backlash.”

    Following are some quotes from the article:

    Polls show about half of all Christians in the U.S. believe that some non-Christians can go to heaven. But particularly among evangelicals, the traditional view of damnation remains widespread.

    My comment: That’s pretty sad. The Bible is very clear that belief in Jesus as Savior is the only way to have eternal life.

    Moore says there’s nothing hostile about Vought’s comments. “In Christian theology, no one is righteous before God,” he said. “[Evangelical] Christians don’t believe that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Christians believe that all of humanity is fallen.”

    My comment: That is from Russell Moore, of the Southern Baptist Convention. That is an interesting perspective, since the SBC does indeed teach that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. More specifically, the SBC teaches that Jesus is necessary for eternal life, but that He is not sufficient for eternal life. See articles linked below:

    Meanwhile, James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, said the belief that vast swaths of people are damned might, in fact, be inherently problematic for certain government positions. “If [someone] believe these people are to be condemned … is that the person who ought to be making budgetary decisions for the country as a whole?” asked Zogby, who is a Maronite Catholic. “Can you be a fair adjudicator of decisions?” he asked.

    My comment: Thinly-veiled justification for persecution of people for their religious beliefs.

    The Pew Research Center recently found that nearly 60 percent of Americans surveyed believe in hell. And among Christians, 48 percent of Protestants and 56 percent of evangelicals believe Christianity is the only path to eternal life. (Catholics and mainline Protestants were far more likely to believe that other faiths can get into heaven.)

    My comment: Sigh!

  4. “gospel prayer”?

    These guys don’t know where their thinking ends and the other begins, and plagiarize the other’s ‘interpretations’? What happened to leaning on the Holy Spirit for guidance in His Word? Talk about thinking of men beyond wat is written (1 Cor 4:6)….

  5. Jon, Tim Keller also has been a big inspiration to budding Southern Baptist Convention star, J.D. Greear. Keller and Greear appear to be part of the mega church mutual admiration society. For example, Tim Keller wrote the forward to Greear’s book “Gospel.”

    From the “Acknowledgements” section of Greear’s book “Gospel”:

    To Tim Keller, whose thinking has so permeated my own that I can no longer really tell where his stops and mine starts. I am heavily indebted to him for many of the ideas in this book, particularly in chapters 2, 3, and 6. I have listened to and read Tim Keller so much that I tend to plagiarize his interpretation of a passage before I even hear him teach on that passage.

    And, here is part of Keller’s love for J.D. Greear:

    My fellow pastor, J.D. Greear, through his book, has helped us in this quest for gospel-saturated living. He takes the principles of gospel centrality and shows us how to orient our lives around it. I appreci- ate how in refreshing and real ways he makes the gospel accessible to others so that they can experience its transforming power. I especially like the book’s practical section on gospel prayer as a way to assist us in rehearsing these truths deep into our hearts and minds. Whether you are exploring Christianity for the first time or are longing to ‘look into these things’ again and again, let me invite you to spend time with this helpful book.

    Below is a link to an article we wrote a while back regarding J.D. Greear’s doctrinal aberrations:

  6. Good Article. I appreciate the KJV quotes. Keller’s trap door response is the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard from someone who claims to believe the gospel.

  7. Johninnc- either that, or it’s possible the lure of the money to be made is too great. So in glamorizing a man as a ‘Christian’ (who denied the literal resurrection, the virgin birth, said a lot of Scripture was a ‘myth’, questioned the literal Deity of Christ), they make a lot of money and therefore are not predisposed to telling a truth they’ve already been informed of.

  8. Holly, I remember reading of your interaction with Eric Metaxas. It’s amazing how people will dismiss the truth if they don’t want to hear it.

  9. I also linked to this article John. Timothy Keller is famous for his attendee’s, one of them is Eric Metaxas who did the clever ‘prayer breakfast’ speech a few years back and also wrote a supposed bio on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I met and questioned him before an audience of probably about 1500 regarding Bonehoeffer’s denial of the resurrection. He said it was an ‘internet rumor’. Sadly, it is in a couple of Bonhoeffer’s books, and yet people will ignore the straight facts and deny these truths about their ‘heroes’. He loved Karl Barth, and so I guess all these reformed amillennialists think they are making the world a better place and bringing about the Kingdom somehow…

  10. John,

    it was the eternal security paper (10 reasons). It came off a bit harsher then I thought.

    I think it was Bobbie Joe who called it ” a kick in the butt”. (not intended).

  11. Here are a few of the questions I ask from the Scriptures James.

    CAN WE BE UNDONE? Is it Finished or not?
    CAN WE BECOME UN-RECONCILED? 2 Cor 5:18-20; Col 2:14-17
    CAN WE BE UN-BORN AGAIN? Jn 3:3,6; 1 Pet 1:23
    UN-BEGAT BY HIS WORD? James 1:18; 1 Pet 1:23
    UN-SAVED ONCE WE ARE SAVED? * Saved to the uttermost: Heb 7:25
    UN-MEMBERS OF THE BODY? 1 Cor 12:20-25
    CAN WE BE UN-COMPLETED? Col 2:10; Heb 13:21
    MADE UN-NECESSARY? 1 Cor 12:20-22
    UN-GIFTED TO JESUS? We are given to the Son as a gift. And if you believe again after losing your salvation, is that the same thing as being RE-GIFTED to the Son? John 6:39-40; John 10:29; John 17:11, 24
    HOW DO YOU BECOME UN-SONS OF GOD? Jn 1:12-13 Those of us who were born again of His will, think on this for a moment — God who foreknows all things decided to make us His Son knowing we would lose our sonship? I don’t believe so…
    ARE WE MADE UN-ALIVE? Eph 2:1; 1 Pet 3:18
    HOW DO WE BECOME UN-GUARANTEED? We lose that too? Corinthians 1:21-22, Eph 1:13
    BECOME UN-INHERITED? Acts 20:32; Eph 1:14 (Yes, I know the word is disinherited 🙂 This is play on being UNDONE.
    UNFORGIVEN? (Isn’t that a movie?) Will He UNFORGIVE you in the reverse of ALL OF YOUR SINS? Col 2:13; Titus 2:14; Heb 10:10, 14
    The God of the Bible who HATES divorce, will divorce the Bride He loved and gave Himself for? At what point?
    ARE WE MADE UN-NIGH BY HIS BLOOD? Eph 2:13 — Does the blood of Christ somehow get made unclean because we were washed in it and unsaved again? Eph 1:7

  12. James – all those scenarios are awful, but the adoption is final. I wrote an article on eternal security, it is God’s promise of His Son. Here are a few things to consider that we CAN lose or face other than eternal life.

    Loss of Fellowship with God (1 John 1:3, 6,9)
    Loss of Fellowship with others (1 John 1:3, 7)
    Loss of Fullness of joy in or walk (1 John 1:4) or joy of our salvation (Ps 51:2)
    Loss of Rewards at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor 3:10-16)
    Bring judgment upon ourselves (1 Cor 11:29)
    Loss of our physical life (1 Cor 5:5; Acts 5:1-11, 1 Cor 11:30)
    Loss of our health, be weak or sickly (1 Cor 11:30)
    Loss of our testimony or justification before men (James 2, Titus 3:8)
    Shaming the name of Christ for sins named among us (Eph 5:3).
    Facing chastening (1 Cor 11:32; Heb 12:5-6)
    Facing consequences for our actions (Gal 6:7-9)
    Others facing things because of us, including loss of knowing Christ. (Gal 6:9)
    Having strayed from the truth, being dishonorable – (2 Tim 2:18-20)
    Not being ashamed at His appearing – (1 John 2:28)

  13. James ,
    Blood of Jesus paid for all sin passed, present and future when a soul trusting Him as Savior for Justification peace with God there also is a peace of God . there is no way out . It Can not be undone. If it could be done any other way or un done then Jesus went to the cross in vain to pay the sin debt for the whole world.

    Jesus died for the whole world is history , Jesus died for me is salvation .

    If I may suggest James please do a study on the tense’s of salvation. Justification , Sanctification , Glorification . asking God for wisdom and understanding

  14. Preston, I think I may have in my earlier response to James. Is this the one you mean?

  15. James,

    IF that person trusted Jesus Christ; in whom He was (Gods only Son; God in the flesh) and what He did on the cross (died for their sins and rose again) they are saved.

    once born of God and Gods child, always Gods Child. HOWEVER, there WILL be consequences for their actions, both in this life and the next, BUT hell will not be one of those consequences.

    John, can you link the eternal security post from a couple of weeks ago?


  16. James, in terms of trying to help clarify your question, I would like to add to the hypothetical scenarios that you have proposed.

    Suppose a man believes in Jesus as Savior. He believes that he has eternal life, received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. What if he becomes bewitched by those who insist that works are required to be saved, stay saved, or prove one is saved? Suppose he begins to teach false gospels. What if he begins to believe that there are exceptions to eternal life really being eternal?

    Is that man still saved?

    If you have not previously done so, I would suggest that you go back and read the Tom Stegall article that I referenced earlier.

    You might also like the article linked below:

  17. Ok clarify this for me so I can understand. If let’s say a man named George came to the Lord by hearing the Gospel,believed in Jesus,went to church,gave to charity(but does this not for Salvation but because he loves the Lord)and bam all of the sudden he questions his faith and becomes an atheist. Starts blasting Christians saying God does not exist and even starts an organization called Atheists Against Christianity and dies as an atheist. Are you telling me that he’s still saved and would be in heaven after death?

    Or how about the hypothetical George becomes a Satanist,Mormon,Buddhist,Muslim,JW,Hindu or even starts his own unbiblical religion and dies in whatever new religion he’s involved again are you telling me that he would still go to heaven?

  18. James, once someone has believed, he is eternally secure, even if his faith does not endure.

    Following are links to a couple of comments that give additional detail:

  19. I think that John made an important distinction between believing and becoming an unbeliever.

  20. Hi James,
    Thanks for commenting. Eternal life is completely a gift from God and it is ETERNAL. God the Father and the Son hold believers in Christ in the power and grasp of their hands and they promise to never let go of us (John 10:27-30). Also, Romans 8:37-39 promises that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Regarding your comment, a true believer in Christ cannot become an unbeliever. Did you notice the all-encompassing promise in Romans 8 that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord? A person may have had some sort of religious experience short of believing in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone (raising a hand, walking an aisle, reciting some formulaic prayer, joining some church, for a few examples). I recall one such famous example of Eldridge Cleaver who hit the TV circuit for a while in the 1970s claiming to have become a Christian. Several TV ministries had him on as a guest. Not too long afterward he joined the Unification Church, later C.A.R.P., and finally Mormonism, until his death.

  21. James, I think that it is possible for a Christian to stop believing (see Luke 8:13 and 2 Timothy 2:13). Anyone who has believed in Christ as Savior has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

    You might be interested in reading the article “Must Faith Endure for Salvation to be Sure” by Thomas Stegall.

  22. I wanted to respond to this:

    I do not know your friend personally, so I would not attempt to make an assessment on his standing with God. Lordship “salvation” advocates would automatically declare him as lost, due to his failure to persevere. Calvary Chapel leaders would say that your friend walked away from his salvation and is now lost. Both of these positions are wrong. If a person is truly saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone, he can NEVER lose his salvation!

    Are you telling me that let’s say a Christian becomes an atheist that even though he’s now a non believer he’s still saved?

  23. Jewel,

    Thank you for your comment. We welcome you here.

    I noted two things that concern you,

    (1) Eternal life, once received is In Fact, ETERNAL. It can never be removed. To those who have trusted/believed in Jesus, He says in John 10:28 :
    “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

    (2) When we meet a person who has doubts or expresses reservations or completely denies their faith in Jesus’ salvation, we should return to the basics and share the Gospel message of God’s Grace with them again and again. The Bible says in:
    Romans 1:16
    For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for IT is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

    We pray you will have opportunities to share this good news with your friends who now doubt.
    Let them read — or print out for them this message on Eternal Life For You from our Web Site:

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  24. Jewel, if someone thinks he MUST turn from his sin in order to be saved, than he is trusting in his works in addition to trusting in Christ. Salvation is by grace, through faith – not through faith plus works.

    Regarding Luke 18, I don’t see any mention of the publican being wiling to turn from his sin.

    The verses read:

    “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

    Following is an excerpt from Clear Gospel Campaign that addresses the common misconception that turning from sin is required for salvation:

    “Throughout the following examination of all of every occurrence of “repent” in the King James Bible, there are two heretical doctrines that are repeatedly examined.

    The first is the common heretical belief that “sin” is somehow the intrinsic or automatic object of repentance, and that “repentance from sin” is a condition for eternal salvation. Saving repentance is akin to believing on Jesus alone for salvation. If someone refuses to believe that they are a sinner in need of salvation, then they obviously cannot believe that Jesus died for their sins. To this extent, and this extent alone, one must repent of their sins to be saved. They must acknowledge that they are a sinner in need of a Saviour. But they are never required to turn from their sins, to promise or resolve to turn from their sins, or to pretend to have some profound remorse over their sins to receive God’s gift of eternal salvation. This is simply unknown to Scripture. It is an invention of sinful man who insists that morality can save him.

    On the other extreme is the less common, but growing belief that repentance is never presented as a requirement for salvation. The logic usually goes something like this: “The gospel of John says it was written that men may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and that believing, they might have life in His name. But John never uses any form of the word repentance. Therefore, repentance is not a requirement for salvation.”

    Unfortunately, the logic of this argument hinges on the presupposition that “repent” means “to turn from your sins.”

  25. hi very interesting about callvinsim i have never really looked into it or
    understood what it meant thank fully. l sounds weird. You mentioned
    that a friend had walked awAY from his walk with god. I know a few
    people who were babes in christ that had been saved but got caught
    up in jehova witness cult. Its sad because they are saved but don,nt
    now beleive in the gospel of grace. their minds have been confused
    and are very miserable and full of fear . Hard to change their minds
    from what they are now beleiving. But i know they are safe in jesus hands
    even if they donnt satan has blinded their minds with false religion.
    anyway I was wondering if god saves someone who thinks they have to
    be willing to turn from their sin and put their faith in jesus for salvation.
    They know not before salvation but just a willingness to want to turn from sin and receive jesus. In luke 18 it mentions the tax collector was justified
    before god he seemed to have an willingnesss to turn from sin and trust
    in jesus as he asked god to have mercy on him the sinner. So do you
    beleive that whether you are willing to give up sin or not and beleive that
    god saves you in either case.?

  26. I’m of the view that those who haven’t heard, are still damned based on unbelief alone, since even the person that hasn’t heard has enough evidence to seek, and all who seek will find, the Lord will see to that, since the Lord is infinitely more interested in people’s salvation than any person is. There is one way to be saved (belief in Jesus for eternal life). And unbelief for any reason, damns (John 3:18).

    Keller does do the crazy thing of widening the narrow way of salvation, via universalism. But, then he tries to add works to the narrow way, adding works changing the narrow way into part of the broad way to damnation. That’s very Jekyll and Hyde. The end result is that Keller (whether intentional or not) ends up leading people to get damned via both teachings.

  27. What really irks me is that this guy seems to harp on holiness and perseverance as an exchange for salvation through Jesus Christ, making grace a difficult and tedious thing, but on the other hand he seems to promote near-universalism for those who don’t know Christ.
    As a bible believer standing firm on the Dutch Statenvertaling, I do believe that those who never had the chance to hear/read the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24), will be judged on different criteria than those who did have the opportunity, but blew it off.
    But it is clear that those who hear the gospel of grace will need to believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour to receive eternal life through Him and His blood or spend an eternity in the lake of fire.

    [Ed. note: This letter is from our brother Jan in the Netherlands; the Statenvertaling is a Dutch translation of the Bible]

  28. Thank you for the kind words.

  29. Joey,

    Another good thought in addition to your personal witnessing as Jim F suggested is to download the PDF of Dr. Ray Stanford’s Handbook of Personal Evangelism book FREE. The “Share Your Faith” link in our header at the top of every page. You may use this link to retrieve it:

    We used that as a text book when I took the Personal Evangelism class from Dr. Stanford in Bible College many moons ago. (We had to pay for it then).

    That Handbook will help give you confidence and will likely answer some questions from your friend’s new-found disdain for the God of the Bible.. of whom I suspect he knows little or nothing. A great read.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  30. Ron Shea, in his “Grace Chart”, says that both LS and Calvinism are based on the same theological roots:

    “‘Bilateral contract salvation’ and the ‘Perseverance of the Saints’ are two separate but interrelated doctrines within a complex theological system of salvation by works, which relies, at its core, on redefining the word ‘grace’ as some sort of mystical empowering substance. This theological system is set forth in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, Part 1 of the Second Part, Questions 109-114, ‘Treatise of Grace,’ a 12th century manifesto of Roman Catholic Theology. In Protestantism, it is known as ‘Reformed Theology’ or ‘Calvinism’.”

    I think I am starting to understand why the mainline churches are so far adrift. They started with a false gospel – in many cases, a long, long time ago.

    None of the “isms” is the real thing!

  31. Buster,

    “This is what’s lost in Calvinism. God is for us. Salvation is not complicated; He wants everyone in.”

    You are exactly right. Calvinism does give the idea that God is only for the elect (that He chose) and is therefore against everyone else. A person trying to measure up to prove he is one of the elect will surely find trouble in that endeavor.


    I will pray that you get a chance to witness to your friend and that he will be receptive to the gospel. It is best to focus on who God really is and what Christ has really done. Keep it to the simple gospel, especially with those who may try to distract with debates over side issues. Also never fear, God is always seeking your friend and is always there to help you be a witness to him. Also, your own personal testimony could be a powerful witnessing tool for him. It’s at least a way to get the conversation started.

  32. Buster,

    Welcome, you are among friends.

    No one who believes in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation need ever doubt — or return to a previous “religion.”

    Jesus Himself said in John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

    Thus we see exactly what His words mean:
    (1) It is ETERNAL Life (without end the moment we believe) Guaranteed!!
    (2) It is His direct GIFT to all who believe in Him. There is no charge, expectation or counter offer required.
    (3) We shall NEVER Perish.. That word “NEVER” has a wonderful, undeniable and all-encompassing meaning comprised of four Greek words, “ou me”, “eis”, “ho” and “aion” all together into one word meaning NEVER with the following definition: a double negative strengthening the denial; not at all; by any or no means, neither, never, in no case (wise), not (at all, in any wise), without end. So that means ETERNAL and NEVER Perish.

    Buster, I pray this helps, and I pray also Joey will help his friend see the reality of Christ’s statement, “NEVER perish.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  33. Thanks for all the replies everybody!

    Buster, the experience you described is very similar to my own. I was a thorough going “five pointer” for about ten years, and only recently have I begun to seriously reconsider all of them. I think fear held me in the grip of Calvinism for most of those years. I, too, read the Bible through the filter of the “TULIP” and could see little else. My friend and I used to talk about it all the time. Thankfully, in the providence of God, I always thought of “Perserverance” in terms of “eternal security” instead, and never based my salvation on my performance. I knew deep down that any assurance grounded in my own performance was a worthless and damning hope. But I still struggle with certain things–particularily with certain Old Testament happenings, such as God controlling the thoughts of certain men to accomplish his purposes (the case of Ahab, for example). How does that fit in with free will? I’m not sure. Perhaps one day I’ll understand; but until then, I’m not going to bother about it too much anymore and just trust that God is good and just, which implies that He wouldn’t punish somebody for doing something which he genuninely couldn’t help but do–espeacially if God Himself were the one who caused him to do it!

    I hope I’ll be able to present the Gospel to my friend, but it might be a while. Right now it seems he only wants to argue/debate the intellectual merits of Christianity (i.e. whether the doctrine of the incarnation is logically coherent, whether the existence of God and evil are logically compatible, whether the doctrine of the Trinity is intelligible, etc etc). I doubt very much, however, that such things as these are his REAL problem with Christianity. I’m sure his real problem is (as some of you have said) that he just couldn’t take the idea of living with constant judgement hanging over his head anymore for his failure to measure up.

    Thanks again,


  34. Joey wrote: “I have been wondering the same thing. I know he always struggled a lot with assurance of his salvation, chiefly because of certain sins in his life which he was struggling to rid himself of. But he always professed to be very convinced of justification by faith alone, and was very convincing. He was, however, a Calvinist, but I don’t think he was a lordship salvationist persay.”

    People have already given you such good answers (so go with what you’ve heard already), I’m just adding a couple of my own thoughts about this. My focus is on the issue that you said he struggled with assurance and thought certain sins in his life would jeopardize something. That makes me think he never believed faith alone (even while saying he did). Just my opinion, and being my opinion, it’s nothing. If you get a chance to tell him the true Gospel, tell him about it, and put all emphasis on the free gift that it is indeed.

  35. Hi Joey,

    I can relate with your friend. Calvinism destroyed my faith and nearly caused me to walk away from Christianity on more than one occasion. When I first came to believe in the God of the Bible, He saved my life. I was very much in love with Him. To make a long story very short, over time I was introduced to Calvinism. At first, it seemed Biblical, and even good, but it wasn’t until I was already entrenched in it that I began to realize the monster it made God out to be. Unfortunately, at that point, I couldn’t not see it in the Bible. I really believed this was Christianity, this was what the Bible taught, and this was God. This broke my heart as it stood contrary to the God I had known and experienced, the one I used to see in the Bible, the one that saved my life. Now I felt hopeless.

    I wanted to believe, so over time I took on a more liberal view of the Bible to try and get away from the Calvinism I saw in it. But this only worked for so long. Finally, after some years of struggling, not being able to see anything else in the Bible, and with Calvinism on the rise again, I assumed I must have been wrong, and Calvinism must be right. At that point I determined that even if this were God, I would never bow my knee to such a God. Yet, I did not want to believe there was a God like that. So the only other option became atheism, as depressing as that was for me.

    None of it lasted. Thankfully, I did not deconvert. But I could have, had I never seen and experienced a God different than Calvin’s god in the Bible. For somebody who really can’t see anything other than Calvinism in the Bible, and genuinely wants to, this is Christianity for them. So, to come to reject this is not rejecting the one true God; it’s rejecting the false god of Calvinism. Unfortunately, if this has become Christianity for somebody, then they go hand in hand. They’ve lost hope that anything else exists, so they reject them both. None of this changes the fact that they are not rejecting the one true God however, and that’s an important distinction. For God too rejects Calvinism, and if this is all somebody knows, it is right of them to reject it. Though it is sad that in their mind there is no other alternative at the moment.

    I still have days when I see Calvinism in the Bible and momentarily fear Calvinists are right. I’m working on that, but I’d be a liar to say I don’t struggle still. Who would want that God to be real? Without knowing your friend, if his struggle is anything like mine, I don’t think his emotions are wrong. As far as I can tell, while the semantics of properly explaining the Gospel and a clear understanding are important, all that’s required for salvation is belief in Jesus Christ. If your friend ever had that, then I would say he’s a truly born again Christian regardless of where he stands today and regardless of if he returns, especially when viewed from the perspective that his rejection is not of the Jesus Christ who died for and loves the whole world, but his rejection is of Calvin’s false god. But even if this weren’t the case, I do think it’s possible for a true believer to walk away. I trust God will continue working to bring Him back into a real understanding of His character, as I trust God never abandoned me. This is what’s lost in Calvinism. God is for us. Salvation is not complicated; He wants everyone in. When we lose our “experience” of the eternal life we possess in knowing Him in an actual relationship (John 17:3), it is devastating. This, more than anything else, is what keeps me and what has always drawn me back. He knows me. And I trust now that He loves me unconditionally. While there may be a lot of good reasons to do certain things, to change, to evangelize, etc. not one of them has anything to do with earning or maintaining my salvation or His love for me. That’s settled in Christ. I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine (Song of Solomon 6:3). Easier said than believed, yes, (especially in the struggle), but true nonetheless.

    If your friend’s anything like me, he’s struggling. And regardless of the front he’s putting on, deep down, he wishes it weren’t so. I hope he finds his way.

    I wish you well, brother.

  36. Joey, Calvinism is not Christianity. Christianity is Christianity.

    Being a sincere believer in a false gospel/religion will not save anyone. If your friend was a sincere Calvinist, it is possible that he never trusted in Christ alone.

    Each of the “petals” of Calvinism is a perversion of the Gospel. None of them has any merit whatsoever.

    If you have a chance, please go through the real Gospel with your friend.

    I have prayed that you will have a chance to talk to your friend about the Gospel. I have prayed that, if he doesn’t hear it from you, he will hear it elsewhere. I have prayed that if your friend has never trusted in Christ alone, that he will. And, I have prayed that if your friend is a believer, that he will return to fellowship with God.

    Joey, you are a very good friend to care so much about the eternal destiny of your friend.

  37. Joey,

    I’ll jump in here again until John gets a chance to respond.

    [Edited slightly for clarity by JW]

    Since your friend was Calvinist it is not surprising that he would “de-convert” whatever that may mean to him. If a person believes himself to be a Calvinist he surely would subscribe to one or more of the Calvinist teachings called the TULIP.

    And if he believes even one of those, it would seem hopeless if he is not living a “perfect life.”

    If he believes the following no wonder he would drop out:

    The T. U. L. I. P.
    T.. — He is Totally Depraved or as some say, he has a total inability to believe. Hopeless!
    U.. — Unconditional Election – thus he may be like most Calvinists – never sure if he was elected by God for salvation. Hopeless!!!
    L.. — Limited Atonement And if he was not elected by God, then Christ’s Atonement (sacrifice and payment for all our sin) was not for him. Hopeless!!!
    I.. — Irresistible Grace Calvinists say it is irresistible — so if he was not elected by God — he cannot have God’s grace which is only good and irrestible for the elect. Hopeless!!!
    P.. — Perseverance of the Saints So if your friend who has a sin problem has not persevered “until the end” he must think himself not elect or saved. Hopeless!!!

    So your friend needs to realize he has been defrauded — and needs to BELIEVE/TRUST in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation. Christ has done it ALL and is to be trusted. Sit down with him and read that Link I mentioned. He may be pleasantly surprised.

    Let us know — and we will all be praying for you and him.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  38. Joey,

    Welcome, we are glad to have you here.

    John and Bruce have given you excellent advice.. and John’s link to Clear Gospel Campaign is very accurate and informative. (I wish I had written that page myself).

    Here are some excerpts of false invitations that Clear Gospel web site has gleaned from so-called Christian churches and pastors:

    [T]he following [are] false gospel substitutes:
    “** Invite Jesus into your heart,”
    “** Make a personal commitment to Christ,”
    “** Put Christ on the throne of your life,”
    “** Give your life to Christ,”
    “** Commit your life to Christ,”
    “** Give your heart to God,”
    “** Turn your life over to Jesus,”

    If the question is asked, “What must I do to be saved?” The Bible says that every one of those declarations are false. All of them are works of men and may be found in the Statements of Faith from a plethora of mainline “Christian” churches. BEWARE of any who proclaim such false statements. They are contrary to God’s Salvation by Grace alone through Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

    Read carefully the following link here on our web site and have your friend study it with you. It explains very clearly how one may have God’s Grace salvation, immediately and eternally.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  39. @John- “It would be interesting to know whether your friend believed The Gospel, or one of the legion of false gospels, such as Lordship ‘salvation’.”

    I have been wondering the same thing. I know he always struggled a lot with assurance of his salvation, chiefly because of certain sins in his life which he was struggling to rid himself of. But he always professed to be very convinced of justification by faith alone, and was very convincing. He was, however, a Calvinist, but I don’t think he was a lordship salvationist persay.

    Thanks for responding, guys.


  40. Joey, like Bruce said, if your friend was ever a believer, he is eternally secure – no exceptions!

    It would be interesting to know whether your friend believed The Gospel, or one of the legion of false gospels, such as Lordship “salvation.”

    Clear Gospel Campaign has an interesting section on false gospel substitutes and the dangers thereof. Please find below an excerpt and link:

    “Those unregenerate who subsequently lapse from their confused ‘profession of faith’ are more likely to become hardened to the gospel, having seen the emptiness and worthlessness of what they understood to be biblical true Christianity.”

  41. Hi Joey, thanks for your comments.

    I do not know your friend personally, so I would not attempt to make an assessment on his standing with God. Lordship “salvation” advocates would automatically declare him as lost, due to his failure to persevere. Calvary Chapel leaders would say that your friend walked away from his salvation and is now lost. Both of these positions are wrong. If a person is truly saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone, he can NEVER lose his salvation!

    John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; And I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE; and they shall NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

    Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  42. Hey guys (and gals). I’ve got a question for ya.

    I have a friend who claims to have recently “deconverted” from Christianity. I know this sort of thing happens often, but with him it really shocked me because he seemed as solid as anyone I’ve ever known. But now I find him posting very anti-Christian videos on youtube–“Christianity: A Cult of Human Sacrifice”, for example–and cannot help but wonder whether his profession of faith was ever sincere in the first place. Is it possible that one who truly believed the Gospel could not only come to greatly doubt it or disbelieve it, but come to ridicule it like that? It’s very troubling to me. Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance, 🙂

  43. Thanks Matt,

    We appreciate you and your Biblical wisdom.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  44. Matt for Grace and Truth

    I appreciate this blog! Thrilling stuff!

  45. You are right this all simple and clear Kim- obvious to those who will see it, but deceit is what Satan uses to make us look at the obvious with distorted lenses. I am so amazed at what I see now in every realm of my living existence how Satan has taken what was meant for good and is simple and perverts and confuses it. This is why Jack and others here, to some, seem foolish, but in reality the “foolishness” of God is what is wise and of great wealth. Just reading Proverbs shows us how to live a good and healthy life- very simple writings from the wisest man alive on this earth, huh?
    Try though stating that this is all you need to live for God to a LS/Calvinist and you will be getting the 5 points +.

  46. So true, so true. I hope you’re able to breakthrough to your relatives. We can all relate there.

    And, yeah…the smirk!…

  47. Thanks, Pearl! And thanks for that wonderful passage, which I find convicting even as a believer, and will use in talking to some family members when I see them at Christmas. God’s system, Jesus’ system, which is salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, gives us nothing to boast about! But LS most certainly does! It seems so simple and clear and obvious — how can studied men like John MacArthur not see that? The lie of Satan is such a clever counterfeit, but always appeals to pride. And I would add to your excellent list of irksome prideful expressions, Pearl, the self-righteous, spiritually superior (they think!), condescending smile. That’s the one I’ve encountered a lot.

  48. Your summation of the LS quandry is truly excellent, Kim. Great insight! I’d be interested to know how one LSer can honestly contradict what is so obvious!.

    You said,

    “So the whole LS system is one that appeals to the pride of man, to those who don’t have any big obvious struggles…”

    It doesn’t take much to offend God:

    16These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
    17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
    18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
    19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs, Chapter 6

    Nothing irks me more than rolling eyes, an arched eyebrow or a curled lip – these seemingly “innocent” passive-agressive looks speak volumes. Let me at ’em!

  49. Thanks, Faith and Abe. 🙂 Yep, Jesus died for the pride we have (and all the other unseen sins, along with the seen ones) both before and after we believe, or rather trust! It’s so strange that your question to them, Abe, leaves them honestly bamboozled and tongue-tied, and yet it much too often doesn’t penetrate the fog enough to make them see their error. It’s tragic.

  50. Kim wrote: “how can the LSers possibly think that such submission should have a standard of less than perfection?”

    Heh heh.

    Pardon my chuckle, but you hit the nail on the head, and it reminds me of other debates I’ve had. This was long the issue I brought up with LS people, before I knew there was a debate about it at all. I would hear people say, “You must commit your life to Christ in full surrender”! And I’d ask them, did you do that? And they would never answer my question. Never. Because they knew that I’d be able to easily show them that they refuse Him on several things every day.

    So I’d ask them, what makes them saved, based on their own doctrine? Another question they’d never answer. Never. But it’s the valid question. Don’t apply this to me, I’d tell them. Apply it to yourself, I’d say to them. I’d ask them, “Are you saved based on your own doctrine?”. Then they’re stuck. If they say yes, then they have to admit there is a refusal of Christ’s lordship that is “permissible refusal”. If they say no, then I’d be able to tell them, “Well you’d better get saved then”.

    They painted themselves into a corner, which is why, they will never answer these questions.

  51. Excellent Kim! 🙂
    Always wondered why these guys did not even look at the unseen of themselves like PRIDE….they seem to miss that sordid detail (sin).


  52. Hi, everybody,
    It seems to me that the LS folks are missing the whole point. Jesus had to die for our sins, because as the Law revealed, we can’t submit to God’s Kingship or Jesus’ Lordship. If we were able to fully/perfectly submit to Jesus as LORD, then He would never have needed to die for our sins! God loved us so much that, even while we were still in rebellion against Him, in His amazing grace and mercy, He provided His Own sacrificial Lamb of God for our sins, once for all. So we have God’s grace — poured out in the form of Jesus’ shed blood, along with the clear demonstration that Jesus is God in His resurrection — offered to us as an alternative to keeping the Law in coming to God. And Scripture makes clear that God’s standard, if we’re going to come to Him under the Law, is perfection. So, in adding submission to Jesus’ Lordship to belief, in the salvation equation, how can the LSers possibly think that such submission should have a standard of less than perfection? By having a standard of less than perfection in their added requirement of submitting to Jesus’ Lordship, they reveal that their focus is on proving the authenticity of their ‘belief’ to men, not to God. And God’s standard is perfection in the inward man as well as in the outward man, but man’s, the LSers’, standard is compliance that can be seen by men. Whatever is unseen, which concerns God even more than what is seen, isn’t really addressed by the LSers. So the whole LS system is one that appeals to the pride of man, to those who don’t have any big obvious struggles and can therefore appear to be following Jesus oh so closely, giving reason to boast! What do y’all think?

    Accepting Grace,

  53. Thanks, John, for that clarification on Thomas Road Baptist. Your final observation about people following their parents in ministry was astute. Sometimes, like in the case of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s son, Jay Bakker, who founded the radical “Revolution” church, the theological errors of the parents become intensified and expanded under the offspring.

  54. Bruce,Thomas Road Baptist Church is affiliated with SBCV, which I believe stands for Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia. I did a search on their site for churches and Thomas Road showed up. The SBCV site includes a link to the “Baptist Faith and Message,” which is the Southern Baptist Convention statement of faith.

    You are correct that Thomas Road is not directly affiliated with the SBC, but it seems to share the same beliefs regarding repentance, commitment and how to become a Christian.

    One interesting tidbit from the Thomas Road Baptist Church website, under “History of TRBC”:

    “The following year, the two-story Spurgeon Building was completed”

    The thing that is interesting for me is how people who follow their parents into ministries that teach works salvation messages ever hear the true Gospel.

  55. Faith,

    We are pleased that you now have a clear understanding of “repent”. As you have seen from John’s expose on the SBC Statement of Faith, it IS used to keep the folks in line, whether ignorantly or purposefully. It simply is false doctrine.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  56. As an adult, I never gave much thought to the word “repent” because I knew instinctively that it did not mean I could turn away from my sin, but this is what was being taught in a subtle way throughout my years. But just to get the true meaning has been helpful.

  57. Yes John I like the prayer that you just posted. When you guys got into the “repent” issue while back, I had to sit back and chew on that one for awhile. It was a hard one for me I have to admit, but looking back at my childhood when I became Gods child I only remember my wanting Jesus and believing in who He stated He was and that yes I was a sinner; I do not remember, however, stating I want to repent and TURN from my sin. How in the world could I ever do this? Now I understand that repent means “change of mind” not “turning from ones sin”. But I thank you, Bruce and Jack and others for bringing this to light. I see now where these False teachers are using the “repent” issue in the wrong way and using it as a manipulative tool in keeping their congregations in check..

  58. john wrote: “the reason that Grace churches are so rare is because we give all of these false teachers the benefit of the doubt.”

    I believe that’s true. If we examined all the “big names” out there, we’d find that virtually none of them are grace in their positions.

  59. Hi John, good info.

    I always thought that Falwell’s church was run independently of any overarching Baptist organization. I was not aware of the SBC connection. Sorry to hear about that. I don’t see that church anywhere on television any longer. Perhaps the TV ministry collapsed after Falwell’s death.

  60. By the way, following is the SBC formula for how to become a Christian. It is an unabashed false Lordship “salvation” gospel:

    “Are you ready to accept the gift of eternal life that Jesus is offering you right now? Let’s review what this commitment involves:

    I acknowledge I am a sinner in need of a Savior – this is to repent or turn away from sin

    I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead – this is to trust that Jesus paid the full penalty for my sins

    I confess Jesus as my Lord and my God – this is to surrender control of my life to Jesus

    I receive Jesus as my Savior forever – this is to accept that God has done for me and in me what He promised

    If it is your sincere desire to receive Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior, then talk to God from your heart:

    Here’s a Suggested Prayer:

    ‘Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I do not deserve eternal life. But, I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life.'”

  61. Bruce, interesting discussion regarding Jerry Falwell. I mean no disrespect, and am not being judgmental, but Falwell was an SBC minister.

    I am not willing to assume that an SBC pastor is a “Christian Baptist pastor,” due to the SBC’s false works gospel.

    Falwell’s church, Thomas Road Baptist Church, includes the following in its statement of faith:

    “We affirm that each person can be saved only through the work of Jesus Christ, through repentance of sin and by faith alone in Him as Savior. The believer is declared righteous, born again by the Holy Spirit, turned from sin, and assured of heaven.”

    I’m sorry, but the reason that Grace churches are so rare is because we give all of these false teachers the benefit of the doubt.

    I won’t do it.

  62. Thanks Bruce,

    I recall very well The Moral Majority which Falwell set up, primarily as a political machine, I believe.

    I was preaching at the time and had to warn my flock of the ecumenicity of that group.

    I had a similar problem just after I trusted Christ as my Savior. My ultra-liberal Presbyterian Pastor brother-in-law and my sister signed me up and paid for me as a member of the Ecumenical Institute — as a Christmas present. They were/are a world-wide group of which he was a local official (Kentucky). Along with the membership was an envelope of literature. I was suspicious, knowing my bro-in-law, but my wife and I dutifully read it, but with disgust.

    I sent it all back to them and demanded our names be removed. I recall having to protest several times before we were removed.

    That was in the late 60s (not 1860) and the ecumenical folks were infiltrating everything even then. And so it goes today.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  63. Hello Pearl
    Agree…agree… What a waste of an opportunity. A sad case indeed. All these hirelings are a hindrance to the gospel.


  64. Hi Faith and Jack,

    You both talked about moralism encouraging ecumenicalism.

    I remember, back in the eighties (my son would probably tease me and say, “Do you mean the 1880s?), Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority had members who belonged to cults; I think that he had quite a few Mormons who were part of that organization. I remember thinking at the time that Falwell should not have allowed that situation to develop because, as a Christian Baptist pastor, it sent out mixed messages to his own flock and to the Christian and non-Christian world.

    I know that Falwell died five years ago. According to Wikipedia, the Moral Majority disbanded in the late 80s. I hear that the church and university still go on under the leadership of Falwell’s sons.

  65. Thanks Matt for that affirmation. It’s always good to hear from you.


  66. “IF”…Spot on, Levi!

    What spineless reps of Christianity Bashir seems intent on questioning. Confronted with hard questions which demand even harder answers, Keller obviously fears man more than God. What a squandered opportunity (but that’s coming from a most gratuitous assumption that Keller himself was ever born again, which I seriously doubt given today’s religious climate).

    “…like a good socialist.”

    So true, Abe, so true!

  67. You are right about the moralism encouraging ecumenicalism- we are seeing that quite often. We have seen our country slipping even with all the proclamations of trying to get our country back on track morally- won’t work.
    Yes, the SBC has completely gone a different route and are adopting the Calvinist doctrines more and more.

  68. Faith,

    You are right — Huckabee’s moralism is good — and like you, I agree — to a point.

    Huckabee surely remembers the charge he received when he went into the ministry. (Of course he being SBC I am not sure of his charge).
    The Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy his young friend, helper and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an exhortation to all future ministers and is the charge I received at my ordination into the Gospel Ministry:

    2 Timothy 4:1-4
    I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    However as you know, moralism’s message encourages ecumenism and does not address eternal Salvation. We can find plenty of “religions” who take like moral positions, Catholic, Mormon, Adventists, JWs, etc, etc.

    Huckabee’s non-message will “save” just as many souls as the false message from those religions of man. Namely, Zero!

    Sad to say, Huckabee is in like company and familiar territory.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  69. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Bruce, the verses you cited clearly demonstrate that salvation is in Jesus Christ alone. If I were sharing this truth, I would not add or take away any of the verses that you cited.

  70. Never quite trusted/trust Huckebee- cannot put my finger on it, but something is there. He became governor, in Arkansas, when Bill Clinton became President; I lived in Arkansas in my younger days. Suspicious activities went on in Arkansas around that time.
    You are right Jack, I wonder at a pastor who won’t speak about Jesus Christ, but he sure is on the moral bandwagon against homosexuality and abortion; which, I am against those things as well, but I also understand without the change of heart by coming to Christ you cannot expect man to change by behavior alone. So if he is out there just speaking about wrong and right without telling those around him who is the Life Changer then it is all for nought.

  71. John,

    Thanks, that is interesting about SBC Baptist Huckabee starting out as staff with Baptist SBC James Robison, who, from all I have seen and read — leans Charismatic.

    Huckabee talks “conservative” politics but his theology eludes me – he never speaks about it. I was sorta mildly “chastised” by a young Calvinist relative because I did not vote for him in the primary. I explained as I said above, that I do not trust a guy who took an oath as a Minister of the Gospel Christ and now apparently abandons it, publicly ignores his faith and never mentions his Salvation, whatever that may be. His background may be the reason he is silent.

    Odd, but pitiful, what we find when we look at the records.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  72. Jack, Huckabee seems like a good guy. However, he started his pastoral career as a staffer for James Robison.

    I saw Robison speak live in the church that I grew up in. I was in college at the time.

    During that event, Robison spoke about a hypothetical funeral for someone who’s “life’s story could be told by setting a bottle of booze on his casket.” Robison mocked the notion that the decedent could have been saved, despite his sinful lifestyle. He said something like “someone may say, but he was saved in the fourth grade.” Then he said something like “yeah, right.”

    That same SBC church (where I heard Robison speak) is where I was told the “turn from sin” and “commit to Christ” for salvation false gospel.

    That church has recently moved to a new location, and has sold its land and buildings to the Church of Christ. Out of the frying pan, into the fire, so to speak.

  73. Jim F., it is hard to fathom how one turns John 3:16 into the false gospel that you cited above.

    I am so happy to have finally rejected this type of false gospel (a la SBC) and believed in Christ alone!

  74. Faith,

    Very interesting about Metaxas and your church.. He really gets around, doesn’t he?

    I agree with you about Huckabee.. I wonder about a person who has taken the vow as a Minister of the precious Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ and never shares that Gospel of God’s Grace on TV (his program or any other). That may be unfair on my part because I am not sure I have watched any of his programs completely. But one would think he would have some twinge of guilt or just a little concern for lost souls and share Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  75. Holly, I looked at your site and article about Metaxes- very informative and timely for me. We have been recently going to a church (which to tell you the truth even though they have been teaching from Scripture I have noticed a few problems) where they will be hosting a few speakers – Gov. Mike Huckebee (who I am very suspicious about) and guess who? Metaxes! . When I heard that Metaxes will be speaking on Bonhoeffer I was “Oh great! More of this?” I knew this guy was not right- so thank you for the information.


  76. Yes, creepy is a good word for it. You know what else is creepy is this statment I found at a link on Keller’s churches, website written back in 91 concerning what a peson should do in order to have a relationship with God. I think the error speaks for itself and I only post it to warn others.

    “3) What you must do:

    Repent. There first must be an admission that you have been living as your own master, worshipping the wrong things, violating God’s loving laws.
    “Repentance” means you ask forgiveness and turn from that stance with a willingness to live for and center on him.

    Believe. Faith is transferring your trust from your own efforts to the efforts of Christ. You were relying on other things to make you acceptable, but now you consciously begin relying on what Jesus did for your acceptance with God. All you need is nothing. If you think, “God owes me something for all my efforts,” you are still on the outside. Pray after this fashion: “I see I am more flawed and sinful than I ever dared believe, but that I am even more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I turn from my old life of
    living for myself. I have nothing in my record to merit your approval, but I now rest in what Jesus did and ask to be accepted into God’s family for his sake.”
    When you make this transaction, two things happen at once: 1) your accounts are cleared, your sins are wiped out permanently, you are adopted legally into God’s family and 2) the Holy Spirit enters your heart and begins to change you into the character of Jesus.
    Follow through. Tell a Christian friend about your commitment…”

    If anyone hears this kind of thing from a preacher, you can rest assured that he is teaching a “different” gospel and one that is to be avoided.

  77. Jim F., you said: “We can also be sure that anyone claiming to get revelation outside of His Word is a false teacher.” Great point!

    There is a large, growing church in my city, whose core values include:

    “We Are United Under One Vision – Elevation is built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven. We will aggressively defend our unity and that vision.”

    I think it’s creepy!

  78. Bruce,

    Yes, it is amazing isn’t it? The Bible does give us all we need to know. Any believer has the ability to press toward knowing more of it. We can also be sure that anyone claiming to get revelation outside of His Word is a false teacher.

  79. Thanks Jim.

    Very astute comments indeed! You really uncovered the LS subtleties in Keller’s monologue. I, too, along with you, was floored by Keller’s comments in which he intimated that he had some sort of unique mystic-like need-to-know pipeline to God. Doesn’t God tell us what we need to know in the Bible?

  80. Holly, I read through your article. It is interesting that people think that martyrdom earns one a place in heaven. It does not, any more than any other work.

  81. Holly,

    Thanks for your link. I will read it.

    We had a great discussion on Bonhoeffer within the comments on Sovereignty: Calvinist and Lordship “Salvation” Catchword or Crutch? back in March of this year.

    Several comments mentioned Bonhoeffer… Here is a quote from him offered by our friend Jim F, “Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”
    ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer –

    That is Heresy!!

    The discussion is at this link:

    There are several excellent comments about Bonhoeffer in that thread.

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  82. This is the pastor of an author named Eric Metaxas. He wrote a book on Bonhoeffer (correcting the record supposedly). Eric has flown under the radar and is now running the ecumenical Breakpoint (Chuck Colson), he also spoke on “dead religion” at the Presidential breakfast, and you can find his Jungian style conversion on his website. No mention of the gospel however. But plenty of pictures with Rick Warren and other famous people…

    It is a lengthy article I wrote, but I find when there is great opposition when you question someone, there may be a reason why. It is why I delved further into Bonhoeffer’s beliefs, and the author himself. Again, tied into Tim Keller since this is where he attends church and frequently “hosts” Keller along with people such as Dallas Willard.

    In His love to you all, Holly

  83. His answer was “I don’t know”, then talked about God’s mercy and dealing with each individual soul… what kind of nonsense is that? Jesus died to offer us the gift of eternal life. So yes, muslims, sikhs, hindus, those in judaism, all in all belief systems apart from faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, are headed for eternity in the lake of fire (even on that Keller blew it, saying they would “eternally shrivel”, whatever that means).

    He’s not a minister of the Gospel. He’s a minister of universalism.

    Then he ended with the “attack America” message like a good socialist.

  84. Hello Everyone
    Thank you Bruce…Thank you Jack.
    Any compromise of the gospel is dangerous for the unbeliever. I agree with John that Mr. Keller’s language is careless. These men preached a “hard” gospel yet when confronted they comprise it without a thought. They should practice what they preached. After all those books, sermons, and speaking events they do. They place doubt in the hearts of many and question the faith of their followers (and others)… yet when the rubber met the road….this is what you get….compromise.

    Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.


  85. Hi Bruce,

    You asked how I would respond to those questions. I think is it much simpler than Keller made it out to be. It is clear that Keller comes from a mix of reformed theology along with some kind of weird mysticism.

    Only one God? Yes, there is only one God and one way to Him and that is believing the gospel of Christ.

    Keller talked about souls that have to get Him… but dodged the question a bit.

    Muslims…, Jews? Are they sadly and completely deluded? Yes, they believe a false gospel and trust in the wrong people or things for salvation.

    Keller talked about if there is never any change after they hear then they don’t get Jesus. This is a falsehood of Calvinism / Lordship salvation. It relates to a head faith / heart faith kind of view.

    He talked about God revealing him truth on some sort of need to know basis… I don’t think so! What is he? Some type of self proclaimed prophet or mystic or something?

    Are all of the rest heading for hell? Yes, integrity doesn’t matter. Anyone can mean well but be sincerely wrong. He that hath the Son hath life… There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved… etc

    It seems to me that Keller won’t say they can never enter heaven because he is thinking that some may eventually prove to have been of the elect.

    He talks again about – …In their hearts have not turned to the grace of God … but this is again most likely the – heart faith – Calvinistic error.

    He mentioned that he hasn’t been told about a trap door but he curiously alluded to some sort of possibility that it might one day be revealed to him !? I hope he wasn’t serious. Either way it is ridiculous.

    He also talked of the idea of Americans not really wanting a king. Sounds to me like Lordship talk there. So to him we should want to submit to Christ’s kingship in order to be saved?

    He said in another video with Carson and Piper that You also have to taste or experience God in your heart. He advocated the experience one can get through worship. They were talking about the idea that it was not good to believe that the gospel was sweet like honey but that a person needed to taste (experience) it. I took that to mean that a person needed to supposedly feel or experience something as far as a change in his heart and actions. This sounded like more of the same old error coming from these guys.

  86. Thanks Bruce for that enlightening article about Keller and to John and Levi who so wisely and accurately commented.

    Bashir seems to have an affinity for all that is wrong with “Christianity.”

    Tim Keller has proven his apostate teaching over and over. He is one of several leaders in the terrible trend toward watering down (or ignoring) the gospel in the popular “religion business” today.

    The trend seems to be advanced and promoted ever so subtly by those “pastors” who embrace the very worst of Calvinism and Lordship Probation. Theirs is the poisonous leaven spoken about by Jesus in Matthew 16:12, “the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”

    I am excited and humbled to see good friends here who see and expose those errors. I thank the Lord and pray for all of you daily.

    In Jesus thankfully and eternally, Jack

  87. i just listened to the video. I had a couple of additional thoughts:

    1. I know some people who get hung up on what happens to people who don’t hear the Gospel. It’s like they can’t believe unless and until they can be assured that everyone has an equal opportunity to hear and believe.

    Titus 2:10:

    “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men”

    One does not have to know how God accomplishes this in order to believe the Gospel.

    2. Keller is very careless with his language. Toward the end of the clip, he talks about relying on God’s grace, which is great, except he is not clear that God’s grace is offered only through Jesus Christ. God is indeed gracious, but there is not forgiveness without the shed blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:12). I thought about the following quote from Chafer’s “Preaching the Gospel in its Accuracy”:

    “By careless language, giving the unsaved the impression that God is love and rich in mercy and that He forgives sin directly as an act of kindness, generosity, or leniency. God does forgive, but it is only on the righteous ground that the penalty for sin is borne by the Savior. It is for this reason that the sinner must come to God by Jesus Christ and that salvation is conditioned on faith in Christ. There is no need for Christ to die if God is free to make light of the sinner’s sin by a mere attitude of graciousness apart from satisfaction because of outraged holiness.”

  88. Thanks John, excellent analysis and solid Scriptures as well. Thanks for you testimony too.

    I can’t quite figure out Keller’s theology. It’s kind of a hybrid, I guess. He is a self-admitted “Reformed Calvinist,” which probably means that he also holds to Lordship “Salvation” teaching. Yet, he also holds to spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, and, apparently, to his own modified view of universalism. What an amalgamation of false doctrine!

  89. Thanks, Levi.

    Great solid scriptural answers there! I think that you nailed it when said, “Not a lover of men.” Funny thing is, in trying to please people rather than to present the gospel of the Bible, they seem to please NOBODY. Even the interviewer knew that Keller’s responses didn’t add up to truth (his responses didn’t even make sense).

  90. If Mr. Keller does believe the Gospel, he is not willing to defend it.

    If someone believes that the path to salvation can go through various and sundry religions, they would have to first conclude that Jesus was a liar, because He claimed to be the exclusive way to heaven. That would rule out Jesus as a “great man.”

    Years back, before I was even saved, a woman (who was the religion editor for NPR at the time) asked me if I thought that there were many roads to heaven. I told her no. I used John 14:6 to support my answer.

    At that time, I believed that “turning from sin” and “commitment to Christ” were part of the salvation “package”, even though I had done a miserable job of both.

    The Lordship “salvationist” is a different creature than the universalist, because he has rewritten John 14:6 as follows:

    “Jesus saith unto him, you and I are the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by us.”

    A couple of years ago, I realized that I had fallen for a false gospel. I repented from “turning from sin” and “commitment to Christ” for salvation and trusted in Christ alone.

    If I were asked today to answer the same questions, I would start with John 14:6. Then, I would add:

    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.”

    Romans 11:6:

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


    John 10:9-18

    [9] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
    [10] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
    [11] I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
    [12] But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
    [13] The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
    [14] I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
    [15] As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
    [16] And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
    [17] Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
    [18] No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

  91. Hello Bruce
    I am up late…
    Wow!!!!! Does the word compromise come to mind. Keller did more dancing than Rob Bell on the subject of salvation. One is left to wonder “IF” these men believe the gospel. And from the answers these men gave; it sure sounds like they do not.

    I must admit I do like the help you gave Mr. Keller. So the help I will give him will only add a little.

    1) I try with all my might but I could not find the word “if” any where in the bible explaining who Jesus is. John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:30 *I and the Father are one. No “if” there.
    2) Peter knew Jesus… Matthew 16:15-17 He saith unto them, but whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
    3) And no “if” in the gospel 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. And I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

    Wherein ye stand
    Not a lover of men Mr.Keller