“Crazy Love” Lite: A Review of Francis Chan’s
Children’s Book, “Halfway Herbert” (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook Publishers, 2010)
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:
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:
Click to access 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.
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!
I heard an excellent sermon by Tom Cucuzza today on unity. It is entitled “It’s All Of Christ” and is linked below. I have provided pertinent excerpts that are in keeping with why we at ExPreacherMan do not allow false teachers to go on and on with their repetitive insistence on trying to teach error.
Although this was not part of Tom’s sermon today, I think the following excerpt from Titus 3 fits in with this theme:
 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
And now, for the excerpts:
We must protect the gospel. Now, what is the gospel? It’s the good news that God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to pay for all of our sins and that He came back from the dead to prove it was done, and that all who would simply put their faith in Christ and Christ alone receive eternal life.
Now, if there is only one plan of salvation, which the Bible says that is true, if there is only one gospel, which the Bible says that is true, then the truth needs to be protected.
We cannot give false teachers a place – and you’ll notice what he said – not even for an hour. Now, that’s not being mean-spirited, that’s just standing our ground. That’s having the courage to say: “Excuse me, not here. That message is not welcome here.”
There are those who are saved and yet are confused about this issue. And they are -many times – just because they haven’t learned, they haven’t been taught better – they are saying things that aren’t true, but it hasn’t occurred to them that what they are saying is not true. What do we do with them? We teach them. We kindly teach them. We take them alongside and we show them the way of God more perfectly. Alright? There is that ministry. Every man is a ministry. We need to see that.
However, there are those, though, who are fixed on preaching error and teaching error. And when they are approached with the truth – and we try to make that clear – they say: “That’s not true! I don’t believe that. I believe you’re the one who’s teaching falsehood.”
Minutes 34:20 – 35:01
Listen! Here’s the truth. Let me shock you this morning. You can trust Jesus Christ as Savior and never live for Him and go to heaven. “I can’t believe that.” Then you don’t get grace. You do not understand grace. Grace is unmerited. Now, we should not live that way. We should not live in a sinful way. But, the fact is, that every one of us still sins. Every one of us. And, whether you do a million or whether you do one, you still have failed to live right and so you can’t go to heaven that way.
Should we live for Christ once we’re saved? Yes, we should. Paul agreed with that, I agree with that. I say amen to that.
What if you don’t live for Christ? You still go to heaven if you’ve trusted Him as Savior. “Well, I can’t accept that!” Let me tell you something friend. There’s a very good chance you are still lost and on your way to hell, because you are looking at your own merit, your own faithfulness, as the way to heaven. “No, I don’t believe that!” Well, then why would say that? Why would you say it?
You know what else comes to mind sadly? Is the ‘cartoon book’ that Living waters has out as well.
praying for you Kyle that you would be a seeker of Truth of The Gospel , you have had very good follow up response’s , Please seek Wisdom from God in the matters of your eternal soul and what others have taken their time to respond to you
Kyle, it is those people like Chan who shut up the Kingdom of heaven against men. They exalt themselves by their ‘works’. Interesting you should choose these chapters… Matt 23, was speaking of this very thing Chan does. Jesus was chastising the religious people who make long prayers and love to be seen in the marketplace.
They love to write books about their ‘tithes’ and what they do to be radical or show God their crazy love.
Justice, mercy, faith… they look good on the outside, like sheep, but has the inside of the cup been cleansed? They appear outwardly righteous to men, but are they? Have they submitted to His righteousness, or are they still seeking to establish their own (by their works)?
They love to call others lawless, and tell them what they are doing wrong, and they live to accuse others of being ‘false converts’. They cannot define the law they themselves live under.
How much? How much good? How much following? How much sin is allowable? How radical a disciple? How crazy our love? Where is the line crossed or shall I say, when do we fail?
Funny you should bring up Luke 6, I just shook my head. How well is Francis Chan spoken of? I believe pretty well received, not only in the Calvinist groups, but in the New Apostolic false prophet groups like Mike Bickle and Rick Joyner. Woe to him…A tree is indeed known by his fruit. These are the blind leading the blind into a ditch. They are busy removing specks out of other people’s eyes and they declare their many wonderful works.
Build your house upon the ROCK Kyle, not the foundation of sand which is works…. That is no foundation at all.
Amen, John. How many verses does the book of Hebrews ALONE tell us it’s faith that counts as righteousness?
Hebrews 11:1 “Now FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
Hebrews 11:3 “Through FAITH we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so things which are seen were not made things which do appear.”
Hebrews 11:4 “By FAITH Abel…….”
Hebrews 11:5 “By FAITH Enoch was translated….”
And so on….really just read the entire book of Hebrews.
My favorite verse in this topic……..
Galatians 3:1-3 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? ”
2 “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of FAITH?”
3 “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
I will listen to Jesus Christ, my Savior, before any man. I’ll continue to preach and love the gospel of the three only One who can save me by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. What He did was perfect and complete. I will not slap my Savior in the face by thinking He didn’t finish what He came to do. I pray for all who are arrogant enough to think our God needs their help for anything.
Another drive by . . . sigh.
Kyle, welcome and thanks for your comments.
I have read those chapters and I still believe that eternal life is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
I hope that we can reach many with this message, that they might come to trust in Jesus as their Savior.
I will let you continue with your mission of defending the gospel according to Francis Chan, and I will continue to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Wow! Saying Francis Chan is teaching or preaching a false gospel worries me for you. Before you say anything else, go read Mathew 23. Then go read Luke 6, then try to form an intelligent thought and try again. It is people like you that believe grace will save them from a continuous, life long, half-hearted following of Christ that are really preaching and teaching a false gospel, one that is disillusioning possibly millions of ‘believers’ into the ‘easy-beliefism’ road to ETERNAL torture and torment. God’s grace is more than sufficient for those that choose to follow Him. Now it’s up to you to read your bible and find out exactly what it is that Jesus calls us to do. Don’t be surprised if on THAT day if you still believe what you wrote here is true, you find yourself receiving God’s wrath, instead of his mercy. I’ll pray for you and for anyone that reads and believes this garbage.
I’ve attempted this fryingpan. It would be fine with my oldest, even was she was younger. Unfortunately this is not the case with my youngest. She is a challenge and I’m having an issue with her having virtually noooo attention whatsoever. It makes it extremely challenging to figure ways out for her to hear the gospel. It’s not an issue with . It’s more an issue I need to find amore imaginative way to introduce it to her or she’s off with something else.
There is the Gospel cube or also called the evanga cube
I hope I’m not stating the obvious here or saying anything condescending, but Bobbie Jo (and it may come down to simply being too busy and I totally get that), have you considered reading the Bible to them like story time? Story telling isn’t for kids only, as demonstrated by Jesus’ many parables and adults who make a living as professional story tellers with audiences comprised of mainly adults as well. It is certainly not convenient to have to have yet one more thing on a parent’s to-do list and would be great to have something age-appropriate to give them to read, but we’re in an age where sound doctrine is very scarce. As some like to say, better no one than the wrong one.
Just a thought.
IMO cartoon messages just sets them up for chick track poison also chick tracts use fear tactics on people along with a false gospel .
memorizing scripture around the Gospel so if they would pick up a chick tract or some other tract they could spot the error
Thanks for your speedy reply, Jack. And thanks John as I believed as you confirmed that this would be incredibly difficult. It’s shameful that there isn’t any doctrinal sound cartoons for children. My daughter would pay closer attention through a cartoon unfortunately as her attention span is not so good. However when I ask her who’s Jesus she said to me God. I’ve explained the gospel the best I could for their ages.
You know, I’ve begun to really come to the realization that a lot of people are lost and don’t know Jesus at all as they feel they do.
It’s really hitting home that Satan is the god of this world. If anyone comes acrossed any books or videos good for children please let me know.
Great article by the way….as sad as it is thanks for the warning as I have children the Lord has trusted me with. Thank you
Bobbie Jo, I’m not aware of any either. I would urge extreme caution. As with most of the materials for adults, I would expect most of the materials for children to be doctrinally aberrant as well.
It would be good to continue emphasizing Bible stories and principles and include the Gospel faithfully.
Not sure about now, but at one time uears ago, Child Evangelism Fellowship had some good material for kids but it depended upon a discerning teacher to make it happen.
Praying for you and the kids.
In Jesus Christ eternally,Jack
I am not aware of any good cartoon Gospel ministries or tracts.
But I can warn you about Chick Tracts — I have read a couple and find then off doctrinally — and also have heard that they are not Biblical. Just beware of them. I think, with your discernment, you would quickly see the error.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Could anyone recommend perhaps a cartoon or something kid oriented that is an accurate account of the gospel? I have an almost 4 year old and a 10 year old. I don’t want to scare them in any way but I want them to understand this is serious. I tried my best explaining the gospel to my older daughter and asked her if she believes in what I explained to her and she says yes.
Any suggestions??? They would be greatly appreciated. Thanks 🙂
True Matt, it’s why so many of them are in anxious, depressed and burnt out situations, like Francis Chan, or John Piper who says it takes a whole village to ‘stay saved’ (see here on expreacherman), or Billy Graham who stated on Larry King he didn’t even KNOW if he was going to make heaven… Ones that have been in that doctrine long enough, it’s surely got to dawn on you that God’s standard is perfection, and that they are still seeking to establish their own righteousness….
Thank you for sharing your comments. Below is my current perspective on works:
Being a gift, I am NOT saved BY good works before or after salvation. Rather, I am saved FOR good works. God desires and urges good works (Romans 12:1-2). We “should” produce works (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8; Romans 7:4; 2 Corinthians 5:15). They provide a profitable and “visible” witness to other people (James 2:14-26; Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). Good works will be rewarded (1 Corinthians 3:8; Colossians 3:24; 2 John 1:8). Lack of works does, however, produce a loss, but not a loss of eternal salvation (which is a free gift), rather a loss of profitable rewards (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Lordship (works-related) “salvationists” must attempt to judge (but never truly know) HOW MUCH “fruit” or HOW MANY “works” (or how little sin) are sufficient or necessary to prove that you really are a believer in Christ. As a result, many are in a perpetual or intermittent state of uncertainty and doubting. On the other hand, some are overconfident that their works are sufficient to prove their salvation (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 18:9-14). Bottom line: From God’s perspective, You and I have never done and can never do enough works to merit or prove our salvation (James 2:10; Galatians 3:10).
Richard Crawford, I am concerned for you as well, as it seems your salvation may be hinged in dependence upon your wonderful works, vs the wonderful work He has done on our behalf.
None of us here have any desire to compromise the word of God, on the contrary, just the opposite, we contend for the faith, we defend the gospel, we want to uphold the truth of God’s Word and not handle it deceitfully.
His truth is how people come to salvation (2 Tim 3:15, Rom 10:17, Rom 1:16-17; 1 Cor 1:17-18), then how they are sanctified and built up (Jn 17:17; Acts 20:32), continuing in His Word is how one becomes a disciple/student (Jn 8:31). This is what we should encourage other believers to do since the entire Word is for our learning and admonitions on how to grow in grace. We should be very careful not to judge another man’s servant, our Master is able to make us stand (Rom 14:4), so we should tell people how they can stand in this world (Eph 6:13). Stick around, we don’t mind questions that people are willing to have answered with the Word of God vs. opinion. In Christ’s love, Holly
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Rom 15:4
Thanks John and Jim.
The issue is always Eternal Life is eternal and Eternal security is always secure eternally by faith in Jesus Christ.
Satan has and will always continue trying to confuse the issue of Grace vs works for salvation.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I hope people will check out the passages mentioned and consider the proper role of good works. There certainly was a lot more that could have been said but I think I got the main points across. I think this can be a powder keg issue because it gets right to the heart of the matter as to how so many are duped by a legalistic fruit inspection to to prove salvation mindset. Plus it is an easy initial stumbling point for new believers. If the devil can keep one from being saved he would surly like to keep them wrapped up in legalism and ineffective.
Jack, our friend Jim Floyd just yesterday posted a great article called “Do Good Works Prove Salvation?”. It is linked below:
Welcome. Obviously you have not read many (if any) of our articles or comments.
There are many fine articles where we discuss “the fruits”, the Book of James (and those who misinterpret it) and several about Paul’s struggles with his sin and disobedience to the Lord as a saved disciple. You should do just a tad of research on our web site before you jump to conclusions.
We appreciate those who come here with a mind to learn and understand God’s Word, to “prove all things,” as our friend Holly Garcia rightly loves to quote, not those who come here intent on being contentious, preaching a false message of a works “salvation” (probation).
There is a reason God’s Word calls salvation a GIFT — because it is FREE with NO strings attached and available to all who will believe in Jesus alone. He paid the price for the Gift of Eternal Life and invites you to take it FREELY by faith. Why is it so difficult for you people to see/understand that simple truth?
Richard we will be praying for you — that you will see through your self imposed fog of a works probation into the glorious freedom of salvation by Grace alone through your faith decision alone to trust Jesus Christ alone as your Savior.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Richard, welcome and thanks for your comment.
We welcome dissenting comments, but once we have addressed them, we stop volleying them back and forth, because it becomes repetitive and a waste of our time. And, we will not give the last word to a dissenter, because our silence could be misconstrued as our tacit agreement.
Let’s look at 2 Timothy 4:3: 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;
Virtually every religion ever conceived, including Lordship “salvation”, looks to mans’ works for justification. I think “itching ears” includes the appeal to man’s fleshly nature to look to himself for assurance of salvation.
You said: Hope that you discover a true relationship with Jesus and realize that no one he met left unchanged, look at what the disciples did after his resurrection.
My comment: I have a true relationship with Jesus. He is my Savior. He became my Savior the moment I believed that He paid the full price for my sins – past, present, and future – leaving me nothing left to pay. I am aware of what the disciples did after His resurrection. But, even if I were not aware of what the disciples did after His resurrection, I would still have a true relationship with Jesus. Even if I didn’t know there were disciples, I would still have a true relationship with Jesus. Even if I didn’t believe there were disciples, I would still have a true relationship with Jesus. And, even if I thought that the word “disciple” didn’t appear in the Bible after Acts 21:16, I would still have a true relationship with Jesus.
Your comment that no one that He met left unchanged seems specious. What about all of the Pharisees that He met who would not believe. Were they changed? In what way? I think you meant to say that “no one who believed on Him remained unchanged.” The Bible mentions many thousands of people who believed on Him. It documents how some went on to great things, how some were faithful for a while and then went back to the world, and how some were doing really bad things. It is also silent as to the behavior of many more.
You said: I would also strongly encourage you to study the Book of James for a better understanding of Salvation and the works that accompany it, and what about Jesus and the teaching of trees and fruits?
My comment: We have studied the book of James, as well as the meaning of “trees and fruits”, and we have CLEARLY addressed and documented our thoughts as to their meanings. Please see “Difficult Verses”, linked below, for a discussion of each of these.
Looks like in your comments that you do not allow any dissenters, that is a pity as it hinders learning. 2 Timothy 4:3 comes to mind when I read your page and the comments on it. Hope that you discover a true relationship with Jesus and realize that no one he met left unchanged, look at what the disciples did after his resurrection. I would also strongly encourage you to study the Book of James for a better understanding of Salvation and the works that accompany it, and what about Jesus and the teaching of trees and fruits?
Jim, welcome and thanks for your comment.
We shouldn’t give less than our best when laboring for Christ. But, we must be sure to build upon the foundation that He has laid (1 Corinthians 3:11). And, no man should try to labor in order to try to gain or keep eternal life, because that won’t work.
If Gods word tells us to labor as unto Christ, meaning “our best”, then why should we give less, or HALF! when labor ing for Christ?
That has been my experience as well. Long ago, in 1992 when I first got saved I understood the simplicity of the gospel and was motivated to serve out of love and appreciation. When I finally threw off the yoke of LS earlier this year (I’m not sure how long I was under it, but it seemed to “peak” last summer) I once again had that “better and more proper” motivation to serve.
I think I’ve said it before (elsewhere) but it’s a lot easier to serve when one is motivated by love and gratitude than it is to serve for, well . . . any of the reasons that motivate the LS crowd.
I am so glad for you!
“I serve him now out of thanks for what he did, versus serving Him so I can feel more secure or gain approval, it’s definitely liberating.” I wish many of my friends could also come to understand this. Too many of them are plowing away under the yoke of LS. I have also found that keeping my standing with God in view keeps me in a place to serve God out of love and opportunity and not out of fear or pressure. Sin actually becomes distasteful not just because of fear of punishment but because of knowing how it would hurt and grieve our Heavenly Father personally.
Far too many people live the Christian life as if there is a task master lording over them to make them “perform”. Some do so with the hope that they will prove that God chose them. Sadly some of these folks will never know God if they never come to trust Him as you have.
Bryan, wow! I am so glad you are here.
It is very encouraging to hear your wonderful testimony.
John 14:1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Thanks for that wonderful testimony. We are so happy that you said, “ I don’t doubt my salvation or my position in Christ. I serve him now out of thanks for what he did, versus serving Him so I can feel more secure or gain approval, it’s definitely liberating.”
THAT is what God’s Grace is all about!!! Liberating so we can serve our Savior out of Love rather than threats.
Most of us at ExP are in the same boat as you — can’t find a good true Grace teaching church. We will all pray for each other that more true free Grace churches will emerge.
We are happy to have you here!!
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I guess I can say I completely abandoned my LS views in October 2012 and completely trusted Christ. Since then, I don’t doubt my salvation or my position in Christ. I serve him now out of thanks for what he did, versus serving Him so I can feel more secure or gain approval, it’s definitely liberating. I used to read books of Platt, Comfort and downloading sermons of Piper, Chan, Washer, Hagee and it was like a boss telling me to “shape up” or the “Head honcho” from corporate will start handing out pink slips.
God bless this blog, I love coming here. But as much as I love coming here, I still wish I can find others with like minded faith that I can fellowship in person, but I’m trying to expose LS to my other fellow believers so hopefully God can use me to plant some seeds of faith where they can arrive to the conclusion as I did back in Oct.
Jack, you said: “So thankful I abandoned Calvinism for atheism at age 16.. and then eventually made the decision to trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior at age 35.”
What a lovely testimony! Accepting Christ so often involves letting go of a false religion. For me, it was letting go of LS and trusting in Christ alone at age 49.
Interesting about Calvinist’s neglect of evangelizing children. I was raised in an “ignorant” Calvinist family and “christened” at my parents insistence at about age 6-7, with no evangelism. But Calvinist doctrine presumes that a christened child of a Calvinist family will somehow have been “chosen” of God for salvation without any decision on their part.
And why do they not “evangelize”? That is a strange word/theology for those Reformed folks who believe God has already chosen those who will have eternal life and that effectually leaves the rest to be left by God to hell.
So thankful I abandoned Calvinism for atheism at age 16.. and then eventually made the decision to trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior at age 35.
Thanks for your comments and observations.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
You said, (about Paul Washer): “Washer actually put the child off, indicating that he or she would have to be watched over a period of time to decide whether his or her belief was genuine.”
Thank you for sharing that, as hideous as it is. I’m going to go out on a limb and opine here that this goes beyond tragedy to outrage. My first reaction is not fit for print here nor becoming of a Christian. I will take a few deep breaths and sin not . . . on top of the one I already committed in my heart and mind just now, that is.
Hello again Duane,
Yes, I, too, have noticed the reluctance of Reformed/LS advocates to evangelize children. In another post I quoted a discussion between Paul Washer and a young child in which the child was ready and desirous of coming to trust in Christ Jesus for salvation through simple childlike faith. Washer actually put the child off, indicating that he or she would have to be watched over a period of time to decide whether his or her belief was genuine (see the post: https://expreacherman.com/2012/08/08/paul-washer-redefines-the-plan-of-salvation-obliterating-assurance-of-salvation/ ). This is part of the LS fallout of which I spoke earlier.
I appreciated your statement, “I pray that Chan will come to realize the enormous harm that can come from constant exhortation to look inward for assurance, rather than lifting our eyes to the cross . . .” Dr. Charlie Bing talks about this subject in one or two of his articles at GraceLife ministries. He calls it, “an unhealthy introspection.”
Thanks for your thoughts.
As I embarked on my own study of modern reformed theology and Lordship Salvation, one of the common features of the movement that left me absolutely dumbfounded was resistance to the idea of evangelizing children or even allowing children to make a public profession of faith and participate in believer’s baptism.
The apparent reasoning behind this is that the concepts of discipleship and obedience integral to Lordship teaching are considered to be too difficult for children to understand and that the commitment required for salvation too weighty of a decision for most children to make. I found this somewhat ironic, as most children seem instinctively to understand that they have very little real autonomy, anyway, and that Jesus is Lord, whether they wish it so or not.
As educated in Scripture as some of these teachers are, I have difficulty understanding how they square this doctrine with Christ’s words to “suffer the little children to come to me” (Matthew 19, Mark 10, Luke 18) and to have faith like, or “become as little children” (Matthew 18), though I assume it to be a byproduct of the mostly Calvinistic understanding of predestination that seems prevalent in that community.
I suppose this is Chan’s attempt to right that wrong and make L.S. teaching accessible to children and I pray that Chan will come to realize the enormous harm that can come from constant exhortation to look inward for assurance, rather than lifting our eyes to the cross as the Israelites lifted their eyes to the serpent in the wilderness, and that he will come to use his prodigious speaking and writing talents to encourage the latter.
Excellent point about Chan.. Since he mixes up discipleship with salvation, would he end up “half saved”? No way – he writes and preaches as if he is 100% unsaved — but doctrinally would qualify as a “Halfway Herbert.” 😎
Hypocrites like Chan are a disgrace.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Here’s a thought. I’m sure you heard that Chan sold his house and bought one HALF the size so he could have more money for missions. A very noble act indeed except, Christ said “whosoever he be of you that forsakes not ALL that he has, he cannot be my disciple” now, if we take these verses as Salvation verses for the Church, why does Francis still have a house? Is he only half committed? Is he a “Halfway Herbert” himself?
I love both the thoughts and the loving support of this group! I love how Expreacher man brought up (as well as others, I don’t want to discredit anyone) the tenuous nature of analyzing works. It’s amazing because that’s always the card that gets played- and it gets played so wrongly. People who do that, who say “by their fruit” over and over, are wrongly equating “fruit” with the obedience of the Law. Thus when they see someone who either does or doesn’t hold up to the Yardstick (which of course is subjective to their interpretation) they judge whether or not the person is saved. But anyone can maintain an appearance of a law abiding life, touch not taste not, but of course as Paul says “these things have no value” in our struggle to be holy. Fruit cannot be obeying the Law, nor can disobeying that same Law indicate a lack of fruit. The Holy Scripture is so clear to not equate fruit, nor for that matter any indication of our salvation with adherence to any particular obedience of the Law. I do see things like: love, long suffering, patience, kindness (I’m sure I’m missing something) as Fruit; and as for how people will know we are His? Our love for our brethren. Even then, we are not God, we do not know people’s hearts; best to be very careful upon our pronouncement of who is not saved simply because of our very fallible observation.
I see the point you all are making. Praise the Lord for this fellowship.
Here is a comment from our friend John who asked me to post:
Jake, if I hear someone say that they believe that salvation automatically results in good works (or any similar “perseverance of the saints” type belief), I may discern that the person making such a statement is unclear on the Gospel.
If I explain the Gospel clearly to them, and they persist in making these kinds of statements, I may discern that they still don’t understand the Gospel and that they may be trusting in their works, at least in part, instead of trusting in Christ alone.
However, I can’t know whether or not they are saved. It is possible that they trusted in Christ alone at some point, but have subsequently become confused through false Lordship “salvation” teaching.
We can never tell a person’s salvation by their behavior or works — good or bad – saved or unsaved.
I know some very kind, charitable, loving and giving Roman Catholics who are not believers in Christ alone for their salvation.. but if one judged their salvation by their works or appearances one may think so. And to the contrary, I know some folks whose words tell me that they are believers but their actions contradict the behavior that is prescribed in God’s Word for believers.
Every unbeliever has the choice to believe — and every believer has the choice to be obedient to scripture. Believers often fail — but that is why we have 1 John 1:9 to confess to the Lord and regain fellowship with Him.
I would suggest you share the Gospel with your friend.. kindly, clearly and simply. Then ask him to trust Jesus as his Savior. Repeat if necessary.
I witnessed to my Dad for over 30 years with him not understanding “What is a Christian”? Finally just before he died, I received a note from him saying, “As a child I trusted Christ as my Savior – That’s all there is to it.” I never had another chance to talk to him face to face before he had a stroke and (I believe) went home to Heaven.
So we continually “contend for the faith once delivered to the saints..” (Jude 1:3)
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I think that is always a danger when we begin to engage in fruit inspecting. If a person declares that he has trusted in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone for salvation, I take him at his word. If, as you say, a close friend is engaging in a sinful lifestyle, then of course a friend would want to warn him that his actions may harm him and others and may cause him to lose some potential rewards one day. But a straying lifestyle would not declare whether one is saved or not.
People’s actions and words often represent what they believe and think, but not always. Although one cannot tell someone is saved by looking at their actions, but the obviously wrong direction of a person’s life can be an adequate reason to question his salvation. That person might be saved, but he should be checked to make sure he believes all his sins are paid for by Christ. I would be assuming that this person is a friend I’ve observed for a long time but have no idea if he’s saved or not.
While a person is saved by belief in Christ, the outcome of their belief can cause people to question if he believes the free grace Gospel. If so, then great. If not, then it was a good reason to question this person’s beliefs.
It might sound borderline ‘faith will result in good works’, but I am speaking of a person who has observed his friend for a while but can’t tell through the way he lives his life.
The only verse that comes to mind is Jer 17:9. It is true that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart, but I take that to mean that it is an indication of whether or not one is currently being filled with the Spirit, not an indication of salvation. Even Christians still have the old nature and can speak evil things from time to time if they are not careful. Basically if they allow resentment or anger or frustration or any sin to build within then they could speak out of that which has been built up within them. Sure, this grieves the Spirit but that is also why we are told to put off those kind of things that lead to that.
I can’t speak for anyone else but I for one really appreciate the “rehashing.” Everyone adds little things (or big things for that matter) that augment the argument and shed more light. And even if it IS mere rehashing, I can stand to read and re-read a lot of the points raised here on a regular basis. There are a lot of things I’m able to commit to memory, but mainly because they appeal the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. The much more important things, that is, the things of God, have a harder time “sticking” sometimes because for one thing, Satan’s not trying to steal the pride of life things from my heart. So keep ’em coming as far as I’m concerned. I need the review. Again and again and again . . .
Jake, are you asking if men can read human hearts for the purpose of determining whether or not someone has trusted in Christ for eternal life?
If so, how would do you think one would go about doing it?
Tim, you said: “But what a poor and wanting security that is; they’ll always in the dark corners of their minds find themselves wanting- and perhaps that’s one reason why they almost always sound so angry at the rest of us sinners, of who I am chief.”
My comment: You’ve got it. Fear drives anger. The more I think about it, the more I am amazed at the Lordship “salvationists” who troll this site and try to post their diatribes. They are not trusting in Christ.
Great observations. The Calvinist question, “How do I really know if I am saved” is one upon which they stammer and stutter. We can ask them, “Give me Scripture in context”!!
And Lordship “salvation” as a security blanket.. Yes!! But a blanket full of holes and so thin, a discerning person can see clear through it.
Thanks for those thoughts.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Is there anywhere in the Bible that suggests that men cannot read human hearts? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks?
It’s probably just rehashing what’s already been said earlier but really this book sums up the need that Calvinists have for lordship salvation- think about it. They don’t have a relationship with a covenant keeping God, rather they live with a God who has arbitrarily chosen who is saved and who is lost. Thus, because they cannot rely on a promise God made, they need to devise a way in which they might be able to reassure themselves of being saved. Sad really, to rely on a man-made effort instead of a Divine one. Chan, MacArthur, and others must realize in the back of their minds this dilemma “how can I really know I’m saved? What if I’m in delusion?” Enter lordship salvation and its handy measuring stick and checklists- or in other words reliance on the keeping of the Law. Lordship salvation is a security blanket for the Calvinist who carries out his concepts to their natural conclusion. But what a poor and wanting security that is; they’ll always in the dark corners of their minds find themselves wanting- and perhaps that’s one reason why they almost always sound so angry at the rest of us sinners, of who I am chief.
Your enthusiasm encourages all of us and encouragement in the Lord is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify [build up] one another, even as also ye do.”
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks, Pearl. You’re one of my faves . . .
Precious words, FryingPan. I know exactly how you feel. I’m blessed by your gracious enthusiasm and find your comments very insightful, thus, you are already giving. Keep on keepin’ on, Sonbeam (now there’s an ideal gravatar handle 😉 )!
Thank you for the update, Kenneth. James White’s theology is thoroughly repugnant indeed. I’d read about him in Dave Hunt’s book I mentioned above but that was years ago and I am always up for a reminder/refresher. I’m just glad he’s honest enough to admit what he really believes when pressed. Well, maybe not “glad” but you know what I mean.
LOVE the excerpt from Tom’s sermon, John. I’m looking forward to checking the whole thing out. I think rather that get bogged down with “read this, watch that” I’ll just keep absorbing what’s on this blog and continue in God’s Word.
Please know that this blog continues to be a HUGE blessing to me. I’ve lost count of the number of people in this family who’ve already meant a lot to me. I hope I can be a blessing as well and not just a “taker.”
And now, the link:
In his sermon entitled “Living in Light of Our Redemption”, delivered March 10, 2013, Tom Cucuzza discussed Lordship “salvationists” in a couple of contexts.
First, their abuse of Matthew 7 and second, their new buzzword “Christ followers.” In each, Tom calls Lordship “salvation” what it is: belief in salvation by works.
See excerpts and link below:
Look at Matthew chapter 7. And, there’s a very good chance that you could be here today and you have heard this passage used against people who believe that salvation is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.
And those who believe in works for salvation love to use this verse, out of context, and say “well, you can’t tell me that your good works don’t matter, I mean the Bible says ‘not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord’ is gonna enter into Heaven. You’re just saying ‘Lord, Lord.’” No we’re not. We’re not saying “Lord, Lord” and that gets you in – kind of like “open sesame”.
Jesus says something very interesting. If you understand Matthew 7, He’s not saying “you need good works to get to Heaven.” What He’s saying in Matthew 7 is “your good works won’t get you to Heaven.” Just the opposite – look at it. Matthew 7:22: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord” But, don’t stop there – read it! “Have we not prophesied in thy name?” Whoa! They were doing good deeds. “In thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?”
His response to them is not “oh yeah, I forgot that. OK, come on in.” No, His response is “then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Wait a minute! They’re doing good works. How is it iniquity? Because, all our righteousnesses are as what? Filthy rags! That’s why. Good works cannot save dear friend.
We don’t talk about believers anymore. Well, we do, ‘cause that’s what the Bible calls us. But, you know what? Because of the huge impact that those who are preaching Lordship salvation, which is works for salvation, because of the huge impact they’re having on Christendom today, the new buzzword is “followers of Christ.”
You hear that a lot – followers of Christ? A follower of Christ. Where’s the emphasis there? It’s on how you’re living, right? Not what you believe, but how you’re living. There are people who have followed the moral teachings of scripture their whole lives, who when they die, they won’t go to Heaven. They have followed the Sermon on the Mount as best they can. I’ve had people tell me “I’m going to Heaven.” Why? “Because I follow the Sermon on the Mount.” And I’m thinking, “no you don’t. No, you don’t. You can’t. It’s an ideal. It’s great. There are great principles there. I believe them. But, you know what? If you’re going to follow that, your gonna have to be perfect, and none of us are. You’re not gonna make it there by that.”
So, when somebody says, “oh, they’re a follower of Jesus”, my question is “what do you mean by that?” Well, usually they’ll say “well, they follow the teachings of Jesus.” Well, that has to do with how you live. Are you gonna get to Heaven by how you live? No. You get to Heaven by faith in Christ.
Thanks for that expose’ on James White and his terrible theology. I was not aware of his latest pronouncements. However he is respected very highly in the Calvinist and LS circles. He has always been VERY dangerous.
We mentioned him in a comment a couple of years ago — along with a long list of other offenders. I am sure we could add to that list today. You may want to read the list:
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks for the warning about James White and his LS/Calvinist teachings. That really demonstrates the dark side of Calvinism.
Just thought I’d fill you in regarding a man by the name of James White who is a leading Calvinist and Lordship Salvationist. He gave us this example of the “right and just works of God”. He was once asked, “When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?” James White answered “Yes”. (James White’s Debate with Hank Hannegraaf and George Bryson) All sinful actions, according to him then are the just and right works of God. It then stands to reason that both the child and the rapist are victims of God’s will! One can clearly see the outcome and result of what this man is saying here. According to Calvinists then, when we pray “thy will be done” (Matt. 6:10; 26:42) we would be praying for children to be raped! According to them Jesus taught us to pray for children to be raped, because Jesus taught us to pray “thy will be done”. His teachings and beliefs are absolutely repugnant. Many of you are probably already aware of this man,but for those who aren’t, he is a leading Lordship Salvationist and Calvinist apologist and his doctrines are dangerous.
John, Bryan–thank you. Even though I say I don’t need sympathy doesn’t mean it’s not welcome and greatly appreciated.
And Jim F, I think you’re really on to something.
Speaking of the modern day religious establishment throwing their weight around, when Dave Hunt published his critique of Calvinism, WHAT LOVE IS THIS? in 2002, he was dumped by his then publisher, Harvest House. Calvinist authors and like-minded people of influence hostile to a point of view critical of Calvinism basically strong-armed Harvest House and they caved to the pressure, forcing Dave to have to go to Loyal Publishing to get it done.
So discovering this blog 11 years after the fact, I don’t find the contentious activity initiated by the Calvinist/LS camp the least bit surprising.
The reason to me that many Calvinists like Chan continuously look to works as proof of salvation is because they put the emphasis of salvation totally on God in the sense that: God elects some to salvation, calls them, regenerates them, gives them the gifts of repentance (for them – turn from sins) and faith (for them – this can also include a commitment of sorts), sanctifies positionally, sanctifies them progressively (this is where they need to see proof or evidence that they are one of the elect and not a “Halfway Herbert”), and God glorifies them. The point of glorification is really the only point of that whole thing for them where they could really rest in the fact that they are saved. They will not be likely to see their system as a system of works because they think that God not only enables people to believe but makes them, due to his sovereignty, go through the whole process. Their assurance is really no assurance. To them the elect person will be saved, but they cannot know 100% that they are indeed such a person. They only have various degrees of certainty based upon their works. Like you mention – they further trap themselves in this mindset by trying to do more works to prove that they are saved rather than re-evaluate their entire belief system and make sure that they trust Christ alone for salvation.
From a Free Grace standpoint I can know that I am saved because I have trusted in Christ for my salvation. I love the clarity given by the following verses : John 3:18, John 11:25-26, and
1Jn 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
1Jn 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
1Jn 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
1Jn 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
1Jn 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
1Jn 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
1Jn 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1Jn 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1Jn 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Bryan, good to hear from you.
As Bruce pointed out on another thread, he continues to receive numerous diatribes from Calvinist/LS folks hoping to post them at Expreacherman.com.
It seems like the religious establishment of our day is just as threatened by the Gospel as were the pharisees.
Fryingpan, John I feel where you are coming from. Only ones I can find that believe in the Free Grace point of view are online too. Kind of frustrating.
Alan, you make a very good point. That’s why there is no real difference between the belief that good works (or the promise of future good works, such as “repenting from sins” or “committing one’s life to Christ”) are necessary to receive eternal life, and the belief that good works will automatically result when someone is saved.
Fryingpan, I sympathize with you. My wife and I are in the same boat.
Remember, though, we are never alone.
John, Jim–agreed. Thanks for weighing in. I appreciate bouncing my ideas off of others who share my concerns. Aside from my wife I LITERALLY have not been able to find one person in my life (other than via cyberspace of course) who shares a Free Grace point of view. But I think I’ve bemoaned that fact already here so no one needs to offer their sympathy.
In Bruce Bauer’s review of Crazy Love he described how Chan’s congregation responded to a sermon Chan gave in which he questioned the salvation of many of them. Predictably, the members of his church responded by doing works to defend themselves against the charge of not being truly saved. Chan then proceeds to pat himself on the back for bringing about this great spiritual revival. Question: If the lack of works was an indication that these people were lost, as Chan suggests, wouldn’t manipulating them into doing works just camouflage the real problem, that is, that they hadn’t trusted in Jesus for salvation? How does this coerced response by his brow-beaten congregation indicate a geniune, ‘crazy’ love for Jesus?
As a Calvinist Chan would argue that works don’t save but they authenticate that one is truly saved. So, according Calvinist logic, did those unconverted, ‘head faith’ Christians become converted, ‘heart faith’ Christians by performing works? If so, one would have to say they were saved by works!
I have noticed subtle “Lordship” and “Calvinistic” leanings with Ken Ham and others at Answers in Genesis. It’s is disappointing to me because they do some good things but I guess it is not all that surprising. We must check the teaching of all men with the scriptures. Just because a group has good material on things like creation doesn’t mean they will always be totally clear on the gospel. The repent of sins for salvation idea is very pervasive.
God does love the sinner. In fact, so much so that God the Father sent the Son to be Savior of the world. John 3:16 comes to mind. God loves his enemies but He is also just. Those who reject His gospel will face the consequences in eternity.
Fryingpan, it is true that we were enemies of God before we were saved. But, He provided for our salvation out of love, not anger.
“ For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
I apologize for taking this slightly off topic but I can’t find the original thread where it came up (and this DOES at least deal with Lordship Salvation–I’m posting here because this is the most recent blog). Recently on this blog I read a comment where (as I recall) someone was wondering if the folks at Answers in Genesis have an LS bias (not to put words in their mouth, but you get my point).
I can tell you I believe the answer is “yes.” I recently finished watching the New Answers DVD Part 3 and one of the speakers CLEARLY tells viewers they must “repent of their sins” to be saved.
I can provide exact details if anyone’s interested.
This is very disappointing, but not surprising. The deception truly is massive, isn’t it?
Another thing that caught my attention in the DVD was how another speaker talked about God being “angry at” the lost because of their sins. I don’t mean to split hairs, but that sounds pretty LS. I understand the eternal gap that separates all unbelievers from a holy God, but couching it in those terms? It sounds a lot like the way Ray Comfort tries to reach the lost. I totally “get” that God hates sin but I also know He loves the sinner.
Does anyone have any light to shed on the idea of talking about how God is “angry” with the lost because of sin and if this is standard fare for those in the LS camp?
Finally, I can’t help but notice the abbreviation “LSers” is one vowel away from the word “Losers.” (Just had to get that off my chest.)
Thanks for your kind words. Dittos on Psalms!
Please come back again soon.
I appreciate the review and also your comments on contemplative spirituality. I remember telling a young man in bible school that you really can’t learn about prayer from a prayer book that on various pages encourages prayers to Mary. Very sad to see such a lack of discernment music and publishing. But once you get away from the difference between salvation and the upward call, you really walk away from discernment.
The Book of Psalms is the only book on prayer I am really interested in.
I shudder to think of what this pharisaical book would do to my children- especially my perfectionist first born who already heaps enough guilt on himself. These people have such an angry view of God; to them He expects much and excuses little.
Mr Chan are you aware that Christ became incarnate because not only did I have a sin debt I could not pay, but also a debt of love as well as performance? Are you even aware if the totality of Christ’s redemption? We will ALWAYS be halfway Herberts (or in my case the fraction would drop even lower) in comparison to Jesus. Jesus did not come to set up a whole new system of rules to perform by – although if that is where you want to meet Him, He’s more than happy to oblige you, and having done that, lets see how you measure up Mr Chan, because with your mentality I wonder, will you ultimately need to be crucified too? I mean after all, no room for halfway, I remember seeing something about loseing ones life in the scriptures…
I for one cannot do for myself what Christ has already done. No amount of self-inflicted labor and suffering will make me, or my children, one iota more saved or more pleasing to God than we, as new creations, already are. To me that is also a critically missing message; it’s not even that God has to look at me through the lense of His son, or of the lense of me somehow rejecting sin and performing well. The good news is that somehow in a great mystery I am already seated in heavenly places, I have a new heart, I am a new creation- salvation is so much more than a mere judicial experience. It certainly is not me cobbling together a bunch of righteous acts and presenting them as proof of anything. I want my kids to know the real gospel- the Good News! There is nothing good about the news of halfway Herbert, it is a worldly whirlpool that leads to a stagnant pool; I’ll take fresh water from His well any day.
Thanks Jack. 🙂
I understand. My intention was to head off any attempts at marriage counseling.
When you have a wife like Danita who makes a statement “I love you, Jon” on the world-wide internet through ExP.. you are blessed to have a wonderful Christian lady for your wife. We are praying for y’all.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Pearl and Jack, I appreciate your advice and prayers. I did not think I was asking for marriage counseling. Been there done that. I think you are correct Jack that it is the fellowship with the other ladies that she doesn’t want to lose.
Yes, Jack’s counsel is right. Forcing the issue wouldn’t persuade most of us (though, from your previous comments, it’s clear you already know this); she must come to honest terms with it herself.
Being a part of a fellowship, bonding and building friendships is a natural inclination for us women, and from that perspective, I can understand why it would break her heart to leave it. It won’t be easy. A few of us here are experiencing the painful lack of like-minded fellowship in our own personal lives. So, if breaking off from that is her primary concern, I totally identify.
I, too, will be praying for you both.
We don’t offer family counseling but maybe there are a couple of points that would help both of you spiritually.
You said you “think she sees the problem with Beth Moore’s method…”
That is a great step in the right direction. Like many ladies, no doubt she enjoys the ladies fellowship and perhaps brushes aside the bad doctrine.
Even Paul admonished the Corinthians to judge what he said to them in:
1 Corinthians 10:15
I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
One of the good definitions for the word to “judge” is to be “sentenced to think.” We are implored to think and discern God’s Word. Encourage her to be discerning.
Be very kind.. Pray for her and for wisdom for her and yourself. (James 1:5).
We will also pray for both of you.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Which reminds me, Alan, you mentioned overhearing two men speaking about their favorite teachers, and that one of them liked Chuck Swindoll, who at least adheres to a correct understanding of grace.
Unfortunately, he’s another to be avoided at all costs, since he too, has embraced contemplative spirituality.
How disheartening it is to look out on all Christendom and see the parable of the mustard seed come to pass.
You are right to warn her about Beth Moore, for not only does she present a false gospel, she also promotes contemplative practices. In fact, I just learned as I was researching her and her appearance on the “Be Still” DVD, that Francis Chan is also on that video practicing the silence, which is no surprise since January last he appeared at the Alpha sponsered Canadian Breakforth conference featuring other contemplatives together with Leonard Sweet. An honest researching of Beth Moore will produce very disturbing alliances not only with the Catholic church and Eastern mysticism, but New Age personalities as well. To get mixed up with these teachers is very dangerous and will inevitably break down any existing walls of discernment and give way to full blown ecumenism.
I can’t stress enough that she accept the painful truth and get out of that bible study asap.
Hello everyone. I’m not sure what to do. My wife seems to think that speaking out against these (False) teachers is being too judgmental. I think it is because she enjoys the teaching of Beth Moore and I have spoken out against her. I showed her BM’s so called “Looking for Peace with God” webpage which states the following: How to Receive Jesus Christ
1.Admit your need for forgiveness and peace.
2.Be willing to turn from your sins, believing that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave.
3.Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to forgive your sins & be your Savior.
I think she sees the problem with this ‘method’ of being saved, but she continues to go to her BM bible study. She just doesn’t seem to want to give her up. I have my own shortcomings but I don’t know what else to say to her about this??
What Kenneth Groenewald said. I’ve never had anyone lay that one on me, but it’s been going on for decades. Dave Hunt talks about the topic extensively in his 1987 book Beyond Seduction and the video counter part. Talk about taking a verse out of context!
Exactly Bruce, especially the one where they warn not to “touch not the Lord’s anointed.”
Regarding the proliferation of false teachers in churches today and how the masses flock to hear their every word, the same was true in ancient Israel and Judah.
I’m currently studying and teaching the OT book of Micah. I came across a verse that seems to indicate that even in Micah’s day people refused to hear and heed the words of God through the true prophets of God like Micah. They chose, instead, to cling to the words of the False Prophets, to their eventual doom.
Micah 2:6 “Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy; they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.”
Has anyone used this line on you? “How dare you speak out against a respected man of God like ___________________?” (You fill in the name)
Though I am late commenting, thanks for your analysis of Herbert’s terrible future.
Though Herbert’s LS matter is eternally very serious — it is wonderful to be able to smile and inject joy and a good sense of humor every now and then. While we are fishing for souls, we might just catch an LS “fish” that way. We appreciate you.
1 Thessalonians 2:20
For ye are our glory and joy.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I have spent several hours checking Scripture and writing to explain to you what it was that was bothering me. Instead, I have shown myself where I was mistaken! Praise The Lord!
I have settled on this. If folk do become saved by hearing Gospel Scripture quoted, then it is because the Holy Spirit stands over His Word to perform it. Jeremiah1:12. They will be saved by His eager vigilance in spite of what LS actually preach to add to the Truth. Serious hurt, such as no assurance, begins by the LS additions and subtractions AFTER that soul has been miraculously born again.imo.
Please don’t think I was trying to defend LS in any way, because I find it unbearably loathsome.
God bless you for being so gracious.
What jimfloyd12 said.
Don’t be intimidated by anyone with a degree or an “education.” Life is the best teacher (next to Jesus) anyway. Last I checked Peter didn’t have a “degree.” Nor did most of those whom The Lord inspired through His Holy Spirit to write the very Bible these eggheads claim to know so much about. Much heresy and error has crept into the church because the “less learned” were cowed into silence because they lacked “credentials.”
And keep in mind 1 Corinthians 1:27 is always good to fall back on: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”
I say that all you really have to do is what you have done here. In refuting types like MacArthur, just point out the clarity of the gospel and let God’s Word give you the authority that you need. No degrees can stand in comparison to the authority of God’s Word. The interesting thing is that a child that puts his faith in Christ alone for salvation based on the gospel has more true spiritual understanding than many of these Lordship advocates that preach and teach a false gospel. Was John MacArthur ever saved? I don’t know but his LS gospel saves no one. There is no harm in a layperson pointing that out as long as you understand the basic truth and simplicity of the gospel yourself.
Some weeks ago I overheard a couple of guys discussing who their favorite bible teachers were. The first one said he was a fan of Chuck Swindoll, whose writings I haven’t read much. I do know that he at least adheres to Free Grace theology. In response, the other lavished praise on John MacArthur, Francis Chan’s mentor. I so wanted to speak up and say something, but how does a layperson, i.e. a person without a theological degree, begin to confront the false teachings of a man of letters who has achieved celebrity cult status in the eyes of so many in the church?
There is a fine line we must walk. We must speak the truth, but always seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6). I’ve always believed that the best defense is a good offense. Similarly, the best antidote for false teaching is the truth of the Gospel. It needs to be presented simply and precisely, which unfortunately, is not what happens in most churches.
Sue, I really don’t think we disagree. Anyone who hears (or reads) the Gospel and believes it is saved, no matter what happens in their lives afterward. No exceptions.
The people to which I was referring are those that were taught unclear, or false gospels (such as LS) and have really never understood that salvation is by Grace through faith in Christ alone. I was one of these until a couple of years ago.
“I believe many of these are unsaved people who have experienced the emptiness of the false gospels that they have been taught, and have thereby become hardened to the Gospel.”
With respect John, I beg to differ with you here. The Gospel isn’t difficult and I believe God’s wonderful Grace makes it ‘easy’ for the youngsters in Church Schools to have responded with childlike wonder and simple faith. Although most have wandered away by adulthood, they remain saved but ‘carnal’.
My 14 year old Auntie Shirley witnessed to me using Creation and the Easter message she had learned at school. We all went to ‘Church Schools’ in those days (C of E).where we were taught from the Bible. I was tiny, but remember the wonder to this day when I put my trust in Jesus . All the wonderful Gospel hymns we had to sing; and the prayers during morning assembly, preached the Gospel to us all in song. I have every hope for England’s children, ‘coming to Jesus’ as a result of the truth being told right up to my grand-children today. I have witnessed their wonder and simple faith the same as I had. Things are now slipping away and they are now ‘denying the little children to come to Jesus as He commanded His Disciples.
One of my form teachers had a big impact on me as she repeated the Gospel ‘facts’. Many, many years later, I bumped into dear old ‘Wiggy Davies’ and thanked her for inspiring my early teen faith. She looked at me amazed saying ‘Oh my dear, I taught what I was told, I didn’t believe a word of it’. She was an atheist, but in her 80’s she was considering the goodness of her lovely, kind neighbours who were Mr and Mrs Muslim!
I prayed for my old teacher and felt encouraged that she too could have been saved before adulthood. In fact I seriously believe that God’s Grace has ensured that the Body of Christ consists mainly of those saved and sealed from childhood from hearing the teaching of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, plus, the childhood wonder of God’s Creation all around, and above them – like me!
God’s Grace supersedes saying exactly the right phrase. He see’s right into our inner-most being and saves us the instant we respond in faith. That’s my Hope for too many in my family; without that Hope I would be deeply troubled for those I love.
Mark10:12. And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
13.But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
14. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
We are saved by God’s FREE GRACE, by FAITH, not by any evidence of righteous deeds past, present or future. May He be merciful to those now being deceived by the likes of Paul Washer. The words ‘millstone’ and ‘neck’ come readily to mind. Mark 9:42
I am totally humbled and grateful for your thorough and heartfelt reply to the points I attempted to raise. I knew a lot of it already but obviously I needed a reminder and elaboration on what’s been established. It’s really helpful to have so much of what I need “here and now” in one easy to find and easy to reference place.
I really appreciate it. Your effort will go a long way in offering encouragement and sound doctrine.
Kenneth, thank you for pointing out the poor translation of Matthew 7:14. The words “difficult” and “hard” are used in a number of translations.
Of course, properly translated, Matthew 7:14 should be considered in tandem with John 14:16:
Matthew 7:14: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
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.”
The unfortunate translation of “narrow” into “difficult” or “hard” may cause someone to be like the unprofitable servant, who views Jesus as a “hard” man:
Matthew 25:24: “Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed”
There is no way that anyone who views the way to salvation a being difficult could do much constructive with his talents. In other words, a Lordship “salvationist” will not bear any fruit with his false gospel.
Thanks for your fitting comments. Yes, the mind of a child is a precious and fragile thing. How tragic when some try to bend it toward a false gospel. In another article at Expreacherman.com, Paul Washer speaks of putting off a young child who was wanting to be saved, basically disallowing the child from trusting in Christ alone for salvation—tragic! To view the article, see:
Fryingpan, for those people who do not view “turning from sin” as a work, I would offer the following:
Jonah 3:10: “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
Note that God viewed turning from their evil way as works. So, maybe your LS friends don’t view turning from sin as a work. But, the Bible would disagree.
P.S. If you read other translations of this verse, you will generally find the word “works” replaced with something else. Many of the LS folks that you will encounter are fed a steady diet of these translations.
NIV: “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.”
NLT: “When God saw that they had put a stop to their evil ways, he had mercy on them and didn’t carry out the destruction he had threatened.”
NRSV: “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.”
Thanks Bruce for exposing “Halfway Herbert” for what it is, and that it is absolutely misleading. The Catholics have always said and maintained that if you can give them a child until they are 5 years of age they’ve got them for life. The same unfortunately can be said of the Lordship Salvationists. This book portrays and teaches that the way to get saved is difficult and hard. The way which leads to life is not difficult. What is so difficult about believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks to the NKJV and many other Modern day versions that teach that the way to life is difficult (Matthew 7:14)
I’ll look into other postings. So far every one of the Amazon reviews is a Five-Star glowing gushing review, so it would provide some contrast.
Jim, you mentioned “those that are brought up in church and even christian schools but leave as soon as they get some freedom once they are grown up.”
I believe many of these are unsaved people who have experienced the emptiness of the false gospels that they have been taught, and have thereby become hardened to the Gospel.
Fryingpan, I have a couple of thoughts on the things you discussed above.
You said: “First is the argument that’s more or less, “Yes, I believe salvation is a gift. But if you give someone a gift and they ignore it, disregard it, abuse it, trash it, [you see where this is going] . . .”
My comment: One cannot keep himself saved any more than he can save himself. Tom Cucuzza said it very well in his booklet “The Permanence of Salvation”:
“Let me again state the obvious. A gift is not a gift if it has to be earned.
And so the truth becomes clear. If a person is not saved by performance, then whether he lives faithfully or not has no bearing on whether he will go to Heaven. Yes, of course, the believer ought to be faithful, but that is not the issue in salvation. Your salvation is totally dependent on GOD’S faithfulness–not yours. If you are depending on your good works to get you to Heaven, then you are trusting in your faithfulness for your salvation. If you are struggling to ‘hang on’, you do not understand that Biblical salvation is a gift.”
You said: “The other one I come up against are the folks who don’t see a commitment to ‘turn from one’s personal sin’ (or similar) and other things like, a commitment to follow Christ (and all the other attitudes and promises so prevalent in Lordship Salvation circles, all of which are things we SHOULD do but that aren’t required for salvation) as ‘works’.
My comment: Keeping the law (doing works) would require one to stop breaking it – in other words, stop sinning. But, will this save someone? The Bible says no (Romans 3:20: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”). Why? Because sin already committed must be paid for. And, the Bible tells us that everyone is guilty of sin (Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”).
So, turning from sin will not save us. What will? The Bible tells us that we are justified freely (as a gift) by God’s grace, through faith in Christ (Romans 3:24-26: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”)
Why are “turning from sin” for salvation and “committing to Christ for salvation” the same as works? Because they are simply IOUs for doing works later. A trade of the intention to be good later for salvation. Salvation is not for sale – or trade. It must be received as a gift.
Clear Gospel Campaign describes it this way:
“Bilateral Contract Salvation, most commonly known as ‘Lordship Salvation’ is the false doctrine whereby God offers a lost sinner the promise of eternal life in exchange for a lost sinner’s promise of future works. It is thereby an exchange of promises, or a bilateral contract. Because the controversy of Bilateral Contract Salvation developed more slowly than the question of other works of man commonly required witihin religion for man’s eternal salvation, advocates of ‘Lordship’ or Bilateral Contract Salvation are embedded within the framework of evangelicalism, and generally regarded as a different ‘flavor’ of the evangelical faith.
Ultimately, however, there is no theological distinction between corrupt systems of theology that require works, such as water baptism, to be performed prior to gaining salvation, and corrupt theological systems that require the promise of future works in exchange for salvation. Any gospel presentation that makes, as a requirement for gaining eternal salvation, repentance from one’s sins, committing one’s life to Christ, making Christ the ‘Lord’ (master) of one’s life, becoming a disciple of Christ, and other equivalent statements that require a promise of future behavior (Romans 5:8; Titus 3:5), is heresy.”
Bruce, if you haven’t already, you should consider posting your article as a review of “Halfway Herbert” on Amazon and anywhere else this book is sold.
Thanks for the kind words Jack!
Yes, the line, “decimates assurance of salvation” would indeed refer to believers in Christ who came to salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone; however, sadly, some are later hoodwinked by these LS teachers, such as Chan, some to the point of doubting their faith.
Coming from the book, “Halfway Herbert,” pay particular attention to the line, “Jesus, I am sorry I haven’t obeyed You. I want to follow You, . . . .” This statement seems to me to be standard Calvinist/LS rhetoric: “You must turn from your sins to be saved, promise to do better and then prove that you are saved through a lifetime of following through on the promise.
Excellent article!! Chan is apparently not satisfied with confusing and messing up the minds of adults — he is now aiming for the most susceptible, the kids.
We know that unless a person is already saved (and apparently little “Halfway Herbert” was not, by John’s astute observation), there can be no assurance to decimate. As we also know, LS NEVER offers any assurance whatsoever. A Lordship Salvation message is not just an assurance issue — it is a false Gospel issue.
I pray every parent who has bought or anticipates buying this terrible book will read your wonderful expose’ and be informed before polluting the minds of their precious children.
I posted this article on FaceBook and pray all of our readers who have FB accounts or a web site will likewise post the complete article of warning. This is a very serious matter. (within 10 minutes of posting to FB I had a favorable comment from one “well known” Christian consultant friend and she also linked to it from her FB account). Let’s be optimistic in the Lord and get this message spread round the world.
Thanks Bruce for your tireless efforts on behalf of God’s Free Grace.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
The two examples you mention above, “Hope So Joe”and ”Committment Craig,” and examples of those that are brought up in church and even christian schools but leave as soon as they get some freedom once they are grown up. The church as a whole has itself to blame if it does not present the clear gospel to its young people.
Thanks Bruce, for the warning. No matter how innocuous the message may appear upon a cursory reading, always consider the source and you’ll soon find the agenda behind it.
Poor Herbert! No doubt his mom and dad love him, but his behavior will determine how they regard him, either as a “Christian” or a rebel. Anytime he disappoints or fails to meet their expectations, he’s bound to be reminded how a “true” Christian behaves, paving the way for years of spiritual turmoil. As Herbert reaches maturity, he’ll either be twice the child of hell than they might be or he’ll find his ultimate joy and deliverance through the books of Christopher Hitchens.
Excellent observations from John and FryingPan, btw. I got a hearty chuckle from “No Way Jose” (Luke 13:27) but am slapped back to reality for the terrible truth of it, and it’s no laughing matter. For years that verse crept up and troubled me.. But no more, thanks to the solid, unwavering, uncompromising truth being defended here by you, my faithful friends. I’ve not looked back and never will.
Thanks, Bruce. I probably should have kept to one point at a time. Sorry I wasn’t more clear.
For now I’ll stick to the second point I was trying to make because it seems more common. I think I just need to be better able to show folks that what THEY don’t see as “work” IS INDEED still “work” that at best distorts the gospel and at worst has eternal consequences for the one preaching it and even more so for the ones falling for it if indeed that’s the only “gospel” they’ve ever known.
That’s all I’ll say for now. I’ll keep reading and praying about it in the mean time and get back to the “qualifying a gift as to how it’s received” illustration at a later time if it seems appropriate.
Hi again Fryingpan 9!
I’m not precisely sure about the distinction you are driving at. Perhaps John has a link from Clear Gospel Campaign which addresses your concern.
Yes, John, these are the two categories that I see in LS proponents or victims as well. Both categories are very sad; the second is incredibly sad, having eternal consequences. But even the first leaves the individual in perpetual doubt and fear—clearly, this is no way for a believer in Christ to live.
Excellent illustration, John.
I don’t mean to get “off topic” as the main “theme” here is clearly understanding the gospel in order to avoid believing a false one, but there are two main points of resistance I’ve found recently when dealing with someone who rejects a Free Grace view of salvation.
First is the argument that’s more or less, “Yes, I believe salvation is a gift. But if you give someone a gift and they ignore it, disregard it, abuse it, trash it, [you see where this is going] . . .” In other words, they don’t make the connection that it’s still a bilateral agreement and not a gift with no strings attached in the scenario they create. They still cling to the idea that one must “do something to stay saved.” Very frustrating. I’ve yet to really come up w/ a retort to that PARTICULAR “gift” rebuttal to Free Grace thinking, but I’m getting some ideas.
The other one I come up against are the folks who don’t see a commitment to “turn from one’s personal sin” (or similar) and other things like, a commitment to follow Christ (and all the other attitudes and promises so prevalent in Lordship Salvation circles, all of which are things we SHOULD do but that aren’t required for salvation) as “works”.
I’d say this second one is more frustrating, but they’re both infernal and destructive. Both seem to come from a mentality that only thinks of something as a “work” if involves hands-on action, like digging wells, writing checks to charity, or feeding the homeless, for example.
I’m struggling to understand it with “strong finality and assurance” but it seems to me that ANYTHING we add to saving faith and belief in what Jesus did for us on Calvary as part of what we think saves us is a work that nullifies grace and we thus are believing a false gospel at that point. Am I right? ANYTHING one adds to the gospel, be it their attitude, their feelings, their perceived level of commitment, etc. They’re all WORKS. That’s what I’m finally realizing. I have to have a firmer grasp on when dealing with folks who out of one side of their mouth say they believe they’re saved by grace alone in their faith in Christ alone,and that they believe they have eternal security, but then out of the other side of their mouth they’re more or less are saying, “Well, yeah but OBVIOUSLY one has to be sincere in their commitment to turn from sin and take their walk with Jesus seriously when they put their faith in him.”
Like I said, I don’t want to get off the topic of Francis Chan and “Halfway Herbert” but I’ve been under some pretty serious spiritual attack of late as I try to share the Free Grace gospel to people who should know better so I figured this was as a good a place to share the challenge I’ve been facing and seeing what sort of feedback or encouragement (or correcting) anyone would like to offer.
Sorry this is a bit long and for all the SOUS’s (Sentences of unusual size.)
There are at least two sad outcomes for someone who hears the false gospel of works presented in this “children’s” book.
The first is that “Halfway Herbert”, who is already saved, becomes “Hope So Joe.” He spends his life going back and forth between thinking he’s saved when he feels “full-hearted” and thinking he might not be saved when he feels “half-hearted” or worse. He cannot tell others about Christ and help fulfill the Great Commission, because he has been crippled by this false teaching.
The second is that “Halfway Herbert”, who has not yet become a believer, thinks that he can be saved by this false gospel. He becomes “Commitment Craig” or “Turn from Sin Tad”. His assurance comes and goes with his level of commitment, but any assurance he has is false. He never trusted in Christ alone. Instead, he is relying on Christ plus his commitment or turning from sin. When he appears at the Great White Throne judgment, his name is “No Way Jose.”
Thanks Fryingpan 9,
Astute observation on your part that Lordship Salvationists detest the message of Free Grace salvation. You are so right—they belittle and caricaturize anyone who disagrees with their skewed “gospel.” Ironically, although they reject the Biblical Gospel of Grace, they are the same ones who name their radio programs and churches “Grace . . . . . . .”
A very dangerous book indeed. I think that the danger lies especially in the book’s subtle approach and the fact that it is targeted at children.
Great work, Bruce.
You know, during the first year I got saved, over 20 years ago, I had a thought that was by no means original, but with God’s help I at least arrived at it independent of any other human being. And that’s how maddening and frustrating it must be for Satan to know that those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation do so by relying on their belief alone and accepting their salvation as a free gift.
Only now I see Satan’s apparently not the only one driven crazy by this reality. The Lordship Salvationists detest that message as well. To their own peril or destruction.
Bruce, this excerpt jumped out at me:
“Please give me Your Spirit so I can know how to follow You.”
We know that the Holy Spirit indwells us the moment we believe in Christ alone for salvation. The way this is written either states or strongly implies that the Holy Spirit is received by a desire to follow Jesus vs. by trusting in Christ alone for salvation, and that we should ask for salvation (not Biblical).
This is a very dangerous book. Thanks for the review. It is a great reminder that the spiritual battle for our children’s minds is being fought on many fronts.