By johninnc (illustration by Holly Garcia)
Romans 10:16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
We were recently meeting with some Christian friends, who mentioned that a prominent writer would be appearing at a local megachurch to make the case for Christianity. This writer’s book makes the case for Christianity by describing how much faith it would require to be an atheist.
That is a great topic for a book, and for attendant lectures. But, let’s look at a little bit of background on the teachings of the church (Forest Hills Church, Charlotte) hosting this event.
From their pastor’s blog:
(he is explaining things from Jesus’ perspective)
Through my obedience, my Father has given me the final authority to execute judgment over all humanity. One day, everyone will hear my voice and appear before me in final judgment. Don’t marvel at this saying. It is true. This judgment will solely depend on those who have believed in me. John’s gospel repeatedly states this truth (3:16;5:24,25; 14:6). However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.
Do you believe in me today? Do you believe I came from heaven, lived in human flesh as a man, lived the perfect life you’re incapable of living, died for your sins and rose from the dead to prove your righteousness and grant you eternal life? It’s a free gift, given by grace through faith. Accept this gift. Believe in me. Trust me for your eternal life.
This is a terrible Calvinist “perseverance of the saints” message that is entirely unbiblical. It is an affront to the real gospel message. If good deeds prove the presence or absence of faith, then one must look at himself to determine if he is saved.
The question then becomes:
Is the person teaching that the Bible is reliable reliable? Or, are they setting records (attendance, book sales, etc.) by changing the record?
Let’s look at the conflicting, unbiblical statement of faith (in works) of another megachurch in North Carolina – Summit Church in Raleigh:
We believe that salvation is a free gift given at God’s initiative, and must be received personally by faith. John 5:24; Rom 10:9-10; Eph 2:8-9
We believe the Bible to be God’s Word, a true and fully accurate account of God’s love for us. Its purpose is to teach us how to have a relationship with Him, worship Him and bring Him glory. Psalms 19:7-10; 2 Tim 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21
Sounds good so far, right?
Ah, but then the contradiction:
If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of our doctrinal beliefs, you may want to read The Baptist Faith and Message.
Following is an excerpt from the “in depth explanation” from the Baptist Faith and Message:
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.
This statement of “faith” requires that someone be regenerated before believing (unbiblical), defines repentance as “a genuine turning from sin toward God” (unbiblical), and thereby makes Jesus necessary for salvation, but not sufficient.
In the false gospel presented in the Baptist Faith and Message, Jesus’s work on the cross, and His victory over sin and death must be augmented by our works – in this case turning from sin.
This is not the record that God gave of His Son. And it is not a message that will save anyone.
1 John 5:10-12:
 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Have you believed OUR report? Or have you believed THEIR report?
Eternal salvation is a free gift, available to every person on the same basis: by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Their reports vary widely. They often look the same as ours – on the surface. But then, they contradict themselves with other statements or beliefs. Some examples:
- We are saved by grace alone through faith alone. But, the faith that saves is never alone.
- A true Christian will…
- You must repent of your sins to be saved
- You must commit your life to Christ to be saved
- You must have heart faith, not just head faith to be saved
- You can lose your salvation
For more information on OUR report, click here: OUR REPORT
Loadship Damnationists always overlook and never mention the fact that Samson is a true man of God, but was also a fornicator at the same time -Judges 16:1, and in Judges 16:28-30, Samson commits a simultaneous murder-suicide with the help of God. Yet Samson is listed as a Godly man of faith in Hebrews 11:32. Samson certainly was not perfect as a man of God. I’ll bet that if a modern day saved Christian did what Samson did, he would immediately be dismissed as an “unsaved” devil by MacArthur, Piper, Sproul, Washer and all the rest of the Lordship clowns.
“They all say that ‘no body is perfect’ but miss the fact that this includes them”
That extends to the non-religious world too, unfortunately.
Jackie – I’ve seen several articles lately and it’s all about how theology much change or evolve, or that even they go back to the ‘ancients’ as if somehow all along we have not had the truth. Sickening how willing people are to cast God’s Word behind their backs (Ps 50:16-17).
Phil – I find it so strange, they know heaven is a perfect place, and they’re relying on their own perseverance to get there. They all say, “no one is perfect”, and they miss that glaring fact, that includes them, and unless they have relied upon His perfection, His righteousness, then they have not been given eternal life, they are still seeking to establish their own righteousness.
It’s a shame that folks are failing to understand they need a perfect righteousness apart from their own sinful flesh — namely, Christ’s righteousness. The only way to be imputed His righteousness is through believing on Him. Holly, you’re right in that theology in the world is always changing and does so according to the needs of the tickled ears. I praise God that His Word endures and never changing. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) It’s so precious to think on the reality that even when utter heresy has consumed the church, the LORD has preserved a remnant of believers who unabashedly stand by the clear and simple Gospel of Grace and refuse to be blown about by every wind of doctrine. I praise Him for this oasis of Grace here where beloved children of God strive to rightly divide the Word of Truth and do so with holy fear and trembling. Salvation is all Jesus Christ and none of us, and He asks us only to believe on Him to be saved.
holly, that is what i have asked people who believe you must do more than just believe to be saved. I’ve asked them to elaborate on all that is need in the Christian life for God to let a person into heaven. And then ask them to look in the mirror and see if they measure up. Are they persevering enough?
Daily I’m astounded at the people who make comments like, “If you think all you have to do is believe to be saved, then you are deceived”.
When you ask the what they think they must do to be saved, they are all over the place. New thought is that ‘theology’ needs to keep changing and needs to be relevant, however I find it interesting, that they miss the fact that what they espouse is all man centered, whether loadship, new agey, emergent, contemplative, whatever. It’s all about their discipline, their works, their ‘center’, just so obvious, hidden in plain sight. They are making themselves like God.
john, my point was not about a Christian singer. My point is that people either may not know what God’s report is, or they are confused about it, or they add their works. It’s not about reporting our repentance of our sins, it’s not the reporting of our turning over a new leaf to secure our salvation,. It’s all about what Christ has done to secure our salvation: the gospel. The trouble is, the Christian world isn’t buying into the true report.
Phil, I hadn’t heard of Ron Kenoly.
Like you, unless I’ve heard someone give a clear testimony unfettered by faith in works, I don’t assume they have heard, or believed, the clear gospel.
I don’t know if you have heard of a Christian gospel recording artist named Ron Kenoly. . His song, “Whose Report will you Believe” is my favorite. In 1999 I volunteered to sing in a back up chorus at one of his concerts, and it was a lot of fun. Back then I guess I assumed that most people in churches really did believe God’s report of salvation through Christ alone, Maybe I just fooled myself into thinking they really did believe it is all of Christ and none of us. Boy was I wrong! (Nothing against Ron Kenoly) But i found out that most people believe some form of MacArthurs’s “Gospel according to Jesus” version of the report.
So when someone says, “Thank God Jesus saved me” I always look for the fine print to see if their testimony includes something more of them than the simple faith to believe it and receive it.
That comment is fantastic, John.
That is exactly what occurs!
Jackie, I might phrase it differently. Something like: “Are you going to heaven?” If they say yes, then ask them: “Why do you think that?”
If their answer indicates they are trusting in works (changed behavior, attitudes, etc.), I would assume they are confused about the gospel and I would try to teach the gospel to them clearly.
The problem I have with the “are you absolutely sure” line of reasoning, is that it can lead introspective people to examine the quality of their faith, rather than keeping focused on Jesus for assurance.
From experience, that reaction may indicate that the person is doubting their salvation and thus goes on the defensive when someone asks that question.
I became very defensive when people asked me that, for the reason above. I was full of doubt after previously being sure I was Christ’s and, as such, this question would cause me further doubt and fear because, I was no longer sure I was Christ’s and thus no longer sure if I was going to heaven because I was no longer sure I had truly believed! Confusing?
Slight tangential question.. Would any of you be offended if asked, “Are you absolutely sure you’re going to Heaven?” I recently asked a professing Christian this question and they responded with the undue assumption that I was attacking their faith, very defensive tone in their words. I mean, I would not mind if another Christian asked me that question knowing now my absolute security in Christ. I would be more than glad to answer such a question. Perhaps it is because they are actually not sure? Seems odd that they would feel attacked.
Pastor worship is prevalent (and sickening).
My time in church taught me never to trust and admire a man in authority simply because he is a man in authority.
I imagine the Pharisees (traditionalists – scripture plus tradition but rejected grace) and Sadducees (literalists – sola scriptora but rejected grace) were looked up to and trusted just like many of the false teachers of today.
Who claimed to know the scriptures better than these two groups?
The Sadducees of today are found in groups like the legalistic lord shippers. They will say “scripture scripture!” yet reject the Gospel. The Pharisees of today belong to religions such as Catholicism. They will say “well the true Chruch has always taught this” and they too reject the Gospel.
The Christians of today are the ones who heard the Gospel and believed it. They might have returned to fishing naked on a boat; they may have been cleansed of leprosy yet forget to thank Jesus; maybe they love the present world; perhaps they were choked by thorns; maybe they are serving the Lord with all heart and soul and are bringing forth great fruit through Christ for Christ.
What they all have in common is that they are Christ’s and He’ll never leave nor forsake them. The Pharisees and Saduccees are missing out.
I think a big problem is simply this. IF a pastor says it, it must be true. I think one must take the time to understand scripture to even “stand” much less “contend”. Not that i am anything special, as i struggled over scripture for years. It is not easy. I think ultimately, people need to simply search the scriptures, but even then, the pharisees were the “best scripture” people.
My bible study is a small group. However, the group wants to join a bigger group that meets on the same night. This should be interesting. 🙂
holly, I know how you feel where a group of people have been indoctrinated a certain way. It’s like they have been brainwashed into believing the “faith’ is the gift. But I also think they will go along with this Calvinist stuff also to fit in with a church. I used to be in an adult study where faith plus works salvation was considered the norm. It was difficult for me to stand by faith alone. The easy road always seems to ne to go along with the crowd. Glad to hear that one gentleman did stand for the truth that salvation is the gift of God’s grace. Some LS’rs might have sent out in the hall for bad behavior. Glad he’s leading the class now. God does work things for good.
THE GOSPEL IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, THE GOSPEL IS SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND, EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO ACCEPT.
Well said, Holly.
Jackie, in the Bible study I am still in, there were a number of people that were in error. It began to grow like William said, it was a canker.
Anyways, as I spoke, I’d ask questions and use Scripture. Sometimes I’d raise my hand and say I cannot quite agree, for this Scripture says this. One discussion was regarding whether faith was the gift, and some of the women from the Sunday morning teacher who was teaching TULIP came in and said, “well of COURSE it is the gift”. And I asked, “If it’s a gift, then why does Jesus tell the crowd to ‘have faith’? Why does He commend people for having great faith, or chastise the disciples He chose for being of little faith, isn’t that like patting Himself on the back, or worse, contradicting Scripture, showing the faith He gave the disciples was less than good and perfect as James 1:17 says?”
These particular women just clucked their tongues and rolled their eyes. But my teacher (who was also promoting this) asked another gentleman she respected, who is humble and has also had seminary training, what his thought was. He concurred with me, that salvation is the gift, and not faith.
By the way, he is now our Bible study teacher.
The thing I do not know, is many left, according to the last teacher, because of me speaking out. I can only pray I did not offend in myself, by not being wise as I spoke to them. If I offended in Christ, then I am o.k. Our Bible study 7 years ago was probably 35. Today, it is about 10, but all solid. May it please the Lord to grow and branch out.
Jackie, That’s what I thought. Calvinism/Lordship Salvation doctrine, and Arminianism has spread like a malignant cancer in the churches, seminaries, etc, you name it. Many people in the church have taken false doctrine for granted because they don’t do their homework in reading God’s Word and exegeting it correctly, but instead rely upon a pastor who spoon feeds them poison from the pulpit every Sunday. The fight against false doctrine is tough.
I am currently debating a Roman Catholic up on YouTube and doing my best in presenting the truth of God’s Word in its simplicity quoting Scripture after Scripture. It may take time for many people to wake up to the real truth of God’s Word. Years of indoctrination by false doctrine blinds the minds of many.
Yes, they are either reformed lordship salvationists or are sympathizers of them. In either case, the Gospel message is being tainted either actively or passively. Very little understanding of the threats that come against the purity of the Gospel.
Jackie, I’m praying for you also. Let me guess. Are these friends in your Bible study group Calvinist/Lordship Salvationist/Arminianist?
Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your prayers so much. I want to be as gentle yet wise as I possibly can. I am close friends with the majority of the women in this study, I love them dearly, and I want to maintain an open door in these relationships if the opportunity to teach with the Word ever arises. I trust in Lord’s timing greatly, and I praise Him for His grace that He showers us with day in and day out. He knows I would be nothing without it.
A question to ask and or keep in mind
” by what standard ? ”
Here is a series by Charles Clough if I may post.
The series has helped me proclaim the Gospel
i also will pray for you. Timing can be a big part of it.
With my group i almost left early. Not getting into the story BUT all were unsure of where they were going. Once i saw this, I stayed.
Did I “boldly” proclaim it? depends on your definition of “boldly”. They really didnt know me. So i was “soft” in answering questions. Today, i can be more “myself” with them (1-2 years later). 🙂
Maybe during your bible study the group talks about a passage and you say, “what about this one over here”? to start a discussion.
Anyway, definitely praying for you; and the group.
prayed for Jackie
“that in simplicity and godly sincerity,”
Let the conversation come to Jackie , for opportunity to speak up.
Rom 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.
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
1Co_1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1Co_2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1Co_2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
1Co_2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
2Co_1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
Col_1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
Col_2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
Jackie, I have prayed for you to have courage in declaring the gospel, and that God would help you to be gentle and wise in interacting with this group.
Could you all please pray for me? I’m attending a Bible study with women who are either bewitched or still lost. Many falsehoods have been tossed to and fro within the study, and I did not reprove any of the gals who said them. I’m not sure if the Lord actually wanted me to hold my peace or if He did want me to speak up and correct with the Word. Please pray that He would grant me the courage to boldly declare the Gospel of our salvation and defend it against all demonic doctrine. I sense this may be stemming from my struggle with fear of men. I just need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit now more than ever. Thanks, brothers and sisters.
“1 Peter 2:7-8. Good catch, Holly. “Disobedient” means “to refuse or withhold belief.”
man , all the years of my church going and reading over this passage have not thought of or heard “Disobedient”= to refuse or withhold belief , i’m seeing it here for first time
even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient:
1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1 Peter 2:7-8. Good catch, Holly. “Disobedient” means “to refuse or withhold belief.”
Holly, I think time spent debunking Calvinism is time well spent. I was referring to the Calvinists as being the ones wasting their time.
Hi David, Good to see you again. I agree, our primary goal should always be to deliver the gospel. I think there is a time when to determine to mark and avoid, but I do believe when falsehoods are spoken in public and you are there, they should be reproved by the Word in public before all. I don’t argue, however, the good part is when someone comes and says they were watching the conversation and have learned from the Word although they didn’t involve themselves in the conversation itself. I’m guessing Saul/Paul wasn’t teachable when Stephen rebuked them all in Acts 7. I wonder how many other times he was told or reproved by other believers. But I know at least once he heard before by one he considered an adversary.
We have to withstand them, warn against them, rebuke them sharply and publicly. Always in prayer, using the Word, but as we withstand false teachings, we are contending earnestly for the faith, defending the gospel, and also tending and feeding His sheep. So many are bewitched, or fooled by these other gospels, and even if saved, need reproved so they can also deliver a clear gospel. At least that is my understanding on the Scriptures. I don’t make it my goal, I do try to stay balanced 🙂
In Christ, Holly
Benchap, I agree.
2 Corinthians 11:3: But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Phil, I think it sounds like LS, Calvinism, Pentecostalism, and ecumenism.
“I almost agree with you 100% but you left out some glaring ommissions that render your conclusion invalid.”
More proof that they can’t deal with anything with simplicity.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For a 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 into fables.” ( 2 Tim 4:2-4)
Sound anything like LS or Calvinists?
David, it’s great to hear from you.
I agree completely. Time spent defending Calvinism is time wasted doing anything worthwhile.
Also, ripping Scriptures out of their context, trying to lump them together into a doctrine, when God’s Word makes it clear and simple as you had pointed out Holly. Folks like this love to spend hours spinning their heresies while time could be spent telling teachable people how to have eternal life according to God’s simply wonderful Word;
Holly, this Calvinistic response is really lame. According to his doctrine, both you and he are making arguments that were pre-ordained by God.
Accordingly, he is arguing with God.
This guy called Yankee an idiot, Yankee Doodle Dandy, a cult, those drinking the kool-aid, and lastly called him a fool (I asked him what he thought of sermon on the mount being such a great call to the gospel according to John MacArthur), and then referenced Matt 5:22, which he didn’t quite understand.
Anyways, here was my gospel, and then I’ll give you his response.
Here is the gospel. All people are sinners (Rom 3:23), the Old Testament tells us the soul that sins will die (and yes, the Bible is infallible and the OT God is the same as the New). There was a purpose for the law, to show God’s Holiness, and to show our exceeding sinfulness (Rom 7:13), and in so doing, point us to Christ (Gal 3:19), the same One promised from the beginning (Gen 3:15) and repeated to Abraham as a promise in Gen 12:3 and Gen 15:6, it is recorded in the NT as the gospel was preached to Abraham (Gal 3:8). We are all sinners, and as we know the penalty for any sin is death (Rom 6:23).
Heaven is a perfect place, not even a lie may enter (Rev 21:27). We cannot earn our salvation by works (Eph 2:8-9). Christ died for our sin (2 Cor 5:21), He was buried and rose again (1 Cor 15:3-4) proving He was God, because He laid down His life for us willingly (Jn 15:13; John 10:17-18) AND He had the power to take it up again, proving He is God. He says we can KNOW that we have eternal life (1 John 5:9-13; John 20:31) when we have believed on Christ’s work alone.
Be determined to know nothing among people except Christ and Him crucified. It’s HIS story of salvation, many try to make themselves ‘radical’ disciples instead of choosing the needed thing the good part (Lk 10:38-42) once they believe. We must believe upon what He has done.
HIS PART: For God so loved the world,
HIS PART: that he gave his only begotten Son,
OUR PART: that whosoever believeth in him
HIS PART: should not perish,
HIS PART: but have everlasting life.
I almost agree with you 100% but you left out some glaring ommissions that render your conclusion invalid.
HIS PART: Opens hearts. Acts 16:14
HIS PART: Grants repentance 2 Tim 2:25
So how does it become OUR PART as to “whosoever” when:
HIS PART: Appoints to salvation, grants eternal life.
Acts 13:48. As many as were appointed/ordained to eternal life, believed.
Curtis, I have discussed this with them (Calvinists) many times, and furthermore after asking them straight out, who causes them not to believe, they say it is God and it is all for His glory.
I go to 2 Cor 4 and point out that it is THE god of this world (for now) who blinds minds, and that it is the glorious gospel, when it shines on people’s hearts, that gives God the glory in the face of Jesus Christ. So God would be further glorified by more who will believe this gospel, it would be Satan who would be glorified by keeping people from believing.
Their all-Sovereign god (their definition meaning He controls every aspect of our will), would be fighting against Himself, suppressing the truth, and blinding men’s minds from the gospel. Their all-Sovereign god is playing a chess game, going from side to side, choosing who will win and who will lose. Calling the other guy a cheater and liar, yet He supposedly created His opponent to do just that.
They cannot face the truth of the god they have created, and the God that they malign, the way of truth they blaspheme. The Psalmist said, I have CHOSEN the way of truth (119:30), what is so terribly difficult to understand about that?
The most difficult thing I face with Calvinists is pinning them down to present the gospel. The vast majority will not, even if asked multiple times in a row. I will then present it to them, and they will invariably say I have left something out. Let me see if I can present a conversation to that effect, by one studying to be a reformed pastor.
Penelope – good point, I think you meant 1 Peter 2:7-8. It adds to the fact that we have a free will and can refuse to believe, to not allow themselves to be persuaded, to withhold belief.
Here’s one for the Calvinists in looking up the other usages of apeitheō. In 1 Pet 2:8 as you meant to cite I believe, it also says they were appointed to the Word, the same Word they disobeyed (didn’t believe).
Interestingly one of the passages they often use is in Romans 2:7-11, to prove that one must be ‘obedient’ and work for eternal life. But what is the ‘working good’ spoken of or ‘obey the truth’ vs. ‘obey unrighteousness’? The word is the same. It’s either believe or REFUSE to believe. Thanks for that Penelope, another great word to learn.
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.
“If man remains condemned because of unbelief, and unbelief is the sin mentioned in John 16, and God makes people unable to believe, then God has sinned. Calvinism is a false doctrine.”
Nothing so impressive as simplicity
I believe in some places in the NT, the Greek definition for “disobedient” is “to refuse or withhold belief,” like in 2 Peter 2:7-8. It’s th same word used for “disbelieving” in John 3:36, Romans 2:8, and others.
Obviously it’s a choice, and obviously God expects us to obey Him by believing in the finished work of the cross.
Jackie, it is hard for those who are confused about the gospel to be effective witnesses.
That is why some of these groups need all of the “Christian” books.
If Calvinists really are so caught up in defining repentance as turning from sin, then the only sin that needs to be turned from to be saved is unbelief. Even then, there is still ambiguity in that. Better to define repentance as the Bible does and minister the Truth of God’s Word to those who have not believed in Jesus.
Holly, Calvinism literally crumbles under their failure to understand that unbelief is a sin. Sad how such wicked doctrines are taking Christendom by storm. There’s something extraordinary when children can understand the simplicity that is in Christ, but then see the truths of the Gospel go right over the heads of these modern day Pharisees (Calvinists/loadship peddlers/etc.). This is what happens when man attempts to systematize the entire doctrine of salvation, but Scripture has already told us how to be saved and what happens when we are saved (Acts 16:31, Eph. 1:13-14 just to name a few). No need for that. I’d much rather have the simplicity of God’s Word concerning the Gospel than a Pharisee harping away their version of the Gospel, but never actually preaching it.
Holly, that is an excellent point. Calvinism has created a false god who causes sin.
If man remains condemned because of unbelief, and unbelief is the sin mentioned in John 16, and God makes people unable to believe, then God has sinned. Calvinism is a false doctrine.
God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
2Th 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Th 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2Th 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
2Th 2:17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
Election begins at the moment of salvation
How ? by belief in the Truth
How? by Grace
condemning souls to hell not God’s plan.
souls condemn themselves to Hell by their own volition . The provision has been made The forgiveness of sins by the finished work of Jesus. It’s not a sin issue, It’s a Son issue . Souls go around God’s plan wanting God their own way and or salvation their own way .
yes God knows who will believe , No not all will believe.
Heaven , Justification free gift of eternal life before God is easy , a soul must work to get into Hell .
It’s easier to slip into hell off the front pew of a church than a bar stool at the local watering hole. Lord Lord they will say . For some souls getting drunk would be a step up in all their own self righteousness. (please don’t go get drunk but be filled with the Spirit as a believer)
heaven is a free gift for the guilty not a reward for the righteous
Will you believe Jesus paid your sin debt ?
the penalty for sin is death rom 6:23
the way the sin penalty is paid is not “repenting of your sin” the sin penalty is dying for your sin . Jesus paid my/your sin debt.
come to Jesus WITH all of your sin with everything you got.
as a believer soul having received by Grace through Faith the Free gift of eternal life “repenting” changing your thinking and agreeing with what God say’s in His word taking God’s side against yourself SHOULD SHOULD be a way of life , there are rewards for yielding to what God says .
Election begins at the moment of salvation.
could election really be that simple according to God’s word ? maybe I need to read a book on election 3 knuckles deep and or sign up for a weekend seminar ?
Nothing so impressive as simplicity in Christ jesus
Holly, yes – and believers in LS who then become born again.
I agree John and Phil. And there are believers in Calvinism, that become atheists, and then become born-again, like our Jack 🙂
Phil, I think you may be right. I think there are believers who get caught up in Calvinism/LS, and then get so confused that they just say they don’t believe any of it.
Sorry I missed this one from this summer. From what I’ve seen of Calvinists, reformed or whatever they call themselves, is that they love their theological theories. They like the idea that they can come up with some theory or formula that they think explains the mind of God. That’s really what they are into: a justification recipe that explains this issue of whether Christ died for the sins of everyone, or just a chosen few. They just can’t wrap themselves around the idea that the good news of the gospel is actually available to everyone who will simply believe it,(even ex Calvinist Presybyterian athiests.) That once you are saved nothing you do can change it, because to reject a believer, wouldn’t God have to reject himself?
To me, Calvinists are not really grace alone, by faith alone, according to Scripture alone. No, Calvinists are according to their man-made theological system where they run grace, faith and scripture all through their meat grinder first and then feed it to us.
Calvinism sounds like a wonderful idea. God just sort of takes care of it all and does it all for his chosen. He sort of plants it all in us: regenerates us and even bestows faith. Smooth sailing right? Until you read the fine print and find out that you must follow through and live like a new creature or else it probably never happened and you really were not chosen and elected. This may have been what happened to Club. And I think this is where a lot of other Calvinists end up: they end up doubting their eternal position because they don’t think they are living the life of the elect; they doubt their perseverance.
Too bad they can’t just simply believe that Christ has already done everything to saved them, and all they have to do is believe it and eternal life will always be theirs no matter what, and it can never be taken away.
Tom Cucuzza at Northland also, you have his link here somewhere I believe on this PDF, but it can also be ordered in a nice pre-printed cardstock, they are $2 each. Great size to keep in purse, people can add Bible verses they like on front and back cover that are not included in the booklet, to personalize it, even adding an email if they like for people to contact them with questions.
With homeless that request money, if one wishes to have something to give them and are caught unaware, you can ask them if they’d like the booklet that contains the gospel. Some will turn you down, some will receive it thanking you for something to read. I usually have some money tucked in the pages for those cases that I cannot go get them a cold water and a sandwich to hand out with. Even so, I have still be heartily turned down…
This is the link, but people can hit the ‘contact us’ and ask them for the booklets. They do paypal and other forms too.
Ralph Yankee Arnold also has some good ones. You can find an assortment of them here.
Don, I agree that no one should judge another’s salvation, but only to judge the doctrine itself. Who knows who has believed alone and not ever assimilated the baggage. I believe I did not think the baggage was necessary, that came later.
What a story you have had. Are you my friend on FB? Or a different Don?
Your stories are so similar, but hard to know by first names.
Don, I have some from Evantell.
Some Christian friends recently showed us some from Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church that were really good.
I’m pretty sure #2 was part of his tract. #3 is very Campus Crusade, if memory serves. For awhile, I got sucked into Ray Comfort’s gimmick tracts but quit once I realized how LS they are.
At the moment, the only tracts I have on hand is by Evantell, which is pretty clear and sound.
Don, I agree that we God’s word is not bound, and someone can be saved despite a gospel presentation that is contradicted by works. And, I agree that just because someone teaches a false gospel does not mean that they do not have eternal life. We did an article on that a couple of years ago. Please see link below:
And yet, when someone adds Lordship “salvation” content to the gospel, they are changing the gospel to another gospel. The Bible is pretty clear that this is a bad thing to do.
The following quote, from Ron Shea, underscores some of the dangers in using popular gospel substitutes. Please see below:
Popular Gospel Substitutes
Because it is impossible to anticipate every corruption of the gospel that fallen man may concoct, we offer, not as exhaustive, but by way of example, the following as false gospel substitutes:
i) “Invite Jesus into your heart,”
ii) “Make a personal commitment to Christ,”
iii) “Put Christ on the throne of your life,”
iv) “Give your life to Christ,”
v) “Commit your life to Christ,”
vi) “Give your heart to God,”
vii) “Turn your life over to Jesus,”
We believe that there are at least six grave dangers set before the church in the use of these, and similar contemporary gospel substitutes and popular aphorisms:
1. Even when presented fully and accurately, the gospel is camouflaged by such nonsense, thereby hindering the effectiveness of the gospel message from illuminating the way of salvation to those who know not Christ.
2. Oftentimes, essential elements of the gospel message are excised entirely from the message of the evangelist in order to make room for the addition of more nonsensical aphorisms, thereby robbing such messages of any capacity for imparting a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
3. The gospel is often contradicted by works-oriented invitations such as requiring an unbeliever to “make a personal commitment to Jesus Christ,” which is, in its essence, a requirement of a promise future works in exchange for salvation.
4. By such silly aphorisms, the unregenerate are given a false assurance of salvation through a meaningless profession of faith, thereby discouraging further inquiry into the most important question in the universe.
5. 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.
6. The true believer who is not firmly grounded in the clarity of the gospel is likely to redefine his understanding of the gospel message according to how he hears it repeatedly presented, thereby perpetuating and multiplying this confusion, and crippling successive generations of evangelists.
It might help if I fill in a few blanks here, but I know little of this will be news to you.
What I described happened at a small, struggling college campus ministry in Illinois which was a church plant from Ball State in Indiana. Things that didn’t make sense to me even as a baby believer, I now see were because these folks were VERY susceptible to falling for every fad that came down the pike of Christendom (which we know is still common throughout evan-Jello-calism). On top of that, MacArthur was at that time holding the undisputed heavyweight title of popular expository preachers so our pastor had a full set of his commentaries. Yet this same pastor gave his blessing when an adult member of our church was asked to be married by a devout, practicing Catholic man. Even I – an immature toddler of a believer – knew Paul warned that believers of two different gospels could not coexist together, but the pastor said he was satisfied with the Catholic man’s profession of faith (uhhhh, yeah). Point is, all that confusion and immaturity into which I was born was only to be expected.
Incidentally…shortly before my wife and I outgrew them, that pastor and staff rejected pretrib as dead wrong and went full prewrath rapture view (the Prewrath fad was hot at the time, too). Not being as theologically “up” as I am now, I was baffled and blindsided, but it has since come to make perfect sense: prewrath says you have to endure to the end of the Tribulation in order to be saved, which fits right in with their crypto-Calvinism. Also…last I checked, the pastor’s ministry (now in Florida) had barely moved an inch, doctrinally, from where we were 20 years ago…”What is God’s will for my life?” level sermons, you know the type. But now, it all makes perfect sense. Sad, but makes sense.
Anyway, it’s been years since I’ve seen the tract that pastor wrote but despite the Lordship elements it contained, the core of the Gospel of grace was indeed plainly stated as well. That is why (speaking only for myself and judging no one who will disagree) I am reluctant to judge the salvation of anyone who is preaching baggage attached to “the power of God unto salvation.” Do I have a problem with their doing so? Absolutely yes…that tract was a bit of a contradictory mess. Do I believe they’ll answer for it? In what sense I’m not sure but yes, I do believe that they will. But I’m convinced that God’s Word is not bound, so if the simple fact of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for us is included in a presentation, God can and will use it regardless of LS or whatever other nonsense may be packaged along with it. And so it was with me.
Your testimony of your time in that system of doctrine is very compelling, and addresses the very things I’ve asked of some of them. They do not admit it, but it’s good to hear from a former Calvinist/Load-ship perspective.
I wrote to a pastor concerning his quoting of men like Spurgeon. His answer was fairly standard, “I don’t endorse all they say”, “Paul quoted a poet in Acts 17”, “I believe Spurgeon was a Christian”, “the quote I used lined up with His Word”.
I kid you not, I can’t think of how many times I’ve seen that exact answer to me about various Calvinists or even Arminians. I went on to share with him how it has shipwrecked the lives of so many. I’ve heard hundreds of stories over time, just in the people I know, who have suffered loss in their own walk/fellowship with Christ — a shipwrecked life. I know so many stories of daily fear and anxiety, wondering if one was saved.
Your story resonated with me, for the people who have shared these doubts and fears, and never could rest in Christ’s finished work. They pretended though. I know, I was one. And as for the spiritual tailspin with sin? So very true, and again, I have many I know in the process of ‘coming’ out of the bondage. I so pray some of these pastors could just consider prayerfully the great damage that they have done by just favorably quoting these men/preachers/teachers.
You worded that so well, it should be a stand alone testimony.
I believe the clutter in my life came years after believing, but many will tell me that the things that corrupted their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ, was to hear one thing and 5 minutes after believing get told another. The Lord knows who are His.
Agony is the best way to describe it. What you said here, “For long periods at a time, the Bible was reduced to just words on a page, telling me nothing. The brainwashing was complete.”
I cannot believe you were given a Pink book — one of my messed up shepherds (an old pastor) also recommended him. I couldn’t wade through it. Thankfully. I laugh now, that same pastor gave me Brennan Manning. I hadn’t heard of either, boy was he mixed up.
I praise God with you for your freedom in Him.
What a thorough pleasure to read Johninnc and Preston’s responses. It’s like getting to sit through a meaty sermon 🙂 Thank you both, what can I say? I agree with your interpretation of all, and thank the Lord for the truth of His Word.
He said – We can’t have the position in Christ without the power of the Gospel in our lives. BOTH ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT. We can’t have one without the other.”
ME – this is NOT what Paul preached. The carnal church at Corinth heard the gospel BACK in Acts 18. THEN LATER Paul writes a “letter” to his carnal bunch telling them what they SHOULD be doing and why.
In that letter, Paul wrote this “And I, brethren, when I came to you (Acts 18), came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined NOT TO KNOW ANYTHING among you, save Jesus Christ, AND him crucified.
– JESUS – who He was (Gods only Son; God in the flesh)
– HIM CRUCIFIED (the gospel)- He died for our sins and rose again.
Thats it!! Paul did NOT care to know ANYTHING about an “unsaved” person except Jesus AND Him crucified. (to the “unsaved” anything else is “another gospel” or “another Jesus”- see 2 Cor 11:3-4).
Once saved, Paul wrote letters telling these “already saved” people what they should be doing. (IF automatic, Paul would not need to write letters to these “already saved” churches as works would be “automatic)
Alice, this guy doesn’t believe the gospel.
Old Testament saints did not have the Holy Spirit permanently indwelling them.
But, that doesn’t mean they weren’t born again. They were. Otherwise, why would Jesus have told Nicodemus that he must be born again? After all, this was before the crucifixion.
Old Testament saints were saved by grace through faith in the coming redeemer.
But, let’s go with this pastor’s flawed reasoning.
If Solomon can’t be used as a gauge of New Testament experience, who can be?
Is it the carnal Corinthian believers? Is it the people commended for their faithfulness in Colossians? The correct answer is both.
Now, the pastor said that a person can’t continue living in sin and claim to be positionally right with God.
My comment: Rubbish! Of course he can. Jesus made it possible for us to be reconciled to God, and his righteousness is imputed to us when we believe that He did that for us.
If someone is divorced and remarried multiple times, why would this pastor assume they weren’t saved? What if the pastor failed to love his neighbor as himself multiple times? Are we to assume he isn’t saved? Should the pastor assume he isn’t saved?
This pastor seems to think that one is saved by faith in Christ plus no longer sinning “on purpose.” If the pastor has deceived himself into thinking that all of his own sins are “accidents,” what gaurantee does he have that this will always be the case?
No, Alice. This is not a “straw man.” It is defense of the gospel itself.
I would bring up 1 Cor 5:1 – It is reported COMMONLY that there is FORNICATION among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
– fornication commonly among you (practicing).
See 1 Cor chapter one – this was a saved church (in case he says there were not really saved).
As for 1 John 3:9 – “practice” in not the correct word. See my book on it (I think you have it) or yankee arnold “difficult passages 1 John 3:9”.
– also, Paul admitted he practiced sin in Romans 7:15-28. verse 19, the last word in that verse is “DO” (prassw; meaning to “practice, to habitually commit) – thus this gentlemen MUST condemn Paul because Paul admitted to “practicing” sin.
I would ask him, using scripture only, to define “practice”. is it once a day, once a year, once a month. At what point does a sin become “practicing”? (again, use scripture only)
I would try to show him that he DOES practice sin. everyday.
A few examples. When bringing up that commandments FOR salvation to the rich young ruler. We must be perfect. IF thou wilst be “perfect” sell all you have, give it to the poor, and follow me.
– this is the law of, thou shalt not covet and thou shalt love the Lord they God with ALL thy heart, soul and mind.
Has HE sold ALL he has and given it to the poor? Has he not done this willfully; EVERYDAY? – (he is practicing “coveting”).
James tells us “to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin”.
– Does he give money to EVERY homeless person he sees? – is it good to do this?
– When he is in line at a store simply waiting. Does he give the gospel to those waiting in line with him? is it good to do this?
Alice, i am proud of you (and all) who earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude). God Speed. Even Jesus had problems getting the “pharisees” of His day to believe in Him. I debate all the time; with little luck. All we can do is plant seeds. Just be sure to declare the gospel somewhere in your discussion (if you have not already).
Johninnc and Preston, thank you both for your helpful comments. When you explain things so simply, I feel reassured that I am on the right side of the Gospel. Often I feel so alone when I have to contend with those of LS doctrine because there are not many people (except for 1 or 2) where I live who really understand God’s grace and therefore I don’t feel I belong with them, however when I come to ExP, I feel comforted, encouraged,
edified, strengthened and have a real sense of fellowship here.
If you are willing to enter into the combat with me, here is some more:
Some earlier email exchange I had with Mr.E:
Alice: “You mentioned that there are some professing Christians who have left their wives and married 2 or 3 times and you believe that they were never saved. What would you say about King Solomon whose heart was turned away from the Lord towards the end of his life because of his multiple foreign wives and turned to idolatry? Was he ever saved? Solomon wrote Scripture: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (Holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit to write Scripture 2 Peter 1:21). A failure to separate/distinguish Justification from Sanctification leads to confusion, it destroys assurance of salvation, frustrates the Grace of God, preaches an accursed gospel of faith + works and causes believers to become judgemental fruit-inspectors of fellow believers to determine their salvation”
Mr.E: “King Solomon lived under the old covenant and old testament experience cannot be used as a gauge of new testament experience. Solomon was not born again or was he indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This is New Covenant experience made possible by the finished work of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost…… My concern is that this teaching can lead a person to think that they can continue living in sin and claim to be positionally right with God. Of course nobody is suggesting that a christian does not sin. That is a straw man. It seems you do not understand the difference between a believer sinning and a person living in sin by deliberate choice. Whosoever is born of God doth NOT commit (practice) sin.That’s not my theology, that is a plain statement of God’s Word and we must believe it….”
Hebrews 6:6-9 – is simply exhorting these people to do good works. verse 8 is exactly like the judgement seat of Christ where our works are tested and some will have their works burned. Also, go back to chapter 5:12. if works automatically happen, why would Paul tell them they OUGHT TO have been teachers by now?
– IF it were automatic, then they WOULD have been teachers by now. (there are many more “if’s” to this passage)
Simon, Annanias and Saphira – saved. I wonder what he thinks about the carnal church of Corinth (those babes IN CHRIST)
Col 3:9 – IF “putting” off the old man” means change is automatic THEN why did Paul tell them to “lie not to one another” earlier in the verse???
– Go back to 3:1 – Paul is telling these “already saved” people to seek those things which are above.
– IF change is automatic – why would Paul even need to write them “to do or not do these things”. they would be automatic.
He said – We can’t have the position in Christ without the power of the Gospel in our lives. BOTH ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT. We can’t have one without the other.”
ME -explain 2 Tim 2 where there faith was “overthrown” but they were still sealed????? where is the “power” of the gospel in THEIR lives?
– the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
explain – the judgment seat of Christ where works are all burned but they themselves are saved???? IF works automatically come, everyone would have a reward.
Alice, you said: … I am frustrated that he doesn’t see that he is under a false gospel but continues to quote Scripture that seem to back up his arguments.
My comment: There is nothing in Scripture that seems to back up his arguments. These are “plain vanilla” Lordship “salvation” arguments that you will hear time and again if you enter into the fray with Lordship “salvationists.” You will need to put on the full armor of God to withstand these arguments.
Simon the Sorcerer was saved. If not, the Bible is full of lies and contradictions:
Acts 8:13: Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
Ananias and Saphira were also saved.
There is no such thing as “head faith” versus “heart faith.”
The book of Hebrews is addressed to believers. There is nothing in Hebrews to suggest that the people either lacked eternal life or were in danger of losing it. Please see extensive comments on Hebrews 6:4-6, as well as sermons on Hebrews 3-6, below:
You quoted the pastor as saying: Alice, I believe in positional salvation as strongly as you do but the case you pursue ignores the power of the Gospel to change lives. We can’t have the position in Christ without the power of the Gospel in our lives. BOTH ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT. We can’t have one without the other.
My comment: WRONG! This is just simple Lordship “salvation”/perseverance of the saints dogma. Believing in Jesus as Savior does not require believing that He will change your life. It requires believing that He paid for all of our sins at Calvary.
Don, I really appreciated your testimony of how the Lord led you out of bondage to Calvinism and LS. Reading it made me realise how oppressive this teaching can be and how destructive it is to our assurance of salvation. We too praise Him for opening our eyes and delivering us into freedom.
I have been communicating by email with a man who heads up a large bible prophecy organisation in Australia but I am frustrated that he doesn’t see that he is under a false gospel but continues to quote Scripture that seem to back up his arguments. I would really like to hear some thoughts on his comments to me:
“There are certain things that accompany salvation. Heb 6:6-9. A saved person brings forth fruit meet for them by whom it is dressed and is blessed of God but that which brings forth thorns and briers is that which has its end to be burned. Hebrews is written to the Hebrews in the early church period. Many had professed conversion but when persecution came went back to the old sacrifices and rejected the only sacrifice of Christ. To such Paul says “We are not of them that draw back unto perdition but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Heb.10:39 There are many who believe like Simon the sorcerer, and Ananias and Saphira whose heart Satan filled – but are not saved. Their behaviour showed that they lacked a belief in the heart Rom 10:9″
“Saving faith is also repentant. There is a change of life style. My Old Man IS DEAD but the flesh is still there. The Old Man is defined by Scripture as my “former conversation (way of life)”Col 3:9. Eph.4:22 says that ye put off the old man but this is a wrong translation as any Greek scholar will tell you, and it is the same as Colossians 3:9 Ye HAVE PUT OFF the former manner of life is the correct translation. Conversion brings a change and idolators cease to be idolators……Alice, I believe in positional salvation as strongly as you do but the case you pursue ignores the power of the Gospel to change lives. We can’t have the position in Christ without the power of the Gospel in our lives. BOTH ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT. We can’t have one without the other.”
I have prayed for this man that the Lord will reveal His truth to him as only He can. I have tried to show him with Scripture but he has other Scripture to refute my position. I see this struggle not against ‘flesh and blood’ but against powers and spiritual darkness.
“Do these people ever ask themselves how many bad deeds should they do in order to disprove their salvation!?”
If they’re honest, yes they do. Constantly. They have to — TULIP bakes uncertainty and despair into the cake of Calvinism. They may never admit their struggles and doubts to anyone but believe me, they have them. Every Calvinist lurking on this site knows in his or her heart that I speak the truth.
I confess that I was always given to introspection and even gloominess (self-centeredness, to call it what it really is). When I was thoroughly enslaved by LS, guess how many “good works” it took to ensure me of my salvation to the point I could rest in Christ’s finished work?
Answer: it never happened.
Now guess how many sins of the flesh it took to send my into a spiritual tailspin?
Both are because there was no identifiable sense of being forgiven. Why? Because I could not know 100% for sure that I was even saved. Why? Because I could not know I’d been elected to BE saved. Why? Because God didn’t give us a list of names, and I kept sinning despite the alleged “eradication of sin” I’d received, which was (to eradicationists) a huge red flag.
I’ve had a question asked at this point: Was I even saved at that time? Some here would say “probably not” or even “no.” But I think that I was — the gospel of the grace of God is the POWER of God unto salvation, independent of anything else that may clutter it or obscure it. I did hear that blessed Gospel and I did believe it…it was everything else my church’s particular mutation of LS had packaged along with it that was causing the problems.
That agony went on for some time. I was told (by John MacArthur, no less) that my old sin nature had been ERADICATED when I believed the Gospel. And some things DID improve – even things I did not think were problems and wouldn’t or couldn’t have changed if I thought I should have.
But why did I still have a propensity to sin, if my sin nature was eradicated, destroyed, wiped forever?
No one could answer that satisfactorily and it was the worst agony I’ve ever endured. FOR YEARS. For long periods at a time, the Bible was reduced to just words on a page, telling me nothing. The brainwashing was complete. But thank God, He was still working on me.
The breaking point came when my pastor at that time saw my worsening downward spiral and depression. So he gave me a book with (I sincerely believe) the genuine desire to help me. That book was A.W. Pink’s SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD. If you’re at all familiar with that title, I need not describe what that book would do to a person in a fragile spiritual state of mind. It’s possibly the worst book you could give to a new, struggling Christian who struggles with the ungodly “truths” that Pink mercilessly sets forth as God’s truth.
Long story short…yes, they do struggle with their own sins and insecurity. It’s part of the deal of hoping you’re one of the elect. They’re modern day Puritans, with all the same baggage and with the same results. All because of false doctrine.
Praise be to God, He has freed me. If He can free me, He can free anyone. 🙂
Adam777 – good to ‘see’ you 🙂
I pray the same with you, and pray for this site, and for people to come to understand the truth of His Word. To hear the clear gospel which is powerful. May we all keep laboring; planting and watering, and I pray the Lord continues to give the increase, until He comes for us.
Adam, it’s great to hear from you again!
Great article John, and a good and accurate rebuttal to clubshadenfreude too. Like many here, I will pray that he/she finally comes to the point of Bible / Gospel clarity, whether he/she is saved or not already.
Also, hello to all my brothers and sisters on the site too. It’s been awhile since I commented. I pray that our Lord is using each one of us to bring many souls unto salvation through the only Gospel that saves (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 1:16).
Preston, I’m glad I don’t hate my mother or father. Same word they love to use for Jacob and Esau and will not accept that it does not mean the kind of hate we understand. Same hate used regarding being murder, so this is not what God is saying, but they love to use it, have they hated their own?
Alex, I’ve asked, no one has ever been able to come up with what percentage obedience? How long of a time one has to keep it up at that percentage? Is it the big sins, or the little ones? Never ever have I gotten more than we have to ‘want to’ or ‘mourn for’ our sins, and keep repenting.
They can never know…. Even John MacArthur on his ‘only road to heaven’ sermon, whether he is speaking of receiving eternal life (he is) is talking about how salvation is not for all these types of people, and I wonder how honest that man is with himself.
JMAC: This is not for waverers. (Poor Peter and Thomas…were they not saved?)
This is not for compromisers. (I am afraid someone should have told that to the church at Corinth, for the Hebrews, for the Galatians, those James wrote to, and a number of others I can think of)
This is not for Baalams.
This is not for the rich young ruler. (This is a VERY interesting statement by MacArthur, considering in the doctrines of grace, they teach, God does not love ALL, and He did not die for ALL. But the Word clearly states, Jesus looked upon him and loved him, so if so, by the elect standard of God only loving the elect, this young ruler was saved).
This is not for Pilate.
This is not for Demas. (Demas forsook Paul, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, was identified in Philemon as a fellow laborer in Christ. He ‘loved’ this present world, I am sure that is MacArthur’s foundation to declare him unsaved.)
This is not won by deferred prayers, (we cannot ‘win’ our salvation in any way, it is received by faith…)
by unfulfilled promises, (There is only ONE promise whereby we can be saved. It has nothing to do with us not keeping promises. That is the covenant God made with Abraham, the gospel preached to Abraham (ref: Gal 3:8), and sealed by the blood of the everlasting covenant — Matt 26:28, Heb 13:20. The gift of eternal life is nothing we can ‘win’ in any way).
broken resolutions – (again, our resolutions have nothing to do with being saved.)
and hesitant commitments. (The gospel is not about ‘commitment’, hesitant or not — Mr. MacArthur, it is about believing the gospel, Isaiah’s report – Rom 10:14-17 — you either are a believer of the gospel, or you are still under condemnation – John 3:18, 36.)
It’s for the STRONG and the STURDY, like Joseph and Nathan and Elijah and Daniel and Mordecai and Peter and Stephen and Paul and Ruth and Deborah and Esther and Lydia. (What boasting… what focus on men. These men were strong and sturdy, is that what Paul said about himself? Was it Stephen who had the strength, or the Holy Spirit he was full of. Shouldn’t the glory go to God being their strength in weakness? Again I refer you to I Cor 1:27-29 — and if people would just for a moment think again on WHO MacArthur puts the emphasis on… God or man?)
Remember this is all about ‘becoming saved’ or ‘entering in to the kingdom’.
Alex, it does make one wonder.
Do these people ever ask themselves how many bad deeds should they do in order to disprove their salvation!?
Preston, me too!
pretty thankful i still have both my eyes and hands!!!
Holly, Calvinism and LS should drive people to despair.
Once someone realizes that his false religion cannot save him, nor keep him saved, he may look to Christ for the answer.
Jackie – Calvinism is exactly what sent Jack Weaver into atheism.
There is always hope ❤
My prayer is that Club or someone else will investigate further.
I wish it weren’t so, but atheism is often the woeful consequence of those who fall deep into reformed thinking and get into all sorts of entanglements with the man made ‘ism’s.’ People in Christendom no longer care about believing the right report or defending the truth of the Gospel. They care to prove that their report is the correct one — in vain, at that. Many have believed John Piper’s report, John MacArthur’s report, James White’s report, John Calvin’s report, Arminius’ report, David Platt’s report, Francis Chan’s report, but how many can truthfully say they’ve believed Isaiah’s report in Isaiah 53? I know many grace brothers and sisters here have, but it’s the majority of Christendom I’m truly worried sick about.
“Club,” Jesus Christ loves you so much and died willingly for your sins. I’m sorry for all of the confusion you encountered in your time as a professing Christian, but I pray that you will sincerely seek the Lord while He may be found. It’s no accident that you found expreacherman.com. The truth of the Gospel will set you free in ways unfathomable, friend. Trust Jesus Christ today for your salvation. Please, friend. Time is running extremely short. Trust Jesus and He will welcome you as a beloved son/daughter into His Kingdom. All of the good you have experienced in this life, which is from the hand of God, will be magnified in the Father’s House. Hell is a place completely absent of all good. You really don’t want to go there. Yes, the Gospel message we preach isn’t very well received, but did Jesus ever say that it would be? Did He not say that the Gospel He preaches would bring division and set family members against each other? Jesus also said that many would not find the way of eternal life. Club, you have received the knowledge of salvation and what you do with this knowledge will have very impacting consequences. Remember that God will more strictly judge those who received the Gospel, but rejected His message altogether. All of my love in Christ to you.
John from his website, seemed whatever brand of supposed Christianity he had learned, it was the ‘ism’ brands.
Holly, “club” seemed to understand a lot about professing Christendom, but not the gospel.
I meant to put this with the comment above.
Sam, that’s a great suggestion!
Let’s start with links to “Understanding Salvation” (parts 1 and 2):
I know that if you dont rightly divide the word of truth 2 tim 2:15 you will run into all kinds of supposed contradictions.I dont know if there are previous articles here on the blog.I know northland baptist church in st cloud mn is doing a series on understanding that would help clubchadenfruede if he is sincere.Just look up there sermons they are really helpful.
John- Club has a lot of misnomer’s on his site about what ‘true Christians’ are and believe. What’s kind of interesting is that a lot of it fits into the legalism of loadship teaching and dominionism. This is what Satan desires, for people to call evil good and good, evil. It doesn’t really matter under the guise of Atheism, Agnosticism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Arminianism, Buddhism, Satanism, Hinduism, Dominionism, which oddly in a way, all follow the rules of loadship. Atheists think they have no rules and no gods, but they are a god unto themselves, their opinion is what is righteous, and they think they control their final destiny. They will find out, like all of the others who have not believed what Christ has done for them, that there is indeed a God, just one, and there was plenty of truth to show them, so they will be without excuse….
clubschadenfreude – Atheist… there will be a day where we’ll find out whether what we believe to be truth (God’s Word) is true and we will be judged by His Word. You had so many misunderstandings in your verses you shared, it would take a desire to know the truth for you to hear. I hope you will prayerfully consider yourself, you have to seek God while He may be found.
You won’t find it in the Presbyterian church, so if you base your ‘Christian’ previous beliefs on predestination and election, being baptized, none of that is the good news.
You might be a very good person in relation to others, but the standard we are judged by is God’s perfect standard. He is a perfect and righteous judge, so nothing will enter where He is without also being perfect and righteous. The only way we can get there is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6), He is the only way.
Your sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59:2) and your good works won’t help either (Isaiah 64:6), and your sin causes death (Rom 3:23), it is appointed unto man, once to die, then the judgment. You may think you go into nothingness, but what a terrible thing to find out differently. That through unbelief, you have rejected the offer of the free gift of eternal life. Jesus laid down His life freely for you, for your sins, He died in your place, and if you do not place your faith upon Christ and His work for you (death and resurrection), you will be eternally separated from God in a place of great torment, sorrow, fear, terror, darkness… everything good will be gone, because all good is from God.
It’s something sobering to think on.
Preston, you may be right. I responded previously to “club” that it wasn’t possible that he used to be a Christian.
He either is a Christian, based on his one-time belief, or he is not, based on having never believed.
club said – Since there are contradictions, it is quite true that this would show that your bible isn’t the magic book as you claims.
ME – but club claimed once being a believer. To me that is interesting. Maybe you are correct, that he/she saw they couldnt live up to the standard (nobody can; that’s the point). or club couldn’t answer an atheist “debate”
Chapter 1 – after 2000 hours of study I WAS confused, the bible SEEMED to contradict itself everywhere.
As a result of this, club could have easily been where i was.
Zappy, nice to meet you. and there are times where i think you are correct. debate and move on. However, i have this “need” to go back and forth for a while with the religious. As a result, you have probably caught more “fish” then me 🙂
I am probably fishing in the wrong place. I have got the correct “bait” (1 Cor 15:1-4) but man, it is slim pickens for me.
Welcome Zappy, and thanks for your comment.
I think that many professing Christians and professing atheists have never heard the gospel, and if they have, it is muddled by man-made add-ons.
Johninnc, I really think you did the right thing in your response to clubschadenfreude by getting to the heart of the matter. Trying to debate every little baseless atheistic argument is pretty much a pointless exercise, as these mischaracterizations are endless.
It is essentially equivalent to the Devil’s chess match where he sends out many little pawns to eat up your time, your energy, and your focus, so he can try and find an opening to attack your king – the king here being your own spiritual growth and your soulwinning efforts – much more important things indeed.
I don’t mean to say that clubschadenfreude is necessarily purposing to do this, but that’s usually the result all the same. Typically, the professed atheist is not looking for the truth as much as they are looking for a fight.
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.
Logical debate can have it’s place, but when eternal destiny is in the balance, it’s not our debating skills that get people saved, rather, it is the *gospel* that is the *power of God* unto salvation.
Excellent article John.
clubschadenfreude, I believe the Bible when it says that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
Accordingly, I will present the gospel to you, according to the Bible.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4:
 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
 For 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:
The article to which you initially responded had a link to a gospel explanation that provides some good additional detail.
Now, what you choose to do with the gospel is up to you.
You used the term “your bible” three times in your most recent comment. You are right – it is my Bible. But, it is for the benefit of all of us. Those who pretend it away are trying to do so in vain.
1 Peter 1:25: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
I am not going to go tit-for-tat with you on any further of your comments, nor will I be publishing them. However, I would like to leave you with some thoughts, based on your most recent comment.
1.You said: I’ve had many Christians claim to have prayed for me to accept what they claim as true. Since I have yet to do so, what does that mean? Does your god like me as I am? Is your god unable to do what you wish? Are you praying in the wrong way? or does your god not exist and your prayer for naught?
My comment: God will not do the believing for you. That is why salvation is by grace, through faith. Whether or not you believe is up to you.
2.You said: I am not wrong that free will rules out eternal security, because if one has free will, one can do anything and that means offend your god so much that salvation is gone.
My comment: How do you know that you are not wrong? Based on what the Bible says, you are wrong. But, you said you don’t believe what the Bible says. So, why would you even have an opinion on the matter?
The Bible says that anyone who has believed in Jesus has eternal life, and that anyone who has not believed in Jesus does not have eternal life.
John 3:18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Believing in Jesus as Savior means believing that who He is and what He has done to secure our salvation are sufficient to GUARANTEE eternal life to the believer. That would rule out being able to offend God so much that salvation is gone.
3.You said: I am not wrong in saying that there are contradictions in the bible. You see, I’ve read the bible cover to cover as a believer and as not.
My comment: Based on your comment under 2, above, your testimony is that you do not believe that eternal life is eternal, nor that salvation is by grace, through faith, apart from works.
clubschadenfreude, I didn’t go looking for you on an atheist site. You came here. Could it be that you believed a false gospel in which you were responsible for keeping yourself saved? Could it be that you realized that you were not capable of keeping yourself saved, and gave up in desperation?
If so, that is great. But, the answer is not to try to pretend God and the Bible away, and decide that you are an atheist. The answer is to accept God’s way of salvation.
I have prayed for you!
I’m glad that you acknowledge that there are many claims for the truth. Now, how do you support yours? I have yet to see anything that does this. Saying I am wrong wrong is one thing, showing it is entirely another.
I am not wrong in saying that there are contradictions in the bible. You see, I’ve read the bible cover to cover as a believer and as not. Let me ask you a few questions:
What did the apostles do after the cruxifiction?
Who was at the tomb first and what did they see?
What did Jesus Christ do after his resurrection?
If there are no contradictions in the bible, there is one answer to each question. Can you give it?
Since there are contradictions, it is quite true that this would show that your bible isn’t the magic book as you claims. Your bible also makes factually wrong claims. it says that the city of Tyre is destroyed and no one can find it or remember it. Considering that a quarter million people live there, and we have active archaeological digs here, that claim is quite untrue.
I am also not wrong in knowing that most Christians don’t agree. I know that you don’t agree with many other Christians. I can see that from your blog and the blogs of other Christians, that you do not agree. You do try to claim that other people aren’t true Christians, but again, cannot show that is the case or that their claims are false. Christians don’t agree with you that everyone has eternal life as soon as they believe and forever after. Not all Christians are sola fide. As I have said, plenty of Christians have blogs and they say that you are wrong. You may deny those blogs existence but that doesn’t make them disappear.
So, john, show me that you have the true gospel. Claiming that anyone who agrees with you has the true gospel is again just what other Christians claim. Alas, it doesn’t do a thing for supporting your claims. If a bunch of humans believe in nonsense, it doesn’t make it true e.g. Santa Clause, tooth fairy, or magic.
So, if your prayers fail, what does that say about your claims? How much time do you need to have your prayers acted on? I’ve had many Christians claim to have prayed for me to accept what they claim as true. Since I have yet to do so, what does that mean? Does your god like me as I am? Is your god unable to do what you wish? Are you praying in the wrong way? or does your god not exist and your prayer for naught?
I am not wrong that free will rules out eternal security, because if one has free will, one can do anything and that means offend your god so much that salvation is gone. As your bible says, one blasphemes the holy spirit, all bets are off. I am willing to entertain that the bible is wrong when it says this. Is it?
clubshadenfreude, I’m glad you at least read my reply.
You are right that there are many competing claims to the truth.
You are wrong that there are contradictions in God’s word, the Bible. If there were, it wouldn’t be God’s word.
You are wrong that most Christians don’t agree that anyone who ever believed in Jesus Christ as Savior has eternal life.
You are wrong that free will rules out eternal security.
You are wrong that I claim that I am the only one who has the true gospel. Anyone who has eternal life has believed the gospel. There is only one.
I have prayed that you would understand and believe the gospel if you have never done that.
Thank you for your reply.
I’ve often been told that I couldn’t possibly have been a Christian. Most use the “no true Scotsman” argument and your “eternal salvation” argument is fairly rare, though I do see you indulge in the fallacy also. I do know that most Christians don’t agree with your version, that everyone who ever believed in JC always has eternal life. Again, it is very hard to know which version of Christianity to believe in, if any at all.
I was a Presbyterian, so I know the claims of predestination. I also know that many Christians claim free will which would go against any claims of “once saved, always saved”. They also cite biblical verses, for example Hebrews 10, and Ezekiel 18 and 1 Corinthians 9 to show that one can certainly lose one’s salvation. We also have verses that certain actions are not forgivable, which would invalidate the idea of “once saved, always saved”.
You claim that you are the only one who has the “true” gospel. Other Christians who disagree with you make the same claims, that they are right and you are wrong. Each Christian wants to claim that those “other” Christian are false and were never true Christians at all. Unfortunately, none of you can show that your versions are better or more true than the next. Christians claim grace only, grace with works, predestination, simple faith that JC is the messiah, etc. We are told that to get be saved one must be baptized in one way or another, to take the bread and wine in one way or another, etc. The bible is not consistent in what its writers claim is the one true way to be saved. The one I always have found curious is that Paul insists that women have to give birth to be saved.
I would question your claim that any gospel is false or true, for example, a false gospel of grace and works. If one is to believe the bible, works are certainly important, to the point of being judged on them per Revelation. Jesus says that one must take care of the least of these, or one is just a “goat”. Paul may indeed disagree, but as I’ve noted, the bible offers many ways and many contradictions. These contradictions and conflicting claims by the bible and Christians, and their enmity to each other was part of the reason I lost my belief. I can remember quite vividly the anti-Catholicism in my youth. The continuing enmity has always struck me as curious and as great evidence that Christianity shouldn’t be considered a major religion by counting those who call themselves Christian.
You claim that those other Christians cite and quote the bible out of context as well as trying to mix God’s word with the teaching of men. They say the same of you on website after website. Everyone says that those others quote the bible “out of context”, but no one can show that their version is the correct one. Christians also claim that atheists quote the bible out of context but again can’t show that their version is the only right one. I’ve found, throughout the years, Christians are just as notorious of quoting out of context as anyone else, especially when it comes to supposed prophecies.
Every sect says that they and only they understand the bible “correctly”. Catholics, the various Orthodox, Lutherans, all of the hundreds of evangelical branches, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, all of the Calvinist branches, the Anabaptist sects, Episcopalians, Anglicans, etc all make the same claims as you do. You all claim that what you insist is true is “clearly taught in scripture”. These competing claims beg the question if they all so supposedly clear, why is there so much contradiction? It is not too hard to point out that they can also say that you must have a pre-existing mindset to be able to reject their claims. It is a similar claim that Christians make about atheists that we simply must already have a mindset that your god doesn’t exist for what else could explain why we don’t believe what you say.
Other Christians claim that they also compare verse with verse. They use the verses I’ve mentioned, just as you use yours. They quote the parable of the sower and the faithful servant, and the merciful king in Matthew 18. They also pray for you to accept their way and that the holy spirit change your mind. To me, it’s like watching two sports team praying that this god will favor them and work against the other.
It does seem that you may have a pre-existing concept that you are looking to support when you say that the three tenets of scripture you claim are clear. As I have noted, every Christian makes that claim that their tenets are clear also; I can find just as many Christian websites that say you are wrong and they are right. As it stands, there is no way to tell what the word of God is since everyone claims a different version. Your pamphlet is just like theirs when they claim that they know the only way to get “saved”. Unfortunately, again, your claims on why to believe you are just like theirs, relying on the bible, relying on what you claim as the truth, and not having any thing else but that.
I have thought that a challenge like Elijah had with opposing priests would be a great way for the varying sects of Christianity to show non-Christians which one was the God-approved one. Most Christians don’t like my suggestion. I’m not quite sure why since JC himself said that asking for evidence was fine and willingly provided it, even though he indicated that believing without evidence was better.
Have a pleasant evening!
Sam, it’s good to hear from you. I agree that a gift that has conditions makes no sense. But, many people are working as hard and as fast as they can to teach false gospels of faith plus works.
clubschadenfreude, welcome! Thank you for your comment. I am so glad you asked.
I will reply in two parts:
First, you are not a “former Christian.” Let me explain what I mean.
The Bible teaches that anyone who believes in Jesus as Savior is immediately, and irrevocably given eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.
John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
The Bible does not guarantee that a believer will keep believing, but the Bible does guarantee that once someone has believed in Christ as Savior, he will never be lost:
2 Timothy 2:13: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
So, if you were ever a Christian, you still are.
However, it is also possible that you believed a false gospel of grace plus works, and therefore never were a Christian. One cannot have eternal life by faith plus works. One is either saved by grace through faith in Christ, or he is trusting in his works to get him to heaven. Trusting in Christ plus good works is the same thing as trusting in works alone. Believing in Christ alone as Savior is the only way to have eternal life.
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.
That brings me to the second part of my answer.
You said: Each uses the same arguments, each cites the bible. How is one to know which sect is correct out of the tens of thousands that exist?
My response: No, each does not use the same arguments. Most cite and quote the Bible out of context, as well as trying to mix God’s word with the teaching of men.
The Bible has some parts that are very difficult to understand. But, the doctrine of eternal salvation by grace through faith in Christ is taught so clearly in scripture, in so many places, that one has to have a pre-existing mindset of salvation through some other means in order to reject it.
Consider, for example, one short passage of four verses, in which the word “gift” appears six times, preceded by the word “free” in three of the uses.
 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
In addition to clearly teaching that eternal salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the Bible also clearly teaches eternal security of the believer, as I pointed out earlier, and assurance of salvation for the believer.
So, how do I determine if something is consistent with God’s word? I compare it with other scripture, I pray for guidance. And, I consider whether an interpretation comports with the following three clear tenets of scripture:
1. Is it consistent with eternal life by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone?
2. Is it consistent with eternal security?
3. Is it consistent with assurance of eternal life, based on God’s promises alone (i.e., it is not internally-focused on changes in attitudes, behavior, etc.)?
And, I try to not elevate the teaching of men to the word of God.
I would encourage you to read the link below:
Click to access the-gospel.pdf
How much faith does it take to be an atheist, is a good question.Another good question would be how much faith does it take to believe Jesus is enough and he purged your sins by himself Heb 1:3. They contradict themselves so clearly calling salvation a gift and then add on conditions that must be kept in order to receive that gift.I really cant see how anyone cant see that makes no sense.I also like Rom 5:10 saved by his life not ours.
As an atheist (and former Christian), I do wonder when Christians claim that their “report” is better than another Christian’s “report”. Each uses the same arguments, each cites the bible. How is one to know which sect is correct out of the tens of thousands that exist?