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