Definition of “pied piper,” according to Merriam Webster:
- one that offers strong but delusive enticement
- a leader who makes irresponsible promises
- a charismatic person who attracts followers
Within the world of professing Christendom, there have always been “pied pipers,” who try to corrupt the gospel of Jesus Christ by adding works into how to receive, keep, or prove one has received eternal life.
These false teachers feed on each other, and have misled countless people with counterfeit gospels.
So, who are some of these “pied pipers”?
Charles Spurgeon, 19th century popular false teacher, dubbed the “prince of preachers.” Following is a sample of his false doctrine:
True conversion is in all men attended by a sense of sin (which have spoken of under the heading of conviction); by a sorrow for sin or holy grief at having committed it; by a hatred of sin, which proves that its dominion is ended; and by a practical turning from sin, which shows that the life within the soul is operating upon the life without.
Paul Washer is a contemporary false teacher who considers himself a “five point Spurgeonist.” Below is but one of Washer’s telling quotes:
However, biblical assurance that a person has passed from death to life finds a basis not merely upon an examination of the moment of conversion but also upon an examination of his or her life from that moment on.
Greg Laurie is a prominent false teacher and Lordship “salvationist,” most noted for hosting the annual SoCal Harvest event.
Laurie includes that following about how one receives eternal life:
To repent means to “change” or to “turn.” It’s like driving down the highway, pulling a U-turn and heading the other direction. More than simply being sorry, it is a word of action. Many people feel remorse for their sin but never truly repent. Remorse is being sorry, repentance is being sorry enough to stop.
Billy Graham, who passed away in 2018, was the foremost name in American “evangelism” for over 50 years.
Following is an excerpt from his book, entitled The Reason for My Hope:
I am afraid that many Christians, in their zeal to share their faith in Christ, have made the Gospel message of making disciples for Him too simple. Just to say “believe in Christ” can produce a false assurance of the hope of Heaven. Jesus spoke often about the gift of eternal life. To make it clear, He said, “Count the cost.”
David Platt is the one time president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) International Missions Board who has been in the news of late for praying for US President Donald Trump.
In the below quote, Platt makes receipt of the free gift of eternal life contingent on “counting the cost.”
What kind of faith are we calling people to? In a day of rampant easy-believism that creates cultural Christians who do not know Christ, who have never counted the cost of following Christ, we must be biblically clear about saving faith, lest any of us lead people down a very dangerous and potentially damning road of spiritual deception.
JD Greear, is president of the SBC. Like the others above, he preaches a false gospel of works.
Following are a couple of choice excerpts from Greear’s false teaching:
Salvation comes by surrendering to Christ s lordship and believing in his finished work, whether or not you pray a prayer asking Jesus into your heart.
Neither the great Baptists of the past nor the Bible describes eternal security as a one-time ritual that produces a guarantee of salvation no matter how you live your life. They described it as the knowledge that if God had started a true work in you, he would complete it. And the way that you show your salvation is genuine is by persevering for the rest of your life.
Persevering in the faith is proof that you have the salvation you could never lose; failing to persevere shows that you never had it to begin with.
John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He is a false teacher of Lordship “salvation.” He is also the namesake for this article.
Following is a telling excerpt of his false doctrine:
Perseverance is the evidence of being born again in Christ, not the means to it.
Each of the above “pied pipers” has tried to add the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works as an essential accompaniment to faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.
In opposition to all of the above false teachers and their minions, God’s word is clear: anyone who has ever believed in Jesus as Savior has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited. No one needs to turn from sin, surrender to Christ’s Lordship, count the cost, or look to his own works or perseverance for evidence of eternal life.
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 implication of Lordship “salvation” is that one must help atone for his own sins. That is an impossibly high price for anyone to pay.
If you have been following a pied piper, and would like to have clarity on how to have eternal life, click here: THE GOSPEL
Bob, as the late Jack Weaver, the founder of this ministry, used to say “the woods is full of ’em.”
Too many are embracing this seducing message of lordship salvation and are deceiving the unaware and unsuspecting infant and adolescent believers!
David B., I love 2 Corinthians 9:15.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17
David B, thanks for your comment.
The truth of the gospel is not preached nearly as often as it’s many false substitutes. We are privileged to have this “oasis of grace” and are happy that you have found it to be a blessing.
Amen and amen ! The gift of God is eternal life thru the shed blood of Jesus and thru HIM alone, apart from human merit. The simple and wonderful truth of God’s ” unspeakable gift ” is so rarely heard from preachers anymore.
Thank you Holly for the encouraging words!
Funny how they try to bring ‘culture’ into it. Something that a lot of Hebrew Roots/Lawkeepers try to do. Tell us we need to have a Hebraic ‘mindset’. As if the Holy Spirit didn’t know the Gentile mind and is somehow unable to deliver clarity to all people. Unstable people, wresting Scriptures to their destruction (and those who hear them).
So sorry, I know it hurts, but glad you guys left.
chas, pecuniary interests are a big part of churchianity.
Whether it’s buildings, salaries, book sales, networking or whatever.
LSers insinuate themselves into everything.
It is so frustrating that so many “teachers” simply cannot teach that salvation is a free gift without trying to qualify it in some way. They just HAFTA tack on some kind of hook to obligate people, to make people think that they are obligated to at least promise some kind of return to God in order to receive a gift that carries no obligation. I’m beginning to wonder if it goes along with having “church property” to maintain.
Meanwhile, my search for a truly free grace church in SoCal goes on, as fruitless as ever.
Thank you Johninnc and PhilR!
One more thing J WI: Paul has this say about those who in any way add our works as necessary to the salvation equation. “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3: 1-3) Paul goes on through the rest of this chapter 3 as well as chapter 2 of Galatians,
You did the right thing John WI in leaving this church. It sound like the faith plus works subtleties that I was hearing that added up to LS I heard in my old former church I left. Pastors will use a verse or just a word from the Bible, take it out of context, and twist it into some sort of doctrine trying to make better people out of their flock by guilt tripping them. This happens a lot; they do scripture twisting thinking the end justifies the means. They try to get you to look at yourself instead of to the Lord and what all He has done for you. Salvation is ALL of Christ and none of our works. So it doesn’t really matter what some obscure ancient cultural definition of “gift” this pastor conjures up.
JohnWI, thanks for sharing.
The old “gift means something different to the original audience canard.”
If that were the case, then all of our english and other western translations would be for nought.
You were wise to leave this church.
I am updating you all, that we have decided to leave our church finally. After this new pastor took over, there have been many red flags go up. We haven’t been there for church, in about a month, but have been listening to his sermons, going through Ephesians, just to cement our decision. Here is a snippet of his sermon on Ephesians 2:10. He mixes in some truths that I can agree with, but then twist the main point, that salvation is a free gift. Sorry this is so long, but I had to get this off my chest.
(I have interspersed my comments in parenthesis.)
Works are not a means of gaining salvation or merit from God. We just saw that. We saw how huge of a point Paul made of that. It is not of us, we did nothing to deserve it, right, it is not of works. So we find ourselves here after all that, after all those 9 verses, and we look at verse 10. We can’t deny that verse 10 is there.
And yet how can the gift be free if we have to do something after we receive it, right? (We SHOULD walk in good works, after we’re saved, that’s his plan for our lives, but we don’t HAVE to. If we have to, it’s a bilateral contract.) How do those two things jive? In our western mindset often times, a free gift means there is no obligation on behalf of the one receiving it, right, the recipient. How ever in the mediterranean, honor, shame, community based culture, a free gift means that it’s free in the giving, free in the giving, but in the receiving, there is an understood obligation, or an understood response of being in a relationship with the giver. (See how they twist things. You mean to tell me, if someone in that culture gives a free gift to someone of a million dollars worth of gold, it didn’t cost the giver anything and the recipient is obligated to him, that’s nonsense.)The free gift opens the door to relationship. In that culture I would never think of receiving a gift, and then never having contact with the person that gave it to me. That’s unheard of! You don’t do that! The gift was to open the door to relationship. In writing this letter to the Ephesians, Paul assumes the culture, and so when he introduces this idea of being created for good works. To him and them it’s only a natural response to a free gift. So our good works are a response to a free gift of grace and salvation, that we receive from Jesus.
When God made the church, He already determined what the work of the church was going to do. He has the right, as our creator to do so, and there is no question in His mind as to what we are created for, good works. He gave us a free gift, and the only proper response is to follow through with what was intended in the giving of the gift. Good works reveal our relationship with God,(So the Mormons, Catholics, Buddhists, etc., good works prove their relationship with God? I don’t think so!) good works honors God, and the free gift of grace,(The free gift is eternal life, by grace, to those who believe the gospel.) that he has given to us. We bestow honor on God as we respond in good works.
I am so sorry, I know how this affects us all. I don’t like being suspicious, but so tired of these men leading people to the wolves, and it happens so often in these last days.
I want to tell you if you ask him, you will likely face doubletalk, you can probably expect it. In most of my experiences, they were nice, and then condescending, and the tactics reminded me of someone using psychology with me with their terminology. Like they were trained to answer naysayers this way. And in the end, most of them gave me the purpose driven church speech. (“If you don’t like it you can find another church”).
Somehow at one time I got added to a Calvinist group, and I didn’t pay much attention to it, now and then I’d read. Then I began to realize it was all Calvinists and it wasn’t really a debate. There was a conversation from pastors who discussed how to introduce their flock to TULIP without being really obvious. They discussed not using words like ‘reformed’, ‘Calvinist’ etc. and not to outwardly admit it. Really distressful to see such open deception, and they being seemingly oblivious to the fact they were lying to their flock.
They will tell you that they believe faith is the gift if you ask. They will often deny this means that God would have to pre-choose people to hell with no choice. This is what they believe whether they admit it or not. My teacher danced around it, or was unsure herself, until the last night and several new ladies came in and were arguing that faith was the gift. They were quite condescending, laughing, and saying, of COURSE faith is the gift, what makes you think it is not?
So of course I told them multiple reasons and she passed over me to ask another, and thankfully that person also disagreed with them, and it was someone she respected (I already had the ‘troublemaker’ reputation). I had gone to the pastor about his quoting of Rick Warren, Paul Yonggi Cho, Brennan Manning and Eugene Peterson. He passed me off to the Asst pastor who was ‘friends’ with Rick Warren. I asked to speak to the elders, but that never happened, and since one of them was Wayne Grudem and another was a guy who endorses the Mess-Age new age occult paraphrase, it was likely never going to transpire.
At any rate, I feel badly as I know I helped some in that church, but it was time to go. So sorry and pray the Lord will guide you in your decisions.
John WI, exactly.
Ah yes, good point! And then they look to their performance to see if there is proof that they are one of the Elect. If not, better work harder!
JohnWI, yes! Believers are the elect because they have accepted God’s free gift of eternal life through faith.
Calvinists have not only messed up the order, they’ve changed it to “by grace are ye saved through grace,” thereby eliminating mankind from any responsibility.
We are thee Elect BECAUSE we have believed!
As I am looking up the statement of faith, of some of these people that our new pastor is quoting,(calvanist) what I’ve noticed is they use all the same words that we use, (saved by faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone) & (they call themselves believers) it’s just they mix up the order. According to their gospel, the Elect are regenerated, then they believe. The thought that came into my mind is: According to them, they believe BECAUSE they are Elected, but WE who have believed the Gospel (open invitation to everyone) are thee Elect, with all the blessings associate with that.
JohnWI, I have prayed for you to have wisdom and discernment in this situation.
My wife and I had intended to speak to the pastors at an EFCA church we attended for awhile about their views on grace. But, we decided that after having listened to numerous sermons, that if we couldn’t tell what their views were it was a bad sign.
I wanted to give you an update on our new pastor situation. More red flags are going up with his going through Ephesians. So far he has quoted three authors: G.K. Chesterton, Os Guinness, and Richard Coekin. I looked all 3 of them up. Chesterton is a catholic, I am not sure what Guinness is and Coekin is definitely a calvinist. All 3 are from England and we know how rampant calvinisim and catholism is there. I was considering Holly’s recommendation and asking him the question, how many of the tenets of tulip does he adhere to, but at this point I don’t think I am going to talk to him, because it’s beginning to be more clear, from the books he is reading and quoting from. We may give it a few more weeks and then make up our minds what we are going to do.
John WI, sounds like he took lessons from JMac. Especially on the ‘tension’ between God’s Sovereignty (or omnipotence) vs. His grace which flow perfectly together. The reason a lot can’t reconcile it is because they paint a different picture of God’s character than the Bible does.
Praying for you, it might cut to the chase to ask him outright how many of the points of Tulip does he adhere to.
Mary, here are a few thoughts. Since the church is being spoken to, I believe the warning there can be seen to the church as a whole. A potential judgment on this side of heaven, regarding their candlestick/lampstand, which I believe is their standing or witness to the world as a church. Some I believe see it as a dissolving of the church if the church doesn’t get it right. We kind of see that example today with so many churches falling apart with bad doctrine and also because of carnal behavior.
Thank you John!
JohnWI, I have prayed for you to have discernment in evaluating this pastor’s doctrine.
So, our new pastor took over last Sunday, at our church, and already the red flags are going up. First off, he is using the ESV version of the bible, secondly he is using the term Christ followers, which just because a person is a follower doens’t necessarily mean they have trusted alone in Jesus as their Savior, and third he is going through Ephesians and already he is talking about tensions between God’s sovereignty and grace. Hoping I am just being hyper sensitive to this and it pans out to be nothing. We will see.
I think that in Rev. 2 and 3 Christ is addressing patterns or trends of particular churches, not individuals. An example would be the lukewarm Laodicean Church in Rev. 3. These churches are called to repent, to change their minds and see their wrongs or Christ will remove rewards.
Mary, I have seen this passage explained by various grace expositors as having to do with some form of temporal judgement – perhaps removal of the pastor of the congregation.
We know it can’t have anything to do with loss of eternal life, since eternal life is eternal.
Hi you guys have probably covered the Revelation 2.5 I will remove your lampstand, which legalistic works salvationists make this a passage that if they sin god will remove the holy spirit, can you direct me to the correct interpretation from past posts please.
Leigh – great news, I hadn’t gone to the prayer requests link yet to look, thank you.
Phil, yes, familiar with that concerning Feldick on the backloading part along with misrepresentation of many Scriptures and not understanding the true meaning of repent. If they did they wouldn’t need to hyper divide the Scriptures.
I did not know Stone was Church of God but I did know he was a false teacher for many other reasons and things I’ve heard over the years.
I honestly feel so much for those who are listening to these tv preachers or youtube preachers and they don’t check out their Statement of faith or even their gospel first. They haven’t been taught, or don’t remember to check the Scriptures against what these charlatans are claiming.
Leigh, thanks for the update.
I am thankful that God has healed Chloe and I have prayed that Chloe and her family would have peace and rest.
I left a comment on the last blog post asking for prayers for a little girl I know, Chloe. I just wanted to give an update. Chloe is doing well. Thank you to everyone who saw my post and prayed for her. ((HUGS))
Phil, you are right to warn others about bother of these guys.
Les Feldick is back-door LS and it sounds like Perry Stone is an unabashed works “salvationist.”
Both forms of teaching are an affront to the gospel.
Holly, the biggest red flag about Les Feldick and his TV Bible studies is that he will say that all you have to do is believe the gospel, Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection for out sins to be saved, and then later say that “good works will just naturally happen after you are saved.” Or, he has said that if a person continues in sin and doesn’t change he doubts the person was ever saved in the first place.
Also, Feldick’s misinterprets “repent” in the usual popular way where the work signifies a process of forsaking sins and turning to righteous living, not just simply changing ones mind, which is the correct definition.
Another kind of control freak “piper” I would caution against is Perry Stone who has regular TV shows on prophecy. He is Church of God, Cleveland TN, a holiness sect. Stone has said unequivocally that salvation requires repentance and works.
I think is important to warn people who come here to this site and have become confused, worried, and anxious by burdensome faith/works teachers to warn them of false teachers and point them to the truths of Scripture.
It does frighten me for them. I try to keep calm and try to make sure I am careful in my wording. I ask them questions and point out Scriptures. Something I’ve learned is that every now and then there is one who will hear, or one that is lurking reading (my favorite people). But more often than not, they become enraged. And suggest you just want to hold on to your sin. Of course they suggest they’ve stopped sinning.
I’ve found fairly good success at that point asking them if they’re married 🙂 I just send them to their wife to get the answer as to whether or not they’ve stopped sinning.
The really sad part is, they are very hateful, and they miss that (as they claim to be doing good works). And I always think of 2 Thess 1:6-10, makes it easier for me to try to answer in the manner of Col 4:5-6, because it is very likely they are not saved, and if they were, they are carnal and need the Word and saved from out of their bondage.
I am SO glad you brought up Les Feldick. A family member recommended I have my daughters listen to him. I’m instantly suspicious of any TV teacher or preacher, but I thought I could at least listen myself to one, and then check things out if he sounded sound.
The first thing I noticed about him was his subtle flattery.
Things like: “A sincere student of the word is going to understand what I’m about to say”.
The second thing was him saying Paul never told anyone to repent. I knew that to be false instantly and I had been reading in Acts and the first thing that came to mind was Mar’s hill (Acts 17).
Then he said something about how we don’t have to ‘beg for forgiveness’. And it had something to do with 1 John 1:9.
It was only a half hour show, and he had people hopping around to different Scriptures, so oftentimes people get excited thinking they’re getting lots of Bible in, but I’ve learned, write down the Scriptures, take time to examine them in context.
I don’t want to make this too long, but I did lots of research on him back then and started to see some of the mistakes of hyperdispensationalism. And lack of accountability with other believers who will hold you accountable. I told my family member the things I had found and she said she had never heard him say that, and ‘just listen to another one’ and other such things.
To THIS DAY (and it has to be a minimum of 15 years since the first recommendation, she’ll say, “I know you don’t like Les Feldick but….”
Mary, they really do band together, and use their false teachers’ dogma as if it is scripture.
Yes I think most are false converts out there, and when you show them that they are under a false gospel, they just ring all the other false converts including false shepherds and just reinforce each other in their error, living in really sad times.
Dan, it is sad, but true that many people who identify as Christians have never trusted in Christ alone as Savior.
Listening to these false teachers will likely just reinforce what they already believe.
False converts. Desperately clinging to their works and their wrong interpretation of James 2:14 for their Salvation.
Holly, Les Feldick comes to mind double talking.
Phil – I agree with you and John about steering clear of teachers who claim grace but backload the gospel too. Double talking, double minded men who are unstable in all their ways.
I thank God with you for this site and you all 🙂
Rob, your sins were already forgiven positionally. All of them on the cross (Col 2:13-15; Acts 13:38-39). That part is done, we were perfected forever by that one sacrifice (Heb 10:10,14).
Praying you’ll see the difference. I think the practical forgiveness is for us, because we tend to hide when we sin, it’s our nature. I’m not sure that most sins aren’t ‘willful’. People often misuse that from Hebrews. I think when I faced the fact I am going to sin until I die, and be willing to let God clean my feet (John 13). Knowing I’m already clean, but my feet still are going to get dirty walking through this world whether I run through a pile of mud or just the dust of day to day, well, it made it easier for me to deal with the wanting to give up.
Praying you might just be able to keep giving it to Him and asking Him to help with those thoughts.
Rob, I don’t think it is likely that someone would be trying to believe something they know isn’t true.
The world (and our flesh) bombards us with false messages to try to take our eyes off of Christ and put them back on ourselves.
I think a lot of people can identify with thinking they don’t “measure up” to some non-defined standard of what a “true Christian” is. The good news is that we don’t have to “measure up” to have eternal life.
Every sin I have ever committed happened after Jesus died for me. He knew every sin I would ever commit before He died for me. He died for me because He loves me.
If He forgives any of my sins, He forgives all of them. The same is true for all believers.
Thank you Holly and John for your replies and prayers. I will hold on. I won’t really, I’ll get discouraged and angry, throw my hands up and declare that I’m through with God, then I’ll come back days later. At least that’s been the pattern for the last few years. I think I have what some call “scrupulosity,” which is OCD manifesting in religious contexts. I am a very introspective person, so even without being too aware I find myself constantly scanning my thoughts and feelings, seeing that I fall short of what I think a “true Christian” is, I fall into despair.
And like I said, I look within to make sure that I do believe, but maybe that’s me trying to put my faith in my faith, which is certainly the wrong place. I just get so discouraged at myself. I don’t get along well in this world and it shows in my attitudes, actions and speech. It seems wrong for God to forgive me when I sin the same sins over and over, willfully.
Jason, there are people who will try to back into works being required for eternal life using all sorts of arguments. And, you’re right – they don’t like people trying to dissuade them with the truth.
I have heard people tell that a Christian is under the law of Christ, implying that the abolition of the law of Moses does not exempt me from works for salvation. When I point out the sheer nonsense, they demand that I explain other verses, and when I insist on the plain and simple, they block me.
Rob, I’m with John. Don’t ‘try’ anymore, Just ask God to help you. And just rest a little and just do what John 8:31-32 asks. That truth will set you free.
No, one doesn’t have to be SURE one has faith. It isn’t of our strength. We believe God’s testimony and He saves, but guess what?
People were led astray (see 2 Tim 2 and 1 Cor 15 and Galatians) by other trying to tell them they weren’t saved, or the resurrection wasn’t going to happen, or had already taken place, blah, blah blah, and guess what? They doubted?
We don’t believe by mustering up belief, but by knowing what the truth is. And this is why believers over and over needed reminded of the truth so they could keep believing, NOT so they could stay saved by continuing to believe (have faith).
Plenty didn’t continue in belief, but don’t walk away from the one place where your faith will be strengthened. (Ps 119:25,28).
Keep enduring by just spending time in His Word and prayer, even if it’s just a little a day.
I second what John has said, Alice.
Watch out and steer clear of these teachers who say they are grace only, but will tell you that “good works in your life will just naturally come after you are saved.” They are double talking faith plus works teachers.
Alice, no honest person could ever have assurance by looking at their behavior for evidence of eternal life.
Satan wants to keep people who have never believed in Christ as Savior from trusting in Him alone. And, he wants to get those who have believed in Jesus as Savior to turn their eyes away from Christ and back onto themselves for assurance.
I am thankful to know that you are no longer listening to those who would have you looking away from Christ for assurance!
Thanks Johninnc and Holly for your responses. I thank the Lord for this website which has strengthened my faith in Christ and clarified so many Bible verses that I had previously misinterpreted as an LS-er.
Looking back through my years in LS, I probably was a ‘false convert’ but not for the reasons stated by Paul Washer and others when they pointed their guilty finger at me telling me that I was a false convert because I still sinned in my life and didn’t achieve the sinless-perfection they apparently have arrived at, but because I don’t think I ever trusted only in the finished work of Jesus Christ through His death, burial and resurrection alone for my salvation, but I was also adding my ‘good works’ and my behavioural / lifestyle changes as proof or even requirement for my salvation.
To some degree I was looking at my performance to give myself assurance of salvation because they kept insisting that ‘faith without works is dead’, and ‘you shall know them by their fruit’ and ‘examine yourself if you are in the faith’. They are all Bible verses for sure, but they taught me the wrong way of interpreting them. Effectively, I was nullifying and frustrating God’s grace and believed in a false gospel of faith + works, because I had taken my eyes away from the finished work of redemption on the Cross of Jesus Christ, instead I began looking at my performance and introspection of my behaviour to re-assure myself that I was saved.
Surely if I had died as an LS-er and stood before the LORD at the gates of heaven and if asked why I should be allowed into heaven, I would have presented Jesus all the good works in my life as proof / evidence of my salvation. Sadly and shockingly I would have heard the horrible words from Jesus, ‘sorry, I never knew you. depart from Me’!
Thank you Lord for opening my eyes to the fact that You did it all, and I am trusting in you alone, not my good works to get me to heaven.
Rob, I have prayed for you.
Some believers have doubts, some more than others. Some have very few, or none. It is not the quality of our faith that saves us, it is the object – Jesus Christ. We do not have to come to the point that we know we will never have any doubts again in order to be saved. If a believer has doubts, the last thing that will help is trying to believe harder.
When you are experiencing doubts about whether you’ve ever actually believed, asking yourself if you are sure may only cause more doubt.
The Bible promises eternal life to anyone who believes in Jesus as his Savior. It does not promise that believers will never have doubts.
For some believers, doubt may never be an issue. For others, the absence of doubt will be one of the greatest treasures in Heaven.
Thank you John and Holly, but after thirty years, I’ve had it. I try to believe, but I know in my heart that doubt has the upper hand. Not that I’m doubting the facts of the Gospel, but my own faith (and one must be sure that he has faith). I just don’t have the strength anymore to even try.
Alice – your story could be mine and many people I know. I thought I was pretty good, but I had no assurance because I just had allowed (or been introduced to) so many wolves in my life like MacArthur, Sproul, Spurgeon, Washer, Comfort(less) and other load-shippers.
What was the gospel? At that point I didn’t even know any more because it was counting the cost, and bearing my cross, and repenting from sin, and asking for forgiveness, and confessing Him in front of others…Calgon take me away.
I gave up — my Bible got dusty and my Bible wasn’t the issue, it was the hundreds upon hundreds of books and commentaries and just sheer accursed garbage by wolves.
Little by little I started on His Word alone apart from anyone, and yet people still tried to get me to listen to these guys, but by that time, without knowing ‘quite’ what the errors were, I knew they didn’t sound right. When my husband was diagnosed in 2002, people were giving me books by Brennan Manning, C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, Beth Moore, and I even had TWO Purpose Driven books. I couldn’t do it any more. I got so much out of the Word when I tried to read or look at that junk, it just wasn’t for me. Then I began to findout why when I started saying I didn’t like listening to this or that person and people wanted to know why, so I took what they said and went to the Bible to see if that was what the Bible said.
All I can say is thank God for His Word and for His patience, and for Him saving me out of that confusion.
Chas, I know what you’re saying. Ardent LSers like MacArthur make less ardent LSers seem more reasonable by comparison.
Anyone who has ever believed in Jesus as Savior has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited. Saying “I believe in eternal security. Period” is where one should leave it.
I sometimes wonder which is worse; plain-talking LS teachers like JMac who leave no doubt as to where they stand, or people who appear at first to be teaching free grace but then add “qualifiers” to their message. I think I’ve mentioned before how I was confused for years by Chuck Smith’s 2-sided quips like “I believe in Eternal Security. As long as I abide in Christ, I am eternally secure.” Word games like that robbed me of any real assurance until I understood enough of Scripture to see through such nonsense. Unfortunately, it took a long time to get here.
Alice, I am so thankful that we don’t have to look to our performance for evidence of eternal life!
It seems as if the false teachers that you mentioned are nothing but accusers.
We could never pass a test of perfection by looking at our lives.
In most of my ‘Christian’ life as a Lord-shipper for about 20+ years, I fluctuated from having eternal security some of the time and other times doubting if I was saved at all looking at my behaviour/ conduct.
I had eternal security some times, being fully persuaded that I was saved because I not only trusted in Christ but I also had ‘enough’ evidence in my life to prove that I was saved: I read and studied my Bible everyday, I prayed to God everyday, I was being a faithful and loyal wife and mother, I taught my children the Word of God, I served in the Church in various capacities over time, I led a Bible-study group, I was a good Christian friend to those who needed encouragement and help, I donated money to various charities, I gave money to the Church and so on. On the other hand, at times I had no assurance of salvation at all because I still sinned in my thoughts, words and actions daily which left me wondering if I was a ‘true’ Christian after all. How could a genuine born-again Christian behave the way that I did?
Seriously, listening to John MacArthur, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer and others like them and reading their books left me feeling that I was one of those ‘false converts’ because I was still sinning in a million ways! 1 John 3 :9 really bothered me because according to that verse no one who is born-again can sin:” Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God”.
Now that I understand the Grace of God and the Gospel of Christ, I understand that verse is not talking about salvation but the ‘new nature’ in Christ, where we can-not sin, but in our old sin nature which we still possess until physical death/ rapture, we still sin even as believers and can be quite carnal at times, but that doesn’t mean we are not saved! Praise the LORD!
Luke, I think someone who believes in eternal security, yet thinks that someone who practices “habitual sin” is going to hell have probably concluded that such person was never saved to begin with.
So, they may believe in eternal security, but ultimately are holding to salvation by works.
Have you all noticed also that most of the folks who say they believe in the eternal security of the believer really dont. Ive heard pastors say they believe in eternal security then in the same sermon say if you ‘shack up’ youre going to Hell. So much confusion abounds.
Phil, I am thankful for this site as well, and all who come here.
It is great to have fellowship with likeminded believers in God’s gracious gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus and to be able to proclaim the gospel clearly to those who have become confused or those who are searching.
I am thankful to God for this site, for His free gift of saving grace, and for the fellowship we have here with believers who know they have received eternal life simply by believing the gospel of salvation and know that is all God requires is that a person trust that Christ has saved them.
To LukeNC: I agree as well.
Luke, I agree!
It is LS that is rampant.
“In a day of rampant easy-believism” — this seems to be a very common charge from the LS-ers. But I’m like, where are all of these easy-believism preachers? They are very few and far between. I see rampant lordship salvation, not easy-believism.
Holly, I read quite a few of the comments to a Fox News opinion piece about President Trump’s Visit to David Platt’s “church.”
I didn’t find a single commenter who had any issue with Platt’s false gospel.
We’ve always seen that the false teachers will take some truth and twist it. They call themselves ‘church’ when many of them have never believed the gospel and they call themselves ‘Shepherds’ when He did not send them (Jer 23). But I’m reminded even the enemy knew how to twist Scripture. And we were warned these last days are perilous times.
Jason, I agree that false teaching is rampant and that many religious “leaders” are deceivers who are coalescing.
I see where Angela is coming from. The deception is everywhere. The heretics have become birds of a feather. Our third world brethren call them fake pastors. They are the NAR. Even IFBs borrow NAR doctrines such as Jesus went to hell. Romans Road can be traced to Finney, who was an NAR precursor. Some NAR churches have female pastors, while others defend wife abuse. They divide and conquer. They promote Chrislam.
What happens when one breaks free of NAR? They seek refuge in Reformed churches, where the pastor is condemning the NAR and at the same time hanging out with them. They flee that and think Baptists have it. Then Andirtson torments them. Then they run to Jack Smack and experience his railing. Then Wilkin’s promise only gospel misleads them.
If they are in Australia, their experience is similar. If they are in Brazil, they are surrounded by Catholicism. Ironically, that makes it much easier for them to assess their situation. If they are in Africa, all they know is fake pastors. When they leave, they are unchurched, like many of us, and the lordship confusion ebbs away. They see religious and political leaders as extremely similar. Fake pastors support a speechless, feminized, muslim president who supports terrorists. They think they will get a sweetheart deal. It’s Chrislam. It’s our tithe dollars at work. It’s extremely close to the Mark. Yesterday, I watched a new video about malaria.
Rob, don’t give up. Faith comes by hearing the Word and I think a lack of faith comes by hearing errant teachers or just not spending time with the Lord in the Word.
The Word was written ahead of time for our comfort, for hope (Rom 15:4).
Choose the good part, the needed thing (Luke 10:38-42). Praying for you to be encouraged.
Angela, we are glad you like out article.
Regarding your side note, we respectfully disagree and we will not entertain further discussion or allow further comments comments along these lines.
Very helpful article….the deception is pervasive for sure!
johninnc….. just as a side note, research the roots of dispensational thought, while the Calvinist view of salvation is wrong, that does not mean that the doctrine of dispensation, especially with regards to eschatology is biblical because it is not.
Rob, you said: “If Christ paid for my sins, shouldn’t that be enough?”
If someone comes to a moment that they believe that’s enough for them, then they have eternal life. Conversely, if someone never comes to a point of believing that’s enough for them, then they don’t have eternal life.
It is not uncommon for believers to have doubts, and even in the sad case of a believer’s faith not enduring, they still have eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.
You may like a recent article by Holly Garcia, linked below:
Mary, yeah, we’ve discussed Steve Anderson in the past. I don’t listen to him, and don’t recommend him.
I’m fortunate enough to be married to a likeminded believer and to have a likeminded couple nearby with whom we can meet, but I agree with what you are saying.
https://youtu.be/KPEnt6dXCwY On a lighter note with all the depressing things around us, I found this really funny, once shaved always shaved by Grace.
I was checking out exactly what Pastor Steve Anderson believes, he is not a dispensationalist to my surprise because from what I can gather he does get the gospel correct but he is into pre-wrath and he is not a pre-tribber, he is so harsh and shows hatred for the gay people rather than loving them and giving them the gospel, apparently he kicks them out of the church and says god has already given them over. Another pastor an Indian guy if i am correct goes by the name of Afshin Yagtin, does some good sermons and now after a lot of years gets the gospel correct, he learnt a lot from Anderson and is also calling dispensationalists heretics. Anderson claims hes an infiltrator, who knows. They are at war with each other, I still believe if your not a dispensationalist your eschatology and scripture will not make any sense, you can’t possibly divide the word of god correctly.
I cannot find any pastors out there that have the correct gospel, I am starting to believe most are not saved and some are and just confused on the gospel of Grace.
We are really living in dark times, I just wonder how bad it has to get for the Lord Jesus to come back.
For Lordshipppers its easy to find a church and a wife or a husband, whereas people who get the Grace gospel are finding it hard just to find another like minded Christian let alone a partner.
I’ve given up. Decades of seeking assurance, and now I don’t even think I have faith anymore. If Christ paid for my sins, shouldn’t that be enough? Why is it so important that I believe (and know that I believe)? I can’t do this anymore.
Phil, you could be right. I think some of them do it to try to keep people in line, others for leadership positions within apostate organizations such as the SBC, and others because they know LS “sells.”
The reason it “sells” it because it appeals to many peoples’ pre-existing belief that they can help save themselves.
I think that this teaching is so rampant, though, that I fear that some of them may also have never believed the gospel.
Of course, corrupting the gospel is abominable, no matter the motive.
My wife, when we were dating many years ago, told me about her first husband and all his womanizing. She also told me he claimed to have accept Christ as Savior and would always be saved no matter what. At the time both of us scoffed at this saying a person can’t expect to be saved and live like the devil. Of course later I learned I was wrong about this.
I think that some of these LS pipers really know the simplicity of simply believing the gospel that Christ alone saves, but they are afraid to let it be known that simply accepting Christ for salvation, that it would bring ridicule on them and also they are afraid that people who simply believe will use it for a license to sin. They also believe their church is there to keep their flock towing the line and “accountable”. I really have trouble seeing how these LS pipers could possibly miss that Christ has done and completely finished all of our salvation for us. Just reading the epistles the free gift of salvation just smacks the reader in the face.
So, my conclusion is that at least some of the loadshippers actually do see that eternal salvation is solely by grace thru faith alone in Christ alone plus nothing. But they think they have to add on to this to keep people in line.
Shawn, dispensational teaching is very important, and helps to avoid many of the errors associated with Calvinist/reformed theology.
Just to be clear, eternal life has always been received by faith, without works, no matter what the dispensation.
Romans 4:5: But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
The passage to which you refer in John 12, particularly verse 25, seems to confuse a lot of people. The context is Jesus talking about the necessity of His dying so that others could have eternal life in verse 24. And, in verse 27, He says His soul is troubled by what He must do. In verse 28, God says that Jesus’ sacrifice will glorify God’s name.
Similarly, those who faithfully serve and follow Jesus glorify God, and will be honored for that.
In any case, I would say that serving Jesus is a work, and cannot be a requirement for receiving, keeping, or proving that one has received eternal life. Verse 26 mentions being honored by God, not receiving eternal life.
I was thinking this morning that Dispensational teaching seems to be the crux of the matter…I was reading in John chapter 12 where they approached Jesus about some Greeks who wanted to speak to Jesus. It seems that they were there for the passover festival so they were Gentile followers of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Paul was the apostle of the Gentiles. Jesus discourse in light of the Greeks request, spoke of serving and following Him and being prepared to lose their lives…
Serving Christ is a work???
This was I guess a different dispensation.
Steve, John MacArthur would definitely be on the list.
I know there are many more that could be on this list and it’s ok to name names because The Apostle Paul did. Wouldn’t John MacArthur be here also? Thank you
RAS, with all due respect, what causes so much confusion with these guys is that they try to add works to the gospel. If 2 Corinthians 13:5 hadn’t been written, I think they still would try to add works to the gospel.
It just struck me that the phrase “in the faith” is really what causes so much confusion. 2 Corinthians 13:5 uses that phrase and these pied pipers use it to created doubt about having been (past tense) saved. It’s not talking about that at all as verse 3 makes clear with the phrase “Christ (speaking) in me”. This is the same context as Galatians 4:19 where Paul tells the foolish Galatians that he labors in birth again until Christ be formed in them.
RAS, like you, I know I can’t judge whether any of these guys (or anyone else) has eternal life. I am able determine that they add works to the gospel.
As such, they should be marked and avoided.
Jerry hopes that these pipers are “in the faith” when all evidence is that they are not. I am not judging whether they have everlasting life, I am judging whether they are “in the faith”. With JMac and J Piper it’s not hard. Both are very pious but neither has faith that they are of the elect and only the elect as they define will be (future tense) saved. This is because they understand the word salvation to mean only one thing i.e. receiving everlasting life. JMac is a little more clever and way more confusing on this issue as he has Dispy leanings while Piper right out makes a distinction (with no real distinction) about the same salvation being now and later finalized.
If they were “in the faith” they no longer there in my judgment: They are no more “in the faith” then a person who has received everlasting life (is saved) and yet steals, cheats and robs to make a living. They have taken the mantle of teachers and will be judged accordingly, if they ever were “in the faith”.
Shawn, yes. Many, if not most of the “church leaders” are false teachers.
I included Spurgeon, to make the point that it isn’t new (both Holly’s and Phil’s earliest comments point out that such false teaching was evident and referenced in scripture by both Jesus and the Apostle Paul).
I’m still so struggling to see the forest from the trees. So many of the Christian leaders are false teachers?
jason, you bring up a good point. Once you take away the gospel, which is priceless, you are left with religion, which is worthless.
They remove grace from the Bible and are left with a Qur’an.
Phil, I see lots of similarities.
These guys are under God’s curse as long as they teach their false gospels.
I wonder if the “pipers” mentioned above were dressed up like the Pharisee pipers of Matt 23, if Jesus would have been pronouncing the same series of “Whoe’s” upon them. Or similarities with the faith plus works legalizers in Galatians with their corrupted gospel. See any similarities?
Jerry, I hope so, too. But, their false teaching that undermines the gospel means they are to be marked and avoided.
I’m sure these guys are in the faith (I hope so, at least) but really, its like we have separate religions based on the same text. So frustrating to read and hear error being taught as the truth.
Holly, I think that verse is very applicable to some of these guys. Their fruits are false doctrine and deceived followers.
LD, totally agree with you, such a great deception!
John, great article! Several of us have had some conversations over some of these false teachers recently, but I’ll keep the comments shorter than I typically do 🙂
One thing that a lot of followers of these people have in common is that they absolutely think they cannot be fooled. I always think to Acts 20:25-32, and remember the elders are the ones being warned about these wolves who drawing away disciples/followers after themselves. Timothy a young pastor was warned to take heed to the doctrine saving both himself and his hearers (1 Tim 416), but these people think they cannot be deceived.
Sometimes these followers remind me of this verse:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” Matt 23:15
LD, I’m glad you like the article. I keep noticing some of these deceivers in the news and I am hopeful that people will compare what they say to what God says about how to have eternal life.
Amen! This is truly a great deception. The way the pied pipers toot one thing and, in the same sentence, toot something else contrary as to make it sound good. Once again, great article! 🙂