Author Archives: johninnc

Lordship Salvation: Spiritual Wickedness in High Places

By johninnc

Ephesians 6:12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

From “The Billy Graham Library” August 1, 2012

We have just unveiled a new exhibit at the Billy Graham Library called “Billy Graham: God’s Ambassador to World Leaders.” It showcases Billy Graham’s relationships with United States presidents, as well as other heads of state and world leaders.

“When a President of the United States wept in my presence, or knelt with me to pray, or privately unburdened his concerns about his family,” Billy Graham once said, “I was not thinking about his political philosophy or his personality, but about his need for God’s help.”…

In the exhibit, informative panels share intimate stories of Billy Graham’s meetings with U.S. presidents, from President Truman to President Obama, in addition to encounters with world leaders such as Queen Elizabeth, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sir Winston Churchill and more.

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Billy Graham was proclaimed “God’s Ambassador to World Leaders” by none other than his own Library. Graham became an instant celebrity in 1949 when publisher William Randolph Hearst told his minions to “puff” Graham. Just like today, the press helped make celebrities out of false gospel teachers.

Billy Graham taught, like so many today, the false gospel of Lordship “salvation,” which at its core is salvation by man’s works. Please see below for more information:

Lordship Salvation Defined

Billy Graham: King of Lordship “Salvation’s” False Gospel!

Lordship Salvation’s Billy Graham Sets Trap

I find it incredibly hard to believe that God would have led Presidents and other world leaders to the spiritual deception that Billy Graham taught. In my view, that was no more of God than the other people who have taught false gospels to world leaders over the centuries, including those now claiming to influence leaders in the name of Christ. I don’t think it was any more of God than horoscopes, extraterrestrials or many of the “keep the faith” pieces we see in various media today.

Spiritual wickedness abounds in our world today, just as it always has. Sometimes, naive nostalgic views aid and abet deception.

A good example is the view that the United States used to be a “Christian nation” at some point in the past. This view is highly-speculative and likely dangerous. It has no scriptural basis and it ignores a lot of history. It also may unwittingly lead people into deception.

(A better way to describe our historical religious freedom in America, which is under attack, comes from frequent Expreacherman commenter Keith, who wrote in part: This nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom, which provides a climate in which the biblical Gospel can go forth unhindered to be freely accepted or rejected by its citizens as well as exported to other nations.)

First, a recent (70 year) historical look-back. This period is an illustrative example only, as it happens to correspond to the beginning of Billy Graham’s self-proclaimed “ambassadorship.”

Matthew 7:14: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The above verse does not expressly rule out that there may be times and places in which more than a few find it. But, it does not say “except in the United States of America up until about the 1950s.”

In 1950, according to Gallup, 25% of Americans identified as Roman Catholic, 66% as Protestant, 4% as Jewish, 3% as other religions, and 2% as unaffiliated.  We can’t know how many people in 1950 possessed eternal life any more than we can know that today. However, we know that the Roman Catholic and protestant religions have been doctrinally compromised for a very long time. Church affiliation was more socially mandated in 1950 than it is today. It is likely that many of their adherents never believed the gospel. False gospels had no more power to save people in 1950 than they do today. Even though fewer people identify as Christians now than back then, it does not mean that a higher proportion of people in 195o were actually Christians.

The fact that US presidents starting with Harry Truman consulted with Billy Graham reveals that either they did not recognize Graham’s error, or they did it for political purposes.

In addition to the highly-speculative description of the US as a “Christian nation” in the 1950s or any other era, such references may unwittingly deceive people in the here and now.

First, such references may cause people to look back to the false religious leaders of bygone eras, such as Billy Graham, and lend them unwarranted credibility. Some might mistakenly think that if the nation was Christian in the past, then its religious leaders must have taught the true gospel. This could lead to comparing the doctrine taught by current preachers to that taught by false preachers from other eras rather than to the word of God.

Second, people may incorrectly assume that their false church traditions only recently became that way. We know this isn’t true. Much of so-called “church history” is likely no more credible than what we are presented with today.

Third, people may be misled to think that anything claiming the name of Christ is good, resulting in false unity.

Last, people may be misled into thinking that the false doctrine of dominionism, which often attends the false gospel of Lordship “salvation” actually “worked” once upon a time when we had a Christian majority in this country.

For Christians, the defense against spiritual wickedness in high places is the full armor of God (see Ephesians 6:11-20).  This guards a believer from the wiles of the devil including unwittingly helping the devil with his deception of others.

Please remember to pray for our leaders, including their protection from spiritual wickedness in high places.

If you would like to know how to have eternal life click here: THE GOSPEL

Lordship Salvation: Herd Mentality

By johninnc

Please note: This article is intended to contrast the false gospels being propagated during the coronavirus crisis with the true gospel. It is not intended to generate any discussions of political or epidemiological responses to the coronavirus, nor any conspiracy theories.  We also cannot purport to know God’s role in or intent with respect to the coronavirus. 

We will not allow any comments related to the above as those things detract from the mission of this ministry which is to promote and defend the gospel.

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Matthew 7:13-14: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

From “American Greatness”:

“Herd immunity” is a settled concept in epidemiology. It occurs when “a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through previous infections or vaccination, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune.”

 “Herd mentality,” on the contrary, provides immunity from independent thought. It protects a population from thinking clearly by spreading a spirit of conformity. It increases a people’s docility, thus rendering them more susceptible to the blandishments of usurping authority.

Herd immunity I regard as a good thing. Herd mentality, not so much.

The coronavirus outbreak and the resultant stay at home order has given me a lot of time to read and watch various leaders try to use it to their perceived advantage. Among these are religious leaders, who like their purely political counterparts, never let a crisis go to waste. Also, like their purely political counterparts, these religious leaders have their blandishments amplified by a fawning, compliant press.

Many religious leaders who preach false gospels have been featured prominently in opinion pieces, or human-interest pieces, that are haphazardly interspersed with news stories, thus undermining both the news and the gospel. Some prominent religious leaders have even had their Easter services streamed live by one or more national news networks.

Prominently featured false teachers have included:

  • Franklin Graham
  • Robert Jeffress
  • Kirk Cameron
  • Joel Osteen
  • Greg Laurie
  • Pope Francis

While each of the above teachers undermines the gospel in his own unique way, they are part of the herd mentality that man’s works are somehow involved in receiving, keeping, or proving that one has received eternal life. In this case, the herd mentality is the wide gate and the broad way that leads to destruction.

Following is just a small sample of their errors:

Franklin Graham: We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent…

I’m a sinner. But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. For any person that’s willing to repent in turn, God will forgive him.

 (Note: Franklin Graham is son of the late Billy Graham, who also taught a false gospel of salvation by man’s works)

 Greg Laurie: Jesus essentially said the only way your sins are forgiven and to know you will spend eternity in Heaven is by putting your complete trust in Him. And there will be tangible results to show you have done that…

You see, the outward change is often without the inward. However, the inward change is never without the outward…

Here are the elements of the Good News that we must believe and receive to become a born-again child of God…

Repent of Your Sins

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.

Robert Jeffress: Jeffress is pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, TX. The statement of faith of his church is based on “The Baptist Faith and Message” and includes the following:

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 Savior.

By contrast to the above false gospel messages, the Bible is crystal clear that Jesus is both the straight gate and the narrow way by which one may have eternal life. Consider the following verses:

John 10:9: I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

 John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

 There is only one way to have eternal life. That is to believe in Jesus as Savior.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 And, man’s works have no bearing on receiving, keeping, nor showing evidence that one has received 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 above verse literally means that the believer in Christ presently possesses eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

If you would like to know more about how to escape the herd mentality of salvation by works click here: THE GOSPEL

Good News in the Midst of Coronavirus

By johninnc

Every day we are hearing of more and more people getting sick and dying from Coronavirus. Many will get sick, or have loved ones who get sick. Many more will face the uncertainty of job loss. Everyone’s lives are being disrupted.

We are all hoping for a cure, or for this disease to go away so that we can get back to normal. But, as bad as it is, coronavirus isn’t mankind’s biggest problem. Mankind’s biggest problem is spiritual separation from God.

There is a God. He is the Eternal Creator, without beginning or end. He created everything, including you and me. He is perfectly holy, perfectly just, and perfectly loving. As such, He cannot allow anything that isn’t perfect into His presence.

You and I aren’t perfect. We have all sinned (done things that are wrong in God’s eyes) and can’t do anything to fix that. Our efforts to work our way back to God are completely useless.

Where is the Good News? The Good News is this:

God loves us so much that He would rather die than spend eternity without us.

So, He gave his only begotten Son –Jesus Christ – God in the flesh – to pay for our sins. Jesus took our sin from us. He made the complete payment for our sin, leaving us nothing to pay.

He did this by suffering a criminal’s death by crucifixion. He died on the cross, He was buried, and He was raised from the dead three days later, proving that His payment for our sins was accepted.

Anyone who believes in Jesus, and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection – that he paid the full price for our sins, leaving nothing for us to pay – has eternal life. Eternal life means that we are no longer spiritually separated from God.  God no longer sees believers in their sins, but sees them as perfectly righteous. Eternal life begins the moment a person believes in Jesus as Savior and lasts for all eternity. It can never be lost or forfeited, no matter what happens in our lives down the road.

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.

Anyone who does not believe in Jesus as Savior remains spiritually separated from God, and does not have eternal life. This does not end at physical death, but lasts for all eternity.

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.

People will tell you all kinds of different ways to have eternal life, or even that there’s no such thing.

Many people will tell you that Jesus is necessary for eternal life, but that He isn’t enough – that you have to “do your part” by reforming your behavior, doing good works, and so on. But this is not true. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

You should listen to what Jesus has to say, above what anyone else tells you. Since Jesus is God, and God is perfect, He cannot lie.

Here is what Jesus says on how to have eternal life:

John 11:25-26: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

If you want to know more about the GOOD NEWS click here: THE GOSPEL

Lordship Salvation: Don’t Give My Regards to Broadway

By johninnc

Matthew 7:12-13: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

From Wikipedia: “Give My Regards to Broadway” is a song written by George M. Cohan for his musical play Little Johnny Jones which debuted in 1904 in New York.

Cohan, playing the title character, sings this song as his friend is about to sail to America, looking for evidence aboard ship that will clear his name for allegedly throwing the English Derby He is sure he’ll become a star at Broadway, therefore signing off with: “Give my regards to Broadway.”

Cohan, of course, was making an innocuous reference to the street in New York with his song.

By contrast, Lordship Salvation (LS) gives its regards to the broad way that leads to destruction.

In Matthew 7:12-13, Jesus describes Himself as the way to eternal life. He is both the straight gate and the narrow way that leads to eternal life:

John 10:9: I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The wide gate and the broad way that lead to destruction include any other means by which one tries to justify himself, including the pernicious false gospel of Lordship Salvation (LS).

Acts 4:12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

LS is the unsupportable and unbiblical belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

Proponents of LS teach that one receives eternal life by believing in Jesus as helper, instead of believing in Him as Savior. In other words, they see Jesus as necessary for eternal life, but not sufficient.

Some forms of LS are more subtle than others, and their variations are seemingly endless.

Following are some examples of false LS gospels:

Franklin Graham:

We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent…

I’m a sinner. But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. For any person that’s willing to repent in turn, God will forgive him

My comment: Turning from sin is not required to receive the free gift of eternal life. The Bible describes eternal life as the gift of God (Romans 6:23). If turning from sin were required to receive eternal life, eternal life could not be called a gift.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:

To receive Christ you need to do four things:
1. ADMIT your spiritual need. “I am a sinner.”
2. REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin.
3. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.
4. RECEIVE, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life.

My comment: One does not receive eternal life by being willing to turn from sin or asking Jesus into one’s heart.

19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon:

Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction.

My comment: If a changed life were required to have assurance of eternal life, then the word of God in the John 5:24 would be a lie.

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.

Chick Publications from their tract entitled “God’s Plan of Salvation”:

 Trust Jesus Christ today! Here’s what you must do:

…Be willing to turn from sin (repent). Jesus said: “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5) 
”And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 17:30)

My comments: This is not God’s plan of salvation. It is one of Satan’s counterfeits. Turning from sin is a work. Being willing to turn from sin is an IOU for a work.

The above individuals and publications point(ed) people to the broad way that leads to destruction.

Christians should not give people who teach false gospels any regard. They should not be given a pass, no matter what their motives may be. They should be marked and avoided. The only contexts in which they should be quoted is to contrast their BROAD WAY that leads to destruction with the Bible’s NARROW WAY that leads to life.

Don’t give your regards to the Broad Way.

If you would like to have additional information on how to receive eternal life, please click here: THE GOSPEL

 

 

 

 

Lordship Salvation: Talking Turkey

By: johninnc

Romans 6:23:  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us once again, I found myself musing about the origin of the idiom “Let’s Talk Turkey” and thought I would look into it.

Here’s what I found at the website writingexplained.org:

Let’s Talk Turkey Meaning

Definition: To engage in a frank and practical discussion about a matter (usually a business matter).

Origin of Talking Turkey

This expression was in use by the first half of the 1800s. Its origin story is said to come from an apocryphal tale about a white man and an Indian hunting.

In the story, a Native American and white man are trying to divide some game from a hunt. The white man offers that he (the white man) can take the turkey while the Native American man can take the buzzard. Alternatively, the Native American can take the buzzard and he (the white man) can take the turkey.

These two offers sounded different because the white man reversed the order. However, in both instances the white man would walk away with the larger prize. The Native American realized this and said to the white man, “Now talk turkey to me.”

There is no evidence that this exchange actually happened. However, this story appears in multiple first hand sources throughout the 1800s. This seems to mean it was a popular origin story for the idiom.

This origin story, whether true or not, reminded me of two of the ways in which Lordship “salvationists” (LSers) misrepresent the gospel, and in so doing, serve to keep lost people lost and to confuse believers.

Lordship “salvation” (LS) is the unsupportable and unbiblical belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

First, LSers present the gospel as some sort of business transaction that entails a lost sinner giving something to God in exchange for the receipt of eternal life. The variations on this are endless, but examples include:

  • “Repent of your sins”
  • “Turn from your sins”
  • “Be willing to turn from your sins”
  • “Put Christ on the throne of your life”
  • “Give your life to Christ”
  • “Commit to follow Christ”

Consider the following quote from the late Billy Graham:

Giving up something to follow Christ is not earning salvation; it is giving up what keeps you from salvation. When we hold on to something that is dearer to us than receiving the greater gift of salvation in Christ, we lose.

Graham subtly changed salvation from a “free gift” to “a greater gift.”  In this way, Graham suggests that what man “brings to the table” in exchange for salvation is but a pittance, compared to the greater gift of salvation that he receives in return (kind of like “I’ll take the turkey, you take the buzzard”).  This view denies the work of Jesus as being sufficient to save us, and changes the nature of Grace from being a gift to being a trade.

Here is a less subtle example from Steve Lawson:

If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many here who think they are saved, but are not; they have never really done business with God

He will agree to terms of peace and surrender, but they are His terms of peace, not ours. His terms are this: you must love Him more than anything. If you cannot do this, you will meet Him in the final judgment and glorify God in your destruction.

Like Graham, Lawson denies the sufficiency of Christ and misrepresents the gospel .

These would be “evangelists” may have thought they were “talking turkey” to their audiences with these false messages, but they were really just teaching false gospels of salvation by works.

Second, like the white man in the idiom, LSers say the same thing in two different ways. This takes the form of either front-loading or back loading the gospel with works.

The following quote from prominent pastor David Chadwick is an example of this double-speak:

(note that Chadwick writes as though he is Jesus giving first-hand information)

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.

This pastor is encouraging his audience to look to their works for assurance of eternal life. The Bible does not teach this. In fact, the Bible is clear that one can have assurance of eternal life without waiting around to see if good works manifest themselves.

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 above examples of false gospel messages remind me of another Turkey-related idiom: Jive Turkey.

From Dictionary.com: A jive turkey is someone who is unreliable, makes exaggerations or empty promises, or who is otherwise dishonest. The phrase is so associated with 1970s culture.

Whether or not they intend to, LSers are unreliable because they run afoul (pun intended) of the gospel.

If you have been exposed to false gospel messages and would like to know the truth about how to have eternal life click here: THE GOSPEL

Lordship Salvation: A Case Study

By johninnc

Galatians 2:21: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Below is a rather lengthy exchange from an internet article I read today. I would have generally relegated this to a comment under “The Gospel According to Internet Comments,” but I have made it a separate post because it is very instructive as to the subtlety of works for salvation that so many people confuse with grace.

The first commenter (varnuke) seems to be upholding grace, though he has some error mixed in. The other commenter (Frank Zimmerman) has serious Lordship “salvation” error.

The commenter’s names are highlighted in bold. I have also interspersed my comments in bold parenthesis.

varnuke Jim James • 2 days ago • edited

No matter how much I try to abstain from sins, I find that actually impossible as long as I live. “The thought of foolishness is sin.” Proverbs 24:9 (KJV). “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17. (KJV) My only way out was Jesus Christ dying for ALL of my sins, past, present, and future. Nothing I can do to add to that at all! PERIOD!

Frank Zimmerman varnuke • a day ago

Christ’s life needs to be in you though…otherwise you are frustrating His grace. “How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?” Rom 6:2. “Awake to righteousness and sin not; I speak this to your shame.” 1 Cor. 15:34.

(My comment: This is a strong indication that Frank objects to the grace of God. Varnuke gave a comment that should not need to be qualified or rebutted. Frank seems uncomfortable with it. Frank also seems to confuse instruction for Christian living with believing in Jesus as Savior.)

varnuke Frank Zimmerman • a day ago • edited

When Jesus Christ died for my sins (as well as everyone else), He paid the price for my sins (past, present and future) so that I could become a member “of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” Eph. 5:30 (KJV), by placing all my God-given faith and trust in His sacrifice for my sins, which I definitely did not deserve at all, “. . . whereby [I am] sealed unto the day of redemption.” Eph. 4:30 (KJV). “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:6 (KJV).

I understand it the other way around. I need to ‘be in Him.’ not personally “working” my way into a false sense of being saved by claiming that I don’t sin anymore after ‘being saved,’ as if what He did was not perfect enough, and thus requires me to do something else (like trying not to sin, which is absolutely impossible in the flesh).

Eph. 2:8-9 (KJV) says it all. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it [faith] is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” And that “gift” of faith is a “free gift” of God. Rom: 5:15-16, 18 (KJV). Gifts are already “free,” by definition. And that ” . . . faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom. 10:17 (KJV).

Problem is, if a person claims to have “Christ’s life” in him, or her, that person still sins after such claim. Even a lie is enough to send one to hell. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Rev. 21:8 (KJV)

Not trusting what Jesus Christ did 100.00%, without the addition of righteous personal ‘works,’ wherein a person mistakenly thinks he or she no longer sins is nothing less than total self deception – usually misleadingly taught to them by some false so-called “Christian” religion.

Working to keep from ‘sinning’ is nothing more than evidence one has not placed their complete trust in Him, thinking their own “filthy rags” righteousness is also required for salvation. “. . . all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags . . .” Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)

(My comment: varnuke’s comment requires a very important clarification: Working to keep from sinning is not evidence that one has not placed their complete trust in Christ. Working to keep from sinning is evidence that someone is not currently trusting fully in Christ only if someone thinks they must do that to earn, keep, or prove that they have received eternal life. And, even if someone is not currently trusting in Christ alone for eternal life, that does not mean that they never have. Anyone who has ever trusted in Christ alone as Savior has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

Varnuke has also referred to faith as “God given” and has quantified faith with 5 significant digits (100.00%). Our ability to have faith in anything is God-given, however we must never confuse that with God giving us the faith to trust in Christ as Savior. And, it is the object of our faith – Jesus Christ – not the quality of our faith that is the only distinction as to whether or not someone has eternal life.)

Frank Zimmerman varnuke • 21 hours ago • edited

I know what you are saying is a popular version of the gospel, but what is missing is the death of the old man. There are two deaths required to save anyone: Christ’s death, and the death of your old man of sin.

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” Gal. 2:20

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Rom. 6:6-7.

According to Romans 7:1-4, Christ will not marry you (i.e. you will not be “in Him” and He will not be “in you”) unless the old man has died first…otherwise He would be an adulterer.

(My comment: Believing the gospel that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead results in the death of the old man. No one needs to turn from sin, or do anything to make that a reality. The Bible makes it clear that it is possible for a Christian to continue to let sin reign in his life, even though that is not God’s will. See Romans 6:12. Further, even knowing that the old man is dead is not required to receive eternal life. It is a forensic fact!)

Check also the object lesson of redemption in the deliverance from Egypt: the death of the lamb was required, and also the death of the firstborn of Egypt, before the Israelites were free from the land of bondage. We need to be likewise free from the bondage to the power of sin.

(My comment: Believing the gospel that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead results in a new birth of the Spiritual Man that does not even have the capacity to sin. Yet, the flesh is still with us in this lifetime, which is why we still sin. One is therefore free from the bondage to the power of sin by virtue of having a new nature. That does not mean that there is any inevitable change in the nature, extent, nor degree to which any believer in Christ will sin in this lifetime. Otherwise, the instructions to believers in the Epistles would be unnecessary.)

Your charge, that someone who trusts in Christ to keep him from sinning, is somehow “trusting in his own works” is foolish. Do you suppose that the Israelites celebrated their stepping into the Red Sea as the cause for their victory? They well knew it was the power of God working in their behalf. So will it be with the truly righteous man…he knows it is the power of God working in him, and not of himself.

(My comment: Believing the gospel that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead does not require trusting in Him to keep from sinning.  This is Lordship “salvation” 101!. If we were required to trust in Christ to keep from sinning in order to have eternal life, then we would need to examine whether we had turned from sin (which is a work) to determine whether we had eternal life. The presence of ANY SIN would negate the evidence supplied by the absence of all other sin.)

In Romans 4, the promise to Abraham is set forth as an example of the power of the gospel. Abraham and Sarah were dead within, they had no power to bring forth the son that God had promised. But they trusted that what God had promised, He was able to perform (in them). God gave them His life, and they were enabled to do the impossible.

(My comment: Believing the gospel that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead is not about “our doing the impossible” by turning from sin!  Abraham and Sarah were not enabled to do the impossible. God did the impossible. This is about our believing that God has taken away our sin, and that He is able to accomplish what we could not – our eternal salvation.)

You say it is impossible for the life of Jesus to be manifest in us. Therefore, you do not have the faith of Abraham. You are in high danger of accepting “a form of godliness” but “denying the power.”

(My comment: varnuke never said that it was impossible for the life of Jesus to be manifest in us. Frank simply put those words into his mouth. Then, Frank said that varnuke didn’t have the faith of Abraham, which means Frank has assumed the position of God. Finally, Frank has intimated that varnude is “denying the power” by asserting that sinless perfection is not attainable in this lifetime.)

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We have received lots of comments and e-mails with doctrine similar to that set forth above by Frank. To summarize Frank’s error:

  1. Frank falsely implies that trusting in Christ to keep us from sinning is necessarily included in, or is the same thing as believing in Christ as Savior.
  2. Frank falsely teaches that to assert that life change and less sinning are not inevitable in the lives of believers is to “deny the power.”
  3. Frank confuses the fact that the “old man” is forensically dead the moment someone believes in Jesus as Savior with what one must believe in order to have eternal life. One does not have to know that the “old man” is dead in order to receive eternal life, and one need not do anything to manifest that understanding in the way he lives his life in order to demonstrate that he has received eternal life.
  4. Frank falsely insinuates that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead in order to enable us to earn eternal life.

If you have made, or heard, similar “frank arguments”, and would like to know the truth about how to have eternal life click here: THE GOSPEL

Lordship Salvation: “The Harris Poll”

By johninnc

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.

According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, one of the definitions of “poll” is as follows:

 aa questioning or canvassing of persons selected at random or by quota to obtain information or opinions to be analyzed

ba record of the information so obtained

Joshua Harris, well-known author and former pastor, recently announced that he was leaving his wife and that he was no longer a Christian.

Let me start out by saying that I have no idea whether Joshua Harris ever believed the gospel, or even heard the gospel presented faithfully. I have conspicuously avoided delving into Harris’ beliefs, because that isn’t the point of this article.

What I would like to focus on is the reactions of some well-known “Christian leaders.” Almost all of the reactions I have read are condemning of Harris, either suggesting, or expressly stating, that Harris does not have eternal life, and never believed in Jesus in the first place. Following is a sample:

Franklin Graham (from “Hallells” article entitled “Franklin Graham Comments on Joshua Harris & Hillsong’s Marty Sampson Walking Away from the Faith”)

They weren’t real Christians. They were young. Their faith wasn’t very strong. They might have been atheists. They hate God. And they just wanted publicity.

Michael Farris (Op-Ed Contributor to “The Christian Post,” in an article entitled “A letter to Josh Harris”)

We knew each other very well for many years. And I loved you like a younger brother. And still do…

Jesus says about people like you that in the last judgment, He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

You know that this means you never actually knew Him.

Dr.R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (president of “The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary”, from his blog albertmohler.com)

Can believers lose their faith? Can one ultimately fall away if one was genuinely regenerated? The answer is no…

There may be even some who sin by repudiating Christianity, but if they ever were genuinely Christian, they will return by repentance at some point, and that is a gospel promise. If persons do continue in their repudiation of Christianity, then we have to remember the text in 1 John 2:19, where they were told that, “They went out from us, because they were not of us,” which is to say they were never truly Christians. They were pretend believers.

Jesus also speaks of this in Matthew 13 in the parable of the four soils. There are those who show signs of life, but they eventually go away. Jesus makes very clear they were never true Christians.

John Piper (from article in “The Christian Post” entitled “John Piper on Joshua Harris: ‘I could commit apostasy this afternoon and go to hell’ if not for God”)

“It shouldn’t call into question the doctrine of eternal security to say, ‘yes, I could commit apostasy this afternoon and go to hell.’ I wonder if that’s a jarring juxtaposition for you.

“Nothing you do originates the decisive act or impulse that saves you,” he continued. “Nothing you feel, nothing you think, nothing you will, nothing you do, originates the act of the soul or the act of the body that causes God to elect you, predestine you, call you, keep you, or glorify you. All of it is a free gift. So, nobody should have the mindset, ‘I can keep this from happening.’ I can’t. No, you can’t, God can.”

“You are secure in Christ, but your security is totally in the hands of God,” he continued. “If God is faithful to you, you will make it. If you don’t make it, He didn’t cause you to make it. So, that’s foundational to what I believe and think.”…

Piper added, “The evidence that that has happened is, ‘are you pressing on?’”

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The Bible promises that anyone who believed in Jesus as Savior has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited. The Bible does not promise that our assurance can’t be undermined, or that all Christians will have enduring faith.

Of the men quoted above, we have written articles that document that at least three of them (Graham, Mohler, and Piper) preach false gospels of Calvinism/Lordship “salvation.” However, we can’t know whether any of them has ever believed in Christ alone as Savior. We do know that the false gospels that they teach keep people lost and serve to undermine the assurance of those who do possess eternal life.

When we, or anyone else, put ourselves in the place of determining who does, or who does not have eternal life, we are playing god.

We featured a great article a few years back on this topic. Please see link here: Why We Can’t Judge Whether or Not Someone Possesses Eternal Life

If you are a Christian, please pray for Joshua Harris, and also for his human judges.

And, if you would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: The Gospel