Category Archives: Lordship Salvation

Lordship Salvation and the Four Corners Offense

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.

According to Wikipedia: The four corners offense, technically four corner stall, is an offensive strategy for stalling in basketball. Four players stand in the corners of the offensive half-court while the fifth dribbles the ball in the middle. Most of the time the point guard stays in the middle, but the middle player would periodically switch, temporarily, with one of the players. It was a strategy that was used in college basketball before the shot clock was instituted. 

In basketball, the four corners offense was used to frustrate opponents and run out the clock. In the world of professing Christendom (also known as churchianity), there are four common perversions of grace that serve to frustrate grace and impede the spread of the gospel.

Each of the perversions of grace tries to add works- either the promise of works, the performance of works, or the evidence of works – into the means by which someone may receive eternal life, or to prove someone has received eternal life.

The Bible is expressly clear that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ without works.

Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(Please note: the following are based on The Grace Chart, by Ron Shea of Clear Gospel)

The four common perversions of grace are:

1. Basic salvation by works (examples include water baptism or public confession of Christ as requirements for receiving eternal life).

2. Denial of eternal security (Arminianism, which holds that good works or avoidance of sin must be maintained in order to stay saved).

3. Bilateral Contract Salvation (Lordship “salvation,” which conditions receipt of eternal life on making a contract with God to  repent of sins, make Christ Lord of your life, etc.)

4. The Perseverance of the Saints (Backdoor Lordship “salvation”, which maintains that one can know he – or someone else – is saved only if his life – or their lives- begin to change for the better).

Each of these perversions of grace has the potential to render believers powerless for Christian growth and ineffective in spreading the gospel. In addition, each of the perversions can keep lost people from understanding the gospel. And, if someone doesn’t understand the gospel, they won’t believe the gospel.

Matthew 13:19: When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which receiveth seed by the way side.

While the four corners offense went away with the introduction of the shot clock in college basketball, Satan is still trying to run out the clock on the spread of the gospel. The four perversions of grace are one of his favorite strategies, and he is getting lots of help from professing Christians and their organizations.

There is a good chart from Clear Gospel that describes the four perversions of grace in more detail. Please click here: Grace Chart

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

 

 

 

 

Good Tidings of Great Joy

By johninnc

Luke 2:10-14: [10] And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. [12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.[13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, [14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The Christmas story from Luke proclaims the message of salvation found in Christ the Lord!

Please notice what it says, versus the bad news that is so often substituted by the world of churchianity:

Good tidings of great joy – the gospel is good news – the best news ever. It is about the gift of eternal life offered freely (without cost or obligation to the recipient) through faith in Christ:

Ephesians 2:8-9: [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

If the gospel that you have heard requires anything of you in return (such as the false Lordship “salvation” teaching that turning from sins, resolving to turn from sins, publically confessing Christ, persevering in faith and good works to prove you are saved, obeying the Ten Commandments, etc. are required in order to have eternal life) it is not good news. It is not the gospel!

Which shall be to all people – this means that eternal life is available to anyone on the same terms. It is not reserved for those whom God has chosen to receive eternal life.

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.

1 Timothy 2:3-4: [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Nor is there anyone who has eternal life who has not understood their need for salvation.

Romans 3:19-20: [19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

This includes Mary, mother of Jesus. Please note that she did not lead a sinless life, and was therefore in need of a Savior, just like the rest of us.

Luke 1:46-47: [46] And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, [47] And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

If the gospel that you have heard tells you that God chooses some to believe, while relegating everyone else to hopelessness, it is not the gospel – it is Calvinism. And, if your gospel tells you anyone has received eternal life some other way, it is not the gospel.

A Savior – please not that it doesn’t say “ a helper.” Jesus is not only necessary to save us. He is enough! No one is saved by believing in Jesus plus anything else.

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.

If the gospel you have heard teaches that faith in Christ must be accompanied by something else, it is not the gospel.

Which is Christ the Lord – this means that Jesus is God in the flesh. The only begotten Son of God.

John 4:25-26: [25] The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. [26] Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

John 11:27: She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

If the gospel that you have heard teaches that Jesus is simply a prophet, or a created being, it is not the gospel.

 On earth peace, good will toward men – this means that those who have trusted in Christ alone as Savior have peace with God. This peace is permanent. It is not probation, it is eternal salvation!

Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Romans 5:1: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

If the gospel you have heard teaches that you can have peace with God any other way than through faith alone in Christ alone, it is a false gospel.

If the gospel that you have heard contains anything other than good news, it is not the gospel! Please click here for more information on the Christmas story: THE GOSPEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lordship Salvation: Fake News

By johninnc

Please note: this is not a political article. It is an article about the difference between the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and the bad news of Lordship “salvation.”

Matthew 7:15: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 Following are selected definitions of “fake” and “news” (noun forms) from Dictionary.com:

Fake:

  • anything made to appear otherwise than it actually is; counterfeit
  • a person who fakes; faker
  • a spurious report or story

News:

  • a report of a recent event; intelligence; information
  • the presentation of a report on recent or new events in a newspaper or other periodical or on radio or television
  • such reports taken collectively; information reported

Matthew 7:15 refers to purveyors of fake news. I believe that it is meant to include those who turn the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ into false gospels of works. The verses that immediately precede Matthew 7:15 explain the only way to have eternal life, which is through faith in Christ alone:

Matthew 7:13-14: [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: [14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

 So, what is the narrow way that leads to life? Jesus explains this succinctly:

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.

And what is the strait gate?

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.

Lordship “salvation” is the false belief that Christ is necessary, but not sufficient, for eternal life. It teaches the bad news that the “straight and narrow” is our intentions, or our works., rather than the good news of God’s complete provision for our salvation through Jesus Christ.

Lordship “salvation” can be very subtle. But, one thing that can make it easier to detect is the focus of assurance. Lordship “salvation” turns the focus away from Christ and His righteousness to an unquantifiable and subjective inventory of one’s personal righteousness.

Following are some examples of Lordship “salvation” from both some well known and lesser-known sources:

  • 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.” –“Evangelist” Billy Graham
  • I would ask them to consider whether the signs of eternal life are present in them. As John explains so thoroughly in 1 John, conversion does not bring sinless perfection, but it does begin to make fundamental changes in the human heart.” – Pastor J.D. Greear
  • 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. – 19th Century Preacher Charles Spurgeon
  • I often wonder if those who espouse easy-believism have simply adapted their theology in order to try to get a sinning loved one into the kingdom. – Pastor and best-selling author John MacArthur
  • 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. – Evangelist Franklin Graham
  • So a dispassionate statement of belief, with nothing behind it, and no intention to serve God in any way is all it takes…interesting belief. Never heard that before. – Facebook Comment from the son of a Southern Baptist Minister
  • 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. – David Chadwick, Pastor of Forrest Hills Church, Charlotte
  • As such, repentance is a necessary precursor to saving faith. It means that a nonbeliever must admit his sin to God, acknowledge he is wrong, and be willing to seek a new way of life. – “Free Grace” theologian Joseph Dillow
  • Repentance is a turning from sin, while faith is turning to Christ. – Theologian Dr. Roy Zuck
  • Of COURSE salvation is a gift, not by works, so that no man may boast (Eph. 2:8), but it’s only to the repentant sinner (Psalm 51), to the thief on the cross who repented in Luke 23:32-42 (though both “believed,” only one was saved), to Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8 who repented and vowed to restore fourfold anyone he’d cheated, that the Lord said, “TODAY, salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9), only when the Lord saw remorse and repentance did He GRANT His free gift of salvation! – Commenter, Redeeming Moments website

The above comments each turn the focus of hope of eternal life, in some way, back to a person’s works or good intentions. This is not good news. It is fake news!

If you would like additional information on the real good news, click here: The Gospel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charities that Aren’t Charitable


By johninnc

Matthew 6:21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

I saw an article today at RNS entitled “Ministries and money: Christian charities that use your money wisely.”

According to this article, almost a third of the $373 billion given to charity by Americans last year went to religious organizations.

There was a quote by Rusty Leonard, founder and CEO of MinistryWatch, with which I agree: Donors should recognize they have a serious responsibility to give as wisely as they can, as it is not their money they are giving but the Lord’s.

RNS evaluated a number of nonprofit Christian ministries to determine:

  • What percentage of their budgets the ministries spend on their core ministry programs.
  • How transparent the ministries are in sharing their financial information.
  • How charity watchdog agencies rate various ministries.

While the first two of these criteria are important, they are missing a much more critical question:

Do the so-called Christian charities promote and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ?

The purpose of this article is not to vet specific charities or ministries for our readers. Rather, it is to advocate the primary responsibility of Christians to advance the gospel message.

To that end, I would encourage our readers to be diligent in knowing whether the Christian charities and ministries to which they are considering giving are clear on the gospel. It may tug at our heartstrings to help  people in need, but if the “help” we are sending them includes false gospel messages, are we really doing them a service?

Please be aware that some of the larger, more prominent charities are run by people who teach false gospels such as Calvinism, Lordship “salvation,” social justice, and Arminianism.

Following are some thoughts from Clear Gospel:

  • We believe it is the duty of every Christian to make diligent inquiry into the doctrine of a church or ministry, particularly with respect to the doctrine of soteriology, before financially supporting it.
  • We believe that those Christians who tithe or support doctrinally aberrant ministries are partakers of the evil deeds of those teachers and “evangelists” (2nd John vs. 11).
  • We believe that the eternal rewards that God gives for sacrificial tithing (Matthew 6:1-4, 6:19-20) will be diminished or lost when those tithes and offerings supported ministers or ministries that are not straight with the gospel (2nd John vs. 8).

If your treasure is with ministries that clearly advance the gospel, your heart will be there also.

If you would like to know more about the gospel, please click here: The Gospel

 

 

 

 

Lordship Salvation: Wile, Style, and Guile

By: johninnc

Revelation 14:5: And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

All Christians in the church age will by taken in the rapture, which the Bible teaches will occur before the Great Tribulation.

But, there are many people in professing Christendom (aka “churchianity”) who will be left behind by the rapture, because they have believed false gospels and have never believed in Christ alone as Savior.

Among the false gospels that keep lost people lost are the various forms of works salvation prevalent in religions that claim the name of Christ. One of the more insidious of these is Lordship “salvation.”

Lordship “salvation, “ or bilateral contract “salvation” is a perversion that adds works to the front end, or back end of the gospel. It has been taught by some of the most well known “evangelists” and theologians in recorded history, and is almost ubiquitous today among those claiming to preach the gospel. As Jack Weaver, the late founder of the ExPreacherman ministry used to say: “The woods is full of ‘em.”

Some of the more prominent people who taught, or teach false gospels, or who undermine their own stated beliefs in grace, have been highlighted, or mentioned in previous articles here. They include:

  • John Calvin
  • Ray Comfort
  • Joseph Dillow
  • Andrew Farley
  • Billy and Franklin Graham
  • J.D. Greear
  • John MacArthur
  • John Piper
  • Charles Stanley
  • Charles Spurgeon
  • Paul Washer
  • George Zeller
  • Roy Zuck

The devices used by false teachers vary, but include:

Wile – devious, cunning strategies, such as changing the meanings of words like “faith” and “grace” to include works.

Style – emotional appeals, social contagion, ceremony, works-oriented testimonials, and stupid analogies that pervert the gospel message.

Guile – subtle deception, such as conflating eternal salvation and discipleship, proof texting Bible verses out of context, or changing the timing of required works from the front end of the salvation equation to the back end of the salvation equation.

In his excellent sermon entitled “The Most Fervent Evangelists Who Ever Lived,” pastor Tom Cucuzza discusses the 144,000 tribulation age messengers who will become believers after the rapture, and will preach the gospel to those left behind by the rapture.

Revelation 7 describes who the 144,000 messengers are, and Revelation 14 describes some of their attributes, including the purity of the message that they will preach. In contrast to the wile, style, and guile used by false teachers, the 144,000 messengers will have no guile in their mouths.

Since the gospel is the only saving message, it is clear that the 144,000 will preach the gospel, without any of the perversions that are pervasive among the so-called evangelists in the present age.

Tom’s message emphasizes the following points:

  • Salvation has never, nor will it ever, involve works. This includes people saved before Christ, those who are saved in the church age, and those who will become saved during the Great Tribulation.
  • The Great Tribulation will have a one-world religion that Tom calls “mystical religious humanism.” All religion today is moving in that direction. It will be accommodating by nature. There will be a common thread.
  • The problem with being accommodating, or ecumenical, is the failure to understand the significance of those things we disagree on.

Following is a quote from Tom’s sermon that underscores the primary thing we cannot accommodate – attacks on the gospel message:

Yes we believe people should live good lives. Yes we believe people should be kind to others, and all these kind of things. Surely be concerned about others, treat people in the right way. Yes, we can all agree on that.

But, you know what? When you say “those things are part of what it means to getting to heaven,” or if you say “every true believer will live a life of dedication towards that, “ I say to you: “Wait a minute! You have just violated the only way to salvation. Because it’s only through the blood of Christ that you’re saved. “

And when we come along and we say “if you add ANYTHING to what Jesus Christ did on the cross, you are preaching a false gospel that cannot save.” ANYTHING except faith in Christ.

People say “you’re crazy” or they’ll say “you think you’re the only ones who have the truth.” Listen folks, the truth is to be had by anyone. We don’t have a corner on the market. But, we do know this. We believe what Jesus said. He said: “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father, but by Me.”

He didn’t say “Me and you!” He didn’t say “Me and your good intentions.”

Now, should Christians live good, Godly lives? Yes. Absolutely. But, does that have anything to do with us getting into heaven? Absolutely not!.

Please click here if you would like to hear Tom’s sermon in its entirety:

Tom’s Sermon

Now, one may rightly ask: “What do the tribulation age witnesses have to do with me?

There are two answers:

First, if you know how to have eternal life, and how to escape the coming Great Tribulation, it is incumbent upon you to tell others. Some may believe now and die before the rapture, thus receiving eternal life and avoiding an eternity in hell. Others may believe now, receive eternal life,  and avoid the horrors of the coming Great Tribulation. And, still others may hear now, and not believe until after the rapture, and become tribulation age saints.

Second, the gospel message is the same now as it will be after the rapture. The only way that anyone can get to heaven is to rely totally on Christ’s provision for our salvation.

If you have never believed in Jesus as your Savior, today is the best time to do that. We are not promised tomorrow. Please click here for more information:

THE GOSPEL

Lordship Salvation: Southern Baptist Conventional Wisdom

By johninnc

Isaiah 55:8: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

With the US major party conventions in the immediate forefront of our political calendar, I thought it would be a good time to focus on another convention: one of so-called “evangelicals – the Southern Baptist Convention.

I think it is fair to say that each of the major political parties tries to co opt religion, and vice versa, often for cynical purposes.

Following are recent headlines regarding internal and external politics within the SBC. The first relates to the prospective alignment of political and religious leaders.

Trump taps outgoing Southern Baptist head for religious board (from “The Tennessean”)

Excerpt from the article:

Ronnie Floyd, the immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, will join dozens of other conservative Christian leaders offering counsel to Donald Trump as part of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s new religious advisory board.

My comment: Floyd’s church adheres to the “Baptist Faith and Message,” which has a doctrinally aberrant view of the gospel. Guys like Floyd may help Trump tap into the religiously affiliated conservative voters in America, but what Floyd and the SBC are selling is not Biblical Christianity.  This is simply an attempt to forge a Faustian bargain between political and religious leaders.

Next, we will move to a headline regarding political wrangling within the SBC.

Calvinism Not to Blame for Southern Baptist Decline, JD Greear Says (from “The Christian Post”)

J.D. Greear is a false teacher that we have discussed at length at ExPreacherman. The fact that Greear would be in contention for the leadership of the SBC is sad, but telling. Equally sad is that his rivals also represent false theology.

The SBC is a mosh pit of competing false theology, as set forth in the following ExPreacherman article: SBC False Theology

Following are some of the more interesting, and outlandish quotes from the Christian Post article:

In an interview with the Christian Post last Thursday, Greear, pastor of Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, said it doesn’t matter how many “points” of Calvinism one holds because “Jesus gave every one of us the Great Commission, and if we’re not carrying it out, that’s just plain unfaithful.”

My comment: Greear is correct that if we are not carrying out the Great Commission we are not being faithful. But, none of the five points of Calvinism is true. And, changing the simplicity of Christ into false Calvinist/Lordship “salvation” tenets is NOT carrying out the Great Commission.

And, here is a quote from Dr. Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary:

Lostness in North America is having a bigger impact on Southern Baptists than Southern Baptists are having on lostness. Put another way: The world is having a bigger impact on the behavior of Southern Baptists than we are having on the behavior of the world. In addition to the decline in baptisms, we are down in membership, down in worship attendance, and down in Bible Study attendance

My comment: This is absolutely astounding. Does Kelley really believe that “lostness” is based on behavior?

And, finally, one more quote from Greear:

“We only have so much ‘bandwidth’ as a Convention, so we should seek to be known for the Gospel and the Great Commission, not for a particular stance regarding Calvinism. What unites us is so much greater than what threatens to divide us. We are united by a Gospel too great and a mission too urgent to let any lesser thing stand in our way,” Greear said.

My comment: Choosing unity versus truth? How very sad! Just what is the “mission” of the SBC? Is it to reach the world for Christ, or is it to remain large, and politically relevant?

The next article might give us a good indication.

Southern Baptists are going to need a bigger tent (from “Religious News Service”)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) The Southern Baptist Convention was so famously insular for so long that it earned its own joke about members believing they’re the only ones in heaven…

 But over the past decade that began to change:

 They began reaching out to other evangelical churches and to Roman Catholics on issues of common interest, a collaborative spirit that landed three Southern Baptists in top leadership roles at nondenominational evangelical universities…

My comment: What the Southern Baptists have in common with Roman Catholics is works for salvation theology. This is nothing new. It is just that the world’s religions are coalescing, as is prophesied in scripture.

And, here is a quote from Mike Glenn, pastor of the 10,000-member Brentwood Baptist Church in Tennessee:

“Several years ago, when we were so actively politically engaged, there were times when statements would be made by Southern Baptist leaders, and we would have to say, ‘They don’t represent us,’” Glenn said. “I think there was a sobering up about the realities of the political process. The Southern Baptist Convention had put a lot of eggs in the conservative Republican political system and got very little in return.”

My comment: What kind of “return” were they seeking? In my view, this statement betrays the latent – or blatant – dominionist view that is held by so many Calvinist/Lordship “salvationists.”

My purpose in writing this article was not to delve into partisan politics. Rather, it is a continuation of my call to Christians within churches affiliated with the SBC to understand the damage that this group is doing to the advance and defense of the gospel. It is also to introduce and explain the gospel to those Southern Baptists, and others, who may have never heard, or never understood, the truth of how to have eternal life.

If you are a Christian and belong to an SBC church, I have two words of advice: GET OUT!

And, if you would like to get past the “conventional wisdom” and learn what God has to say about how to have eternal life, please click here: The Gospel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lordship Salvation: The Bad News Bear(er)s

By johninnc

Cambridge Dictionary Online defines the idiom “Throw a Curve Ball” as follows: to surprise someone with something that is difficult or unpleasant to deal with. 

The bad news bearers, those who teach the false gospel of Lordship “salvation,” (LS) metaphorically throw a curve ball by twisting the good news of the gospel into bad news.

If you are not familiar with LS, please see the link below:

Lordship “Salvation” Defined

Following is a straight gospel message, without any LS curve balls:

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 broken God’s laws, and can’t do anything to fix that. Our efforts to work our way back to God are completely useless.

But, 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 reconcile us to Him.

Jesus had no sin of His own, but bore our sin so that we might be reconciled to God. He had no sin and we had no righteousness. 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 it can never be lost or forfeited. God no longer sees believers in their sins, but sees them as perfectly righteous.

That is the good news! We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Ephesians 2:8-9: [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

_______________________________________________________

The bad news bearers turn the good news into bad news by adding conditions to the gospel. They wrap their error in misinterpreted scripture to make it sound biblical.  Following are three common ways that they do this.

False definition of repentance

Luke 13:4-5:[4] Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? [5] I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

The bad news bearers will tell you that repentance means “turning from sin,” “being willing to turn from sin,” “wanting to turn from sin,” and so on. Accordingly, they will misinterpret passages such as the one above to bolster their mistaken belief.

Repent means “a change of mind.” In the above passage, Jesus is challenging His listeners to change their minds regarding their relative goodness. They thought that righteousness was graded on a curve. In other words, these people thought that they would escape God’s judgment because they were not as bad as those who died when the tower fell.

But, Jesus told them they needed to repent – change their minds – and realize that their relative good works would not be good enough to earn eternal life. Our only hope of eternal life is based on Christ’s righteousness, not our own.

Misunderstanding of “straight and narrow”

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

Bad news bearers misunderstand this to mean that someone must live a straight, or relatively straight life, or stay on the path (persevere in faith and good works) in order to demonstrate that they have eternal life.

The actual meaning is that Jesus is the straight way and the narrow gate. Eternal life is received only by believing in Him, and by believing in Him only. No curve balls, just straight truth.

Misunderstanding “the will of my Father”

Matthew 7:21-23: [21] Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Bad news bearers misinterpret this passage to mean that only those who are highly successful in avoiding sin and doing good works will actually make it into heaven.

The passage actually means that only those who believe in Jesus as Savior have done the will of His Father, and are thereby known by Jesus. Those who never believed in Jesus are touting their works at the judgment. Jesus does not negate their claims of good works, nor that they were done in His name.

The common theme of bad news bearers is they will tell you that Jesus is necessary for eternal life, but that He is not sufficient for eternal life.

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

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

If you would like more information about the good news of eternal life please click here: THE GOSPEL