Saturday, November 29, 2008

Adventures in Evangelism

Wow! I can't believe it's been 45 days since my last post! Oh well - here goes! Better late than never. 

I am committing myself to posting on, at least, a biweekly basis in the future. My goal is to do weekly updates, but I will commit in the beginning to - at least - biweekly ones. A good friend and supporter of ours commented recently on a frivolous e-mail I sent out to all of our ministry partners (financial supporters) and e-letter recipients . . . that he would much prefer to get ministry news from us rather than seemingly irrelevant e-mails. As the recent presidential election approached, he had also asked to not receive any more e-mails questioning the moral qualifications and standards of one of the candidates (Guess who!) in the interest of receiving more ministry info. Although I like to influence people - in a positive way, of course - via what I consider to be relevant e-mails, I have heard his "cry" and will give more attention to his request via weekly and biweekly posts, based on e-mails I will send out to my list.

You know, when you haven't made a commitment to update people regularly on how God is using you, several things can (and in my case, do) happen. First, you forget the details. At an age when, as my mother calls them, "senior moments" are becoming more and more frequent, I realize I cannot afford not to record what has happened as close to the events as possible. Of course, it helps to have a wife with a tremendous capacity to remember details, but I need to tell her those details first for her to be able to remember them, right? But, the safest route is to write them down.

Another result of not updating people regularly, thus forcing one to record those updates regularly, is that an opportunity is lost to bless regularly the people who most deserve to know what's going on: those who have made a commitment to invest regularly in your ministry.

One more thing that happens as a result of not updating people regularly on your ministry is that you forget what God has done! As I read the Old and New Testaments, I see narrative texts. Why has God chosen to not just give us commands and leave it at that? I believe it is because these accounts are meant to be a perpetual reminder of how He worked in and through His people. They served as a reminder to those in and through whom He had worked, not to mention to future generations. These accounts are more than simple stories. They were put there to motivate us to continue in our faithfulness to a miracle-working God!

Okay, so enough introduction. Let's get down to business. Let's talk about Adventures in Evangelism! Amen!

Campus Evangelism
Several encounters come to mind as I reflect back on my campus evangelism over this past semester. In this post I will highlight only one, saving the others for future posts - assuming my memory won't fail me!

Each week I meet individually - outside of our group times, of course - with at least eight of the nine guys I'm discipling, representing 3 different universities here in the Greater Rio de Janeiro area. One of those guys is Eric, a third-year Law School student at one of Brazil's most prestigious Law Schools (note: One can enter Law School right out of high school here, as in most other countries around the world. The same goes for Med School!). Eric also uses Ray Comfort's The Evidence Bible, and I've noticed its influence on him when we're sharing our faith together.

On this particular occasion, we got talking to two freshmen - a guy and a girl. It turned out the girl was from out of state and had a Protestant church upbringing. A girl involved in our ministry by the name of Francine "just happened" to come by, so we introduced her to the freshman and I believe they are meeting regularly for bible study/discipleship now.

The guy was a whole other story! He proudly stated that he was a Spiritist (Brazil is the largest Spiritist nation in the world. Spiritism promotes reincarnation, self-redemption, good works and contact with the spirits of dead relatives.). He took issue with the Christian assertion that a a loving God would send people to hell who had never had a chance to come to Jesus. I assured him that God would never send anyone to hell for not having heard of Jesus. He would send them to hell because they had sinned and broken His laws. He tried to argue his point more, but seemed somewhat satisfied when I told him about the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), that God has sent his followers into all the world to preach the gospel. Then I tried to "turn the tables" on him and told him that we were not just concerned about those who had never heard of Christ, but we were concerned about his soul too. He smiled and said we needn't worry about him, that he was "okay." I asked, "Really?" He tried to justify himself, affirming that God was a loving, forgiving God. 

I reminded him that his wishful thinking regarding Jesus - that He only emphasized love and forgiveness - was not based on the Gospel accounts. I told him that the Gospels only mention God's love for humanity in 6 verses, while mentioning His wrath, coming judgement, hell and condemnation in 163 verses! In other words, this latter subject is apparently of great concern to God. It should be to us as well. In fact, the Book of Acts, which gives us various examples of the Early Church's first evangelistic sermons, does not mention God's love once! It's something worth thinking about.

Upon seeing that he had no biblical basis for his erroneous view of God, the student began to take issue with the trustworthiness of the New Testament. When I pointed out to him that his motivation for questioning the veracity of the Bible was rooted in his desire to flee its implications, he returned to his earlier argument about his view of Jesus being different and that he just couldn't accept another view. As he left for class, I reminded him that if his view was wrong, he was going to pay dearly for all eternity. He flashed a nervous smile over his shoulder and entered his classroom. 

Now, some might say I had totally blown it! Think about it! I didn't try to convince him that Jesus offered, as one well-known pastor promises, "Your Best Life Now!" I didn't "close the sale" by trying to get him to "invite Jesus into his heart" at the end of our conversation! I didn't emphasize God's love! Oops!

What I did do was try to plough up the rocky soil of his heart in order to sow the seed of the gospel. As a preacher/friend of mine by the name of Michael Venyah puts it:

Remember James 4:6: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”. If you needed to build a garden for starving people, in a place where the ground was concrete, gently working the ground would do no good; you would need to use a backhoe and a jackhammer and exert force in order to break up the hard ground. But to plant the garden in soft soil, you wouldn’t need a backhoe and jackhammer, just a spade, seed and water, which you could use gently. The Holy Ghost preached hard through me because, as the hearts of all the sinners listening were hardened through their choice to stay in sin, He was resisting them. But, after being cut to the heart by the hard Holy Ghost preaching, when that young man chose to humble himself, the Spirit of God presented grace.

So, sometimes we need to be confrontational even in our personal evangelism. God wants His truth to penetrate hearts, but those hearts need to be softened by means of God's ordained tool: His Law - and the consequences of breaking it. This is the biblical way, not to mention the way of evangelists throughout the centuries. Somehow the Church decided to try to improve on God's way in the 20th Century, only emphasizing God's love vs. God's holiness and justice. What we see today is something like 80%+ of Americans claiming to be born-again Christians! There is no way! This is the product of what Ray Comfort calls modern evangelism. May we return to our roots, the roots of biblical evangelism! Amen!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Adventures in Street Preaching

A few weeks back I confronted the debauchery near Itaipu Beach (Niterói, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil). I found out there was to be a "micareta" (an off-season "Carnaval" - or Mardi Gras) that afternoon and evening, so I went "alone" (but not without God) to take a stand for the Truth as people headed out. Got lots of jeers and mock "conversions," but they heard. A local church called Bola de Neve (Snow Ball) Church had about 20 youth handing out tracts ahead of me, so everyone got a "double whammy" that night! I am also starting to preach weekly with a local pastor who preaches "repent & believe" too!

I preached after a missions conference speaking engagement this past Saturday (9/13) with 4 others, and a merchant marine from Fortaleza sat and listened for at least 30 minutes. He told me after that what I was preaching was really "messing" with him, but he had been away from his family for 5 months and was finding it hard to be in that area due to the prostitution. We invited him to the evening service at the nearby church and told him to go over to the Plaza Shopping to get away from the temptation. He agreed and left. I don't always get to see results, but I'm praying that this guy - Flávio - will run to the cross now that the hard ground of his heart has been plowed up by God's Law.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"The Rescue Shop" in Action!

I've come a long way in my Christian walk, as hopefully you have too. What I find fascinating is that, unlike the majority of the so-called "Believers" out there, I have come out of a somewhat "don't-you-dare-use-your-legalism-on-me" mentality - and practice - and have adopted a more radical approach to Christianity. I mean, I am sick and tired of a Christianity that allows its followers to do practically anything in the name of "grace" and because of 1 John 1:9.

But it really all started when I took a little test on my "style of evangelism," put out by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittleberg in their book Becoming a Contagious Christian. Discovering my "confrontational" and "intellectual" styles propelled me into a new world - the world of open air preaching!  And I love it! Sure, the visible results aren't so readily visible, but knowing that God is using you to sow the truth of His Word in hearts that just happen to be passing by is reward enough. After all, I can't save anybody anyway. That's God's job. My job is to simply, clearly and faithfully proclaim the Word, leaving the results to God.

I really took the plunge into open air preaching after last fall's Southeastern Open Air Preachers Association conference - - which dispelled a lot of myths that even I had of this ministry. I remember conversing with several students - some Christians - at Georgia Tech during one of afternoons of open air ministry and basically trying to give a defense of the message and the method. I remember thinking, "My approach would be more intellectual if I were preaching!" After seeing the convicting power of God's Spirit through an appeal to the conscience - that even those students couldn't avoid, in spite of the foolish ideas they were assimilating on campus - I saw the wisdom of circumventing the mind - somewhat, at least - and going for the conscience. Intellectual arguments will never save people, and a wise evangelist will look for and take the first opportunity to appeal to the conscience after first appealing to the intellect.

The light clicked on as to why open air preachers, whether the be preaching on campus or on a street corner, preach God's judgement so readily. You see, Jesus hates sin (Heb. 1:9). If our God hates sin, shouldn't we? And if we hate what God hates, in the face of it what will we say? "God loves you?" I would suggest, "God hates all workers of iniquity" (Psalm 5:5). That will sober a group up really quick! Hard words? You bet. Biblical? You bet too!

So, I got back to Brazil after that conference last fall and discovered the 12th annual Rio de Janeiro Gay Pride Parade was scheduled in just two weeks. My wife was going to be out of the country during that time, so I made my preparations to preach unbeknownst to her. I certainly didn't want to worry her unnecessarily!

To make a long story short, I preached my first "sin event" with the help of two other brothers, one of whom was a policeman. We weren't physically attacked, but were confronted by several people, including a guy who had a curse put on me via cell phone and a guy who called me a clown and told me to go back to where I had come from. We had strategically positioned ourselves at the arrival point for the majority of the revelers, who arrived about every 5 minutes by subway on famous Copacabana Beach. Both banners that I had made up were put to good use, always directed toward the arriving revelers. My bullhorn followed suit.

It was good start. One of the banners specifically confronted homosexuality and its link to AIDS and God's judgement.  The other banner, that we held high on a paint roller extension pole, quoted Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. This second banner has proved invaluable in all different types os preaching situations - specifically the 1 Cor. passage. I used it while preaching in front of bars and to Carnival (i.e., Mardi Gras) revelers because of its condemnation of drunkenness, alcoholism, fornication and adultery. It's a great "one-verse-catches-all" banner!

A week ago I preached alone at an off-season Carnival celebration in my part of town. I was amazed at the number of people, not to mention the number of police that had to be brought in. It was exciting to see the conviction of sinners by God's written and spoken word! Since I was alone, I was grateful that nobody decided to take a swipe at me. I'm sure being strategically positioned near a police station did help!

A couple of days earlier I tried something totally different: I preached to 200 students who were on a break from meetings promoted by the Landless Movement (Movimento Sem Terra), a socialist movement demanding that unused land be given freely to its members. This movement was holding its annual conference on the university campus in my city, while the attendees slept in tents across the street from campus on municipal property. I'm thinking, "What an opportunity. These youth were from all around the country, and most were college students!

I arrived and set up position near a fence. I opened on my bullhorn with: "You guys are a bunch of hypocrites. You say you want to change the world, but you yourselves need to change! You're a joke!" Well, needless-to-say, that got their attention. Eventually one brave kid came up and began questioning me. He was soon joined by another 9-10. It got pretty heated, and I want to study up some more on how to deal with leftist radicals, but the problem of their sin, its consequences and the good news of Jesus satisfying God's wrath was preached. Most took my evangelistic pamphlets.

One guy was introduced to me as a "believer" who was involved in their Marxist movement. He proudly told me that he had even prepared to become a missionary to Africa, but he had come to see that the most important needs that man has are physical. I confronted him in no uncertain terms, telling him that he never had been a Christian because a Christian knows that the most important need that man has is a spiritual one. I then quoted 2 Cor. 13:5 to him: "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?"

Okay, I think that's about all I'll be able to share tonight. Let me finish by saying that open air ministry, especially preaching, is where it's at! If you haven't tried it, pair up with somebody and go for it at some busy event or on a busy sidewalk. You may get the ball rolling by simply reading a verse or passage - I recommend Rom. 1:18-32 - and expounding on it a bit. Or try 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Before you know it, God will bring verses and arguments to mind. You can also pick up a lot of pointers by watching open air preaching videos on YouTube.

Okay, that'll have to do it for tonight!

The Bible's "Dirty Little Secret"

The following excerpt is a reminder of how politically incorrect the Bible can be! We Christians can actually find ourselves embarrassed regarding such ideas, avoiding at all cost getting into conversations on such topics with non-Christians. You might say, to the "God-only-loves-you" Christian, this is the Bible's "dirty little secret." It's sad that a truly converted Christian would have this reaction toward parts of God's Word. God's Word is God's Word - all of it! Let's let the master preacher give us some insight into why we should actually get excited about the wrath of God! That's right...I said "excited!"  Read on!

This is famed English preacher Charles Spurgeon's exposition of Psalm 119:118-120.

Verse 118: "Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood."

There is no holding up for them; they are thrown down and then trodden down, for they choose to go down into the wandering ways of sin. Sooner or later, God will set his foot on those who turn their foot from his commands: it has always been so, and it always will be so to the end.

If the salt has lost its savour, what is it fit for but to be trodden under foot? God puts away the wicked like dross, which is only fit to be cast out as dung and to be trodden down.

"For their deceit is falsehood."
They call it farseeing policy, but it is absolute falsehood, and it shall be treated as such. Ordinary men call it clever diplomacy, but the man of God calls a spade a spade, and declares it to be falsehood, and nothing less; for he knows that it is so in the sight of God.

Men who err from the right road invent pretty excuses with which to deceive themselves and others, and so attempt to quiet their consciences and maintain their credit; but their mask of falsehood is too transparent.

God treads down falsehoods; they are only fit to be spurned by his feet, and crushed into the dust. How horrified will those be who have spent all their lives in contriving a confectionery religion, when they see it all trodden upon by God as a sham which he cannot endure.

"Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies." 

He does not trifle with them, nor handle them with kid gloves. No, he judges them to be the scum of the earth, and he treats them accordingly by putting them away.

He puts them away from his church, away from their honors, away from the earth, and at last away from himself. "Depart," saith he, "ye cursed."

If even a good man feels forced to put away the evil-doers from him, much more must the thrice holy God put away the wicked. They looked like precious metal, they were intimately mixed up with it, they were laid up in the same heap; but the Lord is a refiner, and every day he removes some of the wicked from among his people, either by making a shameful discovery of their hypocrisy or by consuming them from off the earth.

They are put away as dross, never to be recalled. As the metal is the better for losing its alloy, so is the church the better for having the wicked removed.

These wicked ones are '"of the earth"' — '" the wicked of the earth,'" and they have no right to be with those who are'" not of the world'"; the Lord perceives them to be out of place and injurious, and therefore he puts them away, all of them, leaving none of them to deteriorate his people.

The process will one day be perfected; no dross will be spared, no gold will be left impure.

Where shall we be when that great work is finished? Shall we be treasured with the gold, or trodden down with the dross?

"Therefore I love thy testimonies."

Even the severities of the Lord excite the love of his people.

If he allowed men to sin with impunity, he would not be so fully the object of our loving admiration. He is glorious in holiness because he thus rids his kingdom of rebels, and his temple of them that defile it.

In these evil days, when God's punishment of sinners has become the butt of a proud skepticism, we may regard it as a mark of the true man of God that he loves the Lord none the, less, but: a great deal the more, because of his condign judgment of the ungodly.

We greatly value those passages of Scripture which are most terrible in their denunciation of sin and sinners. We love those testimonies which foretell the overthrow of evil and the destruction of the enemies of God.

A God more lenient would be a God less loving and less loved.

Holy hearts love best a perfectly righteous God.

"My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments."

He did not exult over the punishment of others, but he trembled on his own account.

Such was his awe in the presence of the Judge of all the earth, whose judgment he had just now been considering, that he did exceedingly fear and quake.

Familiarity with God breeds a holy awe of him.

Even the grosser part of David's being, his flesh, felt a solemn dread at the thought of offending One so good and great, who would so effectually sever the wicked from among the just. Alas, poor flesh, this is the highest thing to which thou canst attain! Yet this is far better than thy pride when thou dost exalt thyself against thy Maker.

"And I am afraid of thy judgments."

God's words of judgment are solemn, and his deeds of judgment are terrible; they may well make us afraid.

At the thought of the Judge of all:
• his piercing eye
• his books of record
• his day of assize
• his awful sentence
• and the execution of his justice we may well cry for cleansed thoughts, and hearts, and ways, lest his judgments should light on us.

When we see the great Refiner separating the precious from the vile, we may well feel a godly fear, lest we should be put away by him, and left to be trodden under his feet. Even his judgments, as we find them written in the word, fill us with trembling; and this becomes to us an evidence of grace.

But what will the judgments themselves be when carried into effect? Oh the trembling and the fear which will be the eternal portion of those who run upon the bosses of Jehovah's; buckler and defy his wrath!

So, what do you think? Heavy duty? You bet, but I dare you to show me any biblical inconsistency in Spurgeon. So, let's let God be God and learn to accept Him as He is revealed in ALL of God's Word. And let's be humbled, in this particular case, over His mercy toward us. And finally, let's be motivated by God's wrath. The existence of God's wrath clearly indicates that God is holy, righteous and just and that He is against everything unholy, unrighteous and unjust. If he weren't holy, righteous and just, He would have nothing to get mad about, right? So, I thank God that He is what He is, recognizing in His wrath a implicit recognition of His character. Think about it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Urgency of Preaching

"And how will they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14)

I have a concern. The Church will always be afflicted by false teachers and false teaching. However, how well the Church deals with this is greatly dependent on how well-taught it is. Despite all of our worship service "advances" - including PowerPoint presentations, pastors and their wives sitting on the edges of king-size beds to "talk frankly about sex" with their congregations, dirt bikes jumping over the pulpit and pastor from one mound of dirt to another, etc. - we have an increasingly anemic Church to show for them. We are more susceptible than ever to error in an age when a simple internet search will reveal from a myriad of sources the heresy taught in the name of Christianity. For this reason I have copied and pasted an excellent little article by Dr. Al Mohler here, because I couldn't say it any better. Be challenged!

Source: Dr. Albert Mohler •

Has preaching fallen on hard times? An open debate is now being waged over the character and centrality of preaching in the church. At stake is nothing less than the integrity of Christian worship and proclamation.

How did this happen? Given the central place of preaching in the New Testament church, it would seem that the priority of biblical preaching should be uncontested. After all, as John A. Broadus--one of Southern Seminary's founding faculty--famously remarked, "Preaching is characteristic of Christianity. No other religion has made the regular and frequent assembling of groups of people, to hear religious instruction and exhortation, an integral part of Christian worship."

Yet, numerous influential voices within evangelicalism suggest that the age of the expository sermon is now past. In its place, some contemporary preachers now substitute messages intentionally designed to reach secular or superficial congregations--messages which avoid preaching a biblical text, and thus avoid a potentially embarrassing confrontation with biblical truth.

A subtle shift visible at the onset of the twentieth century has become a great divide as the century ends. The shift from expository preaching to more topical and human-centered approaches has grown into a debate over the place of Scripture in preaching, and the nature of preaching itself.

Two famous statements about preaching illustrate this growing divide. Reflecting poetically on the urgency and centrality of preaching, the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter once remarked, "I preach as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men." With vivid expression and a sense of gospel gravity, Baxter understood that preaching is literally a life or death affair. Eternity hangs in the balance as the preacher proclaims the Word.

Contrast that statement to the words of Harry Emerson Fosdick, perhaps the most famous (or infamous) preacher of this century's early decades. Fosdick, pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City, provides an instructive contrast to the venerable Baxter. "Preaching," he explained, "is personal counseling on a group basis."

These two statements about preaching reveal the contours of the contemporary debate. For Baxter, the promise of heaven and the horrors of hell frame the preacher's consuming burden. For Fosdick, the preacher is a kindly counselor offering helpful advice and encouragement.
The current debate over preaching is most commonly explained as an argument about the focus and shape of the sermon. Should the preacher seek to preach a biblical text through an expository sermon? Or, should the preacher direct the sermon to the "felt needs" and perceived concerns of the hearers?

Clearly, many evangelicals now favor the second approach. Urged on by devotees of "needs-based preaching," many evangelicals have abandoned the text without recognizing that they have done so. These preachers may eventually get to the text in the course of the sermon, but the text does not set the agenda or establish the shape of the message.

Focusing on so-called "perceived needs" and allowing these needs to set the preaching agenda inevitably leads to a loss of biblical authority and biblical content in the sermon. Yet, this pattern is increasingly the norm in many evangelical pulpits. Fosdick must be smiling from the grave.

Earlier evangelicals recognized Fosdick's approach as a rejection of biblical preaching. An out-of-the-closet theological liberal, Fosdick paraded his rejection of biblical inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility--and rejected other doctrines central to the Christian faith. Enamored with trends in psychological theory, Fosdick became liberal Protestantism's happy pulpit therapist. The goal of his preaching was well captured by the title of one of his many books, On Being a Real Person.

Shockingly, this is now the approach evident in many evangelical pulpits. The sacred desk has become an advice center and the pew has become the therapist's couch. Psychological and practical concerns have displaced theological exegesis, and the preacher directs his sermon to the congregation's perceived needs.

The problem is, of course, that the sinner does not know what his most urgent need is. She is blind to her need for redemption and reconciliation with God, and focuses on potentially real but temporal needs such as personal fulfillment, financial security, family peace and career advancement. Too many sermons settle for answering these expressed needs and concerns, and fail to proclaim the Word of Truth.

Without doubt, few preachers following this popular trend intend to depart from the Bible. But under the guise of an intention to reach modern secular men and women "where they are," the sermon has been transformed into a success seminar. Some verses of Scripture may be added to the mix, but for a sermon to be genuinely biblical, the text must set the agenda as the foundation of the message--not as an authority cited for spiritual footnoting.

Charles Spurgeon confronted the very same pattern of wavering pulpits in his own day. Some of the most fashionable and well-attended London churches featured pulpiteers who were the precursors to modern needs-based preachers. Spurgeon--who managed to draw a few hearers despite his insistence on biblical preaching--confessed that "The true ambassador for Christ feels that he himself stands before God and has to deal with souls in God's stead as God's servant, and stands in a solemn place--a place in which unfaithfulness is inhumanity to man as well as treason to God."

Spurgeon and Baxter understood the dangerous mandate of the preacher, and were therefore driven to the Bible as their only authority and message. They left their pulpits trembling with urgent concern for the souls of their hearers and fully aware of their accountability to God for preaching His Word, and His Word alone. Their sermons were measured by power; Fosdick's by popularity.

The current debate over preaching may well shake congregations, denominations, and the evangelical movement. But know this: The recovery and renewal of the church in this generation will come only when from pulpit to pulpit the herald preaches as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.

Conversations with "God?"

I recently became aware of two books - for adults and teens - that make up part of Neale D. Walsch's Conversations with God (CWG) series. The problem with these books starts with their author. Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, wrote back in 2004 regarding Walsch the following:

"The publication of Conversations with God was one of the milestones of the New Age Movement of the 1990s. A former reporter, public relations officer, and radio talk show host, Walsch claimed that God had channeled revelation through him in the form of conversations he was then able to produce in written form. As he tells the story, these events began in 1992 when Walsch was experiencing personal failure and deep unhappiness. Intending to write a letter to God, Walsch claimed to have found his pen 'moving on its own.' The result was Conversations with God--and the rest is publishing history."


Now, I am a missionary in Brazil, and it is quite common to see books being sold in bookstores that have been written in this same manner: the author's pen "moving on its own." In other words, there is no doubt that spirit beings (or demons), masquerading as spirits of the dead, wrote those books. In fact, so prevalent is this kind of "contact with the dead" in Brazilian society that accused murderers have been cleared and previously innocent people accused of murder based on the testimony of the "victims" via a Spiritist medium (or New Age channeler). So, it is clear to me the source of Walsch's God, who gives anything but biblical answers in these books.  Walsch's "god" is nothing more than a demonic manifestation, intending to lead people astray by giving answers that they always wanted to hear from God.  

I have been unable to verify Mohler's claim that Walsch's pen was "moving on its own" from other descriptions of how God supposedly spoke to him. However, he admits to hearing a soft voice, writing down - verbatim - what the voice was telling him (and comparing it to dictation) and publishing what was written down without any alterations in his first book, Conversations with God. A red flag went up when I read Mohler's account, but the BIG issue is the totally heretical content of his books.

Look at some of the totally unbiblical things Walsch either says or quotes "God" as saying:

"Conversations with God says very directly in a hundred places that faith in God and faith in your True Identity as One with the Divine is what will allow you to experience the Power of Creation that is yours, that always resides within you."


That's funny! The last time I checked Jesus was one with God (John 10:30). And there's a lot more, I assure you. Take Walsch's answer to a guy who defended the biblically orthodox view of sin, man, the atonement, etc. on his blog:

"The idea that I just expressed runs quite counter to the thoughts shared with us by Don L., who said, in part...

"Most people like to think that 'most people' are generally good. Yet throughout recorded history the world has been a vile place. Why? Because of human behavior. The bible says all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Jesus said 'No one is good except God alone.

"My own thoughts on the above are these: Jesus may have said that 'no one is good except God alone,' but that makes us ALL good -- since we are all part of 'God alone.'

"You see....God is All There Is. There is nothing else but God. And we are all part of that. The statement above from Don L. speaks from the standpoint of what I call Separation Theology. That theology holds that God is 'over there' and we are 'over here,' and never the twain shall meet -- except (if we are lucky) in heaven...if we do what we need to do to 'get there.' In other words, if we are 'saved.'

"Don L. also wrote...

"God made us and we turned away from Him to serve ourselves. With that sin came a curse on the earth (Gen 3:17) and death. Sin is like a cancer that kills the soul. The wages of sin is death. God Himself bore for us the price (Christ took our place on death row. Every inmate who wants to sign his name as 'belonging to Christ' can walk off of death row.). Not all will.

"I want to ask you, Don....Why did we do that? Why did we 'turn away from God' to serve ourselves? Were we made by God to be so inept, so unable to judge what is in our own best interests, that we saw our interests best served by turning away from our Maker? And why would turning away from God place a curse upon the earth? And upon people who were not even born yet, did not even exist yet? Why would that be so, Don? Explain to me why God would visit His curse upon even the unborn? What kind of a God is this, anyway?

"Good heavens, Don....Christ took our place ON DEATH ROW???? Why were we condemned to 'death' to begin with? Or, perhaps more to the point, why were we allowed to be BORN to begin with??? Did God give us birth, as imperfect beings, just to give us death???? Why not just leave us 'dead' to begin with, and get it over with?"


Now I will quote Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family regarding Walsch's CWG for Teens, which uses questions for God from real teens:

"For instance (and I paraphrase), when a girl asks the question 'Why am I a lesbian?' His (God's) answer is that she was 'born that way' because of genetics (just as you were born right-handed, with brown eyes, etc.). Then he tells her to go out and 'celebrate' her differences. 

"Another girls poses the question 'I am living with my boyfriend. My parents say that I should marry him because I am living in sin. Should I marry him?'

"His (God's) reply is, 'Who are you sinning against? Not me, because you have done nothing wrong.'

"Another question asks about God's forgiveness of sin. His reply is: 'I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive. There is no such thing as right or wrong and that is what I have been trying to tell everyone, do not judge people. People have chosen to judge one another and this is wrong, because the rule is 'judge not lest ye be judged.'"

Now, I hope it is obvious how warped these answers are. Unfortunately, they must not seem that warped to a lot of people because millions of books have been sold around the world. People are so quick to jump on the bandwagon of error when that error agrees with their own erroneous views of God, man, sin, one's eternal destiny, etc. Sad.

On the other hand, what we are seeing is the outworking of Romans 1:18-32, which says:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not [a]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."

Now is it not obvious that Neale D. Walsch is living out this passage? I mean, look at what he says "God" is supposedly saying.  According to Walsch, God and the Gay Rights Movement seem to be in agreement! But, the one, true God, the God of the Bible, predicted such foolishness nearly two thousand years ago in verse 32: "And although they know the ordinance of God (because God's Law is written on their heart, according to Rom. 2:15), that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."

Give me a break, Neale! Your foolish heart has been darkened! You have become a fool, a demon's pawn in the New Spirituality board game! That's all you are, Neale: the devil's pawn! That "soft voice" you heard could have even been an angel's, but Paul says it is to be accursed (Gal. 1:8)! I feel sorry for you, Neale! You've been duped by the all-time master LIAR, Satan. Wake up and smell the brimstone, repenting of your rebellious folly before it's too late. Those 5 million + readers of your books will want to get a piece of you as they descend past you into the furthest depths of the hell you denied existed. But you probably won't give a rip, because the pain you'll be feeling then will be the only thing on your mind. Wake up, fool!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


In an earlier post I pointed out why I believe in the doctrine of eternal security. Having said that, I also recognize that this doctrine encounters some difficulties in Scripture, as does the opposing view. This post is meant to deal with some of the most common objections raised against the doctrine. Hope this helps you as much as it did me!

(I found the following summary of the doctrine of "Eternal Security" on the following website: I figure, "Why reinvent the wheel?" The work's been done, so I'll point everyone to the source. The following is a portion of a study on this doctrine from the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity, copyright 1994):

Now to some of the passages most frequently used to undermine Eternal Security:

MATTHEW 7:21 "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." This has nothing to do with a believer losing his salvation. The main point of the verse is that false converts exist in the Church. Then Jesus contrasts the false convert with a true convert. To do the will of the Father is certainly not the way to Heaven. It is the evidence of genuine faith in Christ; it is the proof of regeneration.

MATTHEW 8:11-12 "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." The “children of the kingdom” here are the Jews in the nation Israel. One of the key teachings of the Gospels is the rejection of Jesus Christ by His own people, the Jews. Time and again Christ warns and rebukes the Jews and their leaders, but most of them reject him. The first half of Matthew, in particular, documents this fearful situation.

MATTHEW 25:1-13 "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." The parable of the ten virgins is given in the context of Christ’s coming and of the establishment of the kingdom of God in Israel (see Matt. 25:31-34). The foolish virgins are not true believers but are unbelievers who knew about Christ’s return but did not act on it. (1) They didn’t have any oil (vv. 3,4), but the oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. (2) They wait until it is too late to obtain salvation (v. 9). In light of everything the New Testament promises to the child of God, the foolish virgins MUST be those who are unsaved. To interpret this otherwise is to throw multitudes of clear Scriptures into confusion.

MATTHEW 25:14-30 "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (1) The man’s concept of the Lord shows that he is a lost man. He considered the Lord “an hard man” who reaped where He had not sown. It is obvious that he did not know the blessed Lord Jesus Christ! The Lord is exactly the opposite of how this man described Him. He is gracious and merciful and patient and meek and lowly in heart; He gives us MUCH more than we deserve. The fact that this man is called a servant does not mean necessarily that he is saved. The Jews are called the Lord’s servants, but they were not all saved (Is. 43:10). (2) The man’s destiny also shows that he is a lost man. He is cast into outer darkness, which is a description of hell (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13). Nowhere in Scripture is a child of God said to be in outer darkness. The Bible says believers are children of light and are not of darkness (1 Thess. 5:5). (3) Further, the weeping and gnashing of teeth are associated with eternal damnation and Hell (Matt. 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; Luke 13:28). It is not wise to establish doctrine upon parables. The parables have one central point, and if you try to push every detail of the parable you can have all sorts of doctrinal problems.

JOHN 15:6 "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." This passage does not say that a true believer will be cast into Hell; it says that the person who proves not to be a true believer will be cast into Hell. Those who teach that this applies to a true believer read that interpretation into it. The rest of John’s Gospel makes this matter very plain. Consider John 1:12,13; 3:14-18,36; 4:14; 5:25; 6:37,40,47; 10:27-30; 11:25; 17:2,3; 20:31. Whatever, therefore, the meaning of John 15:6 in reference to the child of God, it CANNOT mean that the true believer will be rejected and cast into Hell. That would make the promises of Jesus Christ to the believer into a lie. Christ is referring here to the difference between sincere and insincere, true and false believers. He mentions such a thing in other passages in John’s Gospel. Consider John 2:23-25 and 6:64. John 15 is a warning that the evidence of true faith in Christ is to bear fruit for His glory.

ROMANS 11:19-23 "Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again." Consider the context: Paul is not addressing the subject of personal salvation. He is addressing the matter of the Jews and their place in the program of God. Paul is speaking in a general sense of Gentiles and of the Jewish nation. Today God has turned temporarily from the Jews and is calling a people for His name from among the Gentile nations. The day will come when God will again turn to the Jewish nation to fulfill His promises to them. Verses 24-26 make this plain. Paul is speaking in a general sense, not in a personal sense. A careful reading of this chapter illustrates this.

1 CORINTHIANS 9:27 "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." The context here is not Paul’s salvation, but his Christian service. Paul was concerned that he would be castaway in the sense that he would be put on a shelf in this life or that his service would be rejected or disapproved at the judgment seat of Christ. The same Greek word is translated “rejected.” Paul was not afraid that he would be lost. In the same epistle he taught that Christ preserves the believer (1:7-9). What he feared was falling short of God’s high calling for his life. The context makes this plain. He is talking about running a race and winning a prize. To confuse this passage with salvation is to misunderstand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Salvation is not a reward for faithful service. The Bible plainly states that salvation is by grace, and grace is the free, unmerited mercy of God (Eph. 2:8-9). Anything that is merited or rewarded, is not grace (Romans 11:6). On the other hand, after we are saved by the marvelous grace of God, we are called to serve Jesus Christ. We are created in Christ Jesus “unto good works” (Eph. 2:10). If a Christian is lazy and carnal, he will be chastened by the Lord (Heb. 12:6-8), and if he does not respond, God will take him home (Rom. 8:13; 1 Cor. 11:30; 1 John 5:16).

PHILIPPIANS 2:12 "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." This verse does not say that the child of God must work FOR or work UP his salvation; it says he must work OUT his salvation. These are very different things. To work up or to work for my salvation would mean that I have a part in my salvation and that unless I do my part, I will not be saved. On the other hand, to work out my salvation means God has given me eternal salvation as a free gift in Jesus Christ, and it is His will that I obey Him, not in order to save myself or in order to help God save me, but BECAUSE I am already saved. Verse 13 makes this clear, that it is God who provides the complete salvation. Obedience, holy living is the evidence of salvation. The Christian life is a miracle of God that is wrought from within. The power of the Christian life is the indwelling Holy Spirit, but the Christian is not passive. He is to be controlled by the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), to be led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14), to walk after the Spirit (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 6:25), to mind the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5).

PHILIPPIANS 3:9-14 "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." How do we know that verse 11 is not referring to gaining one’s salvation through diligent effort? (1) The context is referring not to Paul’s salvation, but to his calling. He endeavored to fulfill God’s perfect will for his life. Verses 10 and 14 leave no question about the meaning of the passage. To divorce it from the context, claiming that Paul was unsure that he possessed eternal salvation, denies the plain teaching of Scripture and throws the Bible into contradictory confusion. (2) Paul said he was trying to earn a “prize” (Phil. 3:14), whereas salvation is a “gift” to be enjoyed (Ephesians 2:8,9). (3) We know that Paul was not stating in Philippians 3 that he was unsure he would be raised from the dead, because in this very epistle and elsewhere he emphasized the certainty of resurrection and the eternal security of the believer (Ph. 2:20,21; 1:6; 1 Cor. 15:51-58).The Lord Jesus Christ promised resurrection to every believer (John 11:25,26). (4) Philippians 3:11 is explained in 1 Timothy 6:12 and 2 Peter 1:10-11, which teach that we “lay hold on eternal life” and prepare an abundant entrance into Christ’s eternal kingdom by our service for Christ in this world. It is speaking of rewards and crowns.

JAMES 2:24 "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." Roman Catholics, Cultists, and others who deny the Gospel of the Grace of Jesus Christ, love to run to James 2:24 to “prove” that salvation is not by Christ’s grace alone through faith alone, but that works are necessary. Consider the following three observations:

First, context is crucial in understanding any Bible passage. To ignore context is to fill the Bible with contradictions. James was not addressing salvation; he was addressing the Christian life. Note verse 14 --— “my brethren...” He is contrasting dead faith with true biblical faith (verses 14-17). “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (verse 14). He is saying that true faith is evident by works. Paul, on the other hand, addresses salvation directly in the book of Romans. The sinner must trust exclusively in the grace of Jesus Christ for salvation. “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Romans 4:4-6). There is no contradiction if one considers the context of each statement. Paul is addressing the unsaved sinner’s perspective. The sinner must trust Jesus Christ exclusively for salvation; he must reject his own filthy works (Isaiah 64:6) and all self-righteousness (Romans 9:30-33) and lean totally upon the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting wholly in His perfect and complete redemption. James, on the other hand, is addressing the Christian’s perspective. The Christian claims to have faith in Jesus Christ. He is therefore to diligently serve God and to walk in His commandments. Those who live in rebellion and who ignore the Word of God demonstrate that they do not possess true saving faith, that they are deceiving themselves.

Second, James and Paul are addressing two different events in Abraham’s life. Paul, in Romans 4:1-4, refers to Abraham’s salvation which occurred early in his life and which is recorded in Genesis 15:5-6. James, on the other hand, refers to Abraham’s testing which occurred 20 years later (James 2:21-24; Genesis 22:1-18). Abraham was saved by faith without works, but his salvation and his faith were EVIDENCED and DEMONSTRATED by his obedience.

Third, James’ teaching is no different from that of the other Apostles. They all taught that true faith produces works. Consider the classic passage in Ephesians 2:8-10 -- “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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” This passage puts faith and works in their proper order. It is faith alone which connects us with the free salvation offered in Jesus Christ. This salvation is a gift. Our works have nothing to do with it, and cannot add to the completed salvation in Jesus Christ. Works, rather, follow after salvation and are the product of it, being created by God in the believing sinner. Consider also Titus 3:4-8; Hebrews 6:9; 10:39; 1 John 3:6; 3 John 11. This is exactly what James teaches. He says there are two kinds of faith: saving faith and false faith. The devils have faith but not saving faith (v. 19).

Some will counter that it is not important how one puts these things together. One man says works follow salvation; another says works are a part of salvation. What is the difference? The difference is ENORMOUS. It is the difference between Saved and Lost, between Heaven and Hell. If I think that my works and my righteousness and my obedience and my law-keeping is a part of salvation, even a tiny part of salvation, I am denying the perfect sufficiency of Jesus Christ and of His Atonement. “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). I cannot add one iota to this perfect salvation which is freely offered through Jesus Christ. “Being justified FREELY by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). If works or church sacraments or law keeping are required in any sense whatsoever for salvation, it is not FREE and the Bible is a lie. To add anything to the gospel of the grace of Christ is to bring God’s curse (Gal. 1:6).

1 PETER 1:9 "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." First, let us consider what this verse does not mean. It does not mean salvation is a process or that salvation is uncertain. The context overthrows such teaching. Verses 3-5 tells us that the believer’s salvation is settled and sure. The believer is born again, has a lively hope, possesses an inheritance that is already reserved in heaven, and is kept by God’s power. When the Bible speaks of the believer’s hope, it uses the term differently than the way hope is commonly used today. The believer’s hope has no element of uncertainty. In Hebrews 6:18-19 it is described as “a strong consolation” and “an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” The reason the believer has such confidence and security is that his salvation is completely dependent upon Jesus Christ and has nothing to do with his own works. What does the verse mean, then? Two of its wonderful teachings are these: (1) Salvation has evidence (Heb. 10:38,39). True faith works. Salvation is by grace alone through faith in Christ without works (Eph. 2:8-9), but salvation also produces the fruit of good works (Eph. 2:10). (2) Salvation has different aspects. There is a past, present, and future aspect to salvation. The believer has been saved from the eternal consequences of sin; he is being saved from the power of sin in this earthly existence; and in his future heavenly home he will have been saved from the very presence of sin. When 1 Peter 1:19 says the believer will receive salvation as the end product of his faith, this is what it is referring to. It does not imply that his salvation is uncertain until the end.

1 PETER 4:18 "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" The righteous are scarcely saved in the sense that salvation is impossible apart from God’s free gift through Jesus Christ. If judged by our earthly lives, if judged by our works, we will all perish. Even the righteous lives of born again Christians fall far short of the glory of Christ and the holiness God requires of us. Our only hope is the righteousness of Christ which is offered to us as a free, unmerited gift (2 Cor. 5:21). Even the righteousness of the religious Pharisees was insufficient (Matt. 5:20). God requires perfect obedience to His law, and no man can attain to that. Thus salvation must be a gift of God’s righteousness provided through Jesus Christ.

2 PETER 2:20-22 "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." Though this passage is often used to prove that eternal security is not true, it actually says nothing about losing ones salvation. The context is false teachers who promote damnable heresies and deny the Lord (v. 1). It should be obvious that it is not saved men who are the focus on this passage, but hypocrites and deceivers. Any interpretation which says these are saved men who lose their salvation flies in the face of the context. The fact that “the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” and “it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness” does not imply that they were saved and now are lost. They were dogs and pigs who were unchanged (v. 22). The fact that they return to their wickedness proves that they were never regenerate. When the context is taken into account, there really is no problem in this passage in regard to the doctrine of eternal security.

HEBREWS 6:4-6 "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." This passage refers to false believers. How do we know? (1) They tasted but they did not drink and eat (contrast John 6:54). (2) Those who fall away cannot be saved again. This shows the error of those who teach that a believer can lose his salvation. (3) The difference between the true believer and the false is the fruit and the evidence (vv. 7,8). (4) Paul plainly states that he is not referring to true believers (v. 9).

HEBREWS 10:26-29 "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" The willful sin in verse 26 refers not to sin in general, but to one particular sin which is described in the rest of the passage. The Bible plainly teaches us that Christians do sin after they are saved (1 John 1:8-10; 2:1-2). There is no sinless perfection in the Christian life. Our perfection and righteousness is in Jesus Christ positionally (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21). The sin for which there is no forgiveness is the sin of “counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing.” This means to deny that salvation is by Christ’s blood and grace alone. In the immediate context to which the book of Hebrews was addressed, it refers to the Jews who professed confidence in Christ; but, because of pressure and persecution, returned to their dead religion and thus gave up confidence in Christ. False religion, both then and now, attempts either to replace Christ’s salvation with a manmade system, or to add to Christ’s salvation a manmade system. Catholicism is an example of the latter. It preaches Christ, but it intermingles its own sacraments and priesthood and sainthood with the grace of Christ. This is a false gospel which robs Christ of His glory as the sole Saviour and Mediator. If Christ is not Saviour wholly and exclusively, He is not Saviour at all. If grace is intermingled in any sense with works, the Gospel is perverted, and there is no salvation in a perverted gospel (Rom. 11:6; Gal. 1:6-9).

HEBREWS 12:15-17 "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." To fail of the grace of God does not mean to lose one’s salvation; it means to fall short of being saved. The context makes this plain, as the example given is that of Esau. He was not a believer, though he was born into a believing family. He was a man of the world and cared nothing about the things of God. He thought a bowl of soup was more valuable that his birthright as the son of Isaac.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


When one is rescued from a capsized boat, for example, does it make sense to be taken only part of the way back to shore and then, based on the gratitude you demonstrate toward your rescuers or your performance on the rescue vessel, be thrown back into the water a mile out? Of course not! Many sincere Christians doubt that one can have any permanent assurance of his or her salvation. In other words, Christ's sacrifice paid only one's sins committed up until the day of their conversion via repentance and faith, but nothing more.  It's like your slate of past sins gets wiped clean, and you start over. Like the boat rescue illustration, if you don't measure up after your conversion and die with unconfessed sin, you'll end up being thrown into hell! I find this view problematic both logically and biblically. I will address here why I believe - biblically - in eternal security (or, what's called in Reformed circles the Calvinistic doctrine of "The Perseverance of the Saints").

(I found the following summary of the doctrine of "Eternal Security" on the following website: I figure, "Why reinvent the wheel?" The work's been done, so I'll point everyone to the source. The following is a portion of a study on this doctrine from the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity, copyright 1994):

1. Because of the terms used to describe salvation: “eternal life” (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 5:11); “full assurance” (He. 6:11; Col. 2:2); “strong consolation” (He. 6:18); “hope ... sure and stedfast” (He. 6:19).

2. Because of what we are. All of the following are spoken of in the present tense; this is the present condition of each true believer: (1) Forgiven (Ro. 4:7; 1 Jn. 2:12). (2) Justified (Ro. 5:1,9; Tit. 3:7). (3) Reconciled (Ro. 5:10). (4) Risen with Christ (Ro. 6:3-6; Col. 3:1,2). (5) A child of God forever (Ro. 8:15; Ga. 4:4-7; 1 Jn. 3:1). (6) Sanctified in Christ (1 Co. 1:2). (7) New creation (2 Co. 5:17). (8) Accepted in the beloved (Ep. 1:6). (9) Saved (Ep. 2:8,9; 2 Ti. 1:9). (10) Light in the Lord (Ep. 5:8). (11) Made fit for Heaven (Col. 1:12). (12) Complete in Him (Col. 2:10). (13) Citizens of Heaven (Ph. 3:20). (14) Children of light (1 Th. 5:5). (15) Elect (1 Pe. 1:2). (16) Born again (1 Pe. 1:2,23). (17) Sanctified once for all (He. 10:10). (18) Perfected forever (He. 10:14). (19) Passed from death unto life (1 Jn. 3:14).

3. Because of where we are: (1) In God’s family (Ga. 3:26; 1 Jn. 3:2). (2) Brought near (Ep. 2:13). (3) In the heavenlies with Christ (Ep. 2:5-6). (4) Translated into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13).

4. Because of what we have: (1) Eternal life (Jn. 3:16). (2) Peace with God (Ro. 5:1). (3) An Intercessor in Heaven (Ro. 8:34). (4) All spiritual blessings (Ep. 1:3). (5) Forgiveness of sins (Ep. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 2:13). (6) Sealing of the Holy Spirit (Ep. 1:12-14). (7) Access to God (Ep. 2:18). (8) Everlasting consolation (2 Th. 2:16). (9) Eternal glory (2 Ti. 2:10). (10) Eternal redemption (He. 9:12). (11) Mercy (1 Pe. 2:10). (12) An Advocate with the Father (1 Jn. 2:1-2). (13) Grace (Ep. 2:8).

5. Because of what is past: (1) Condemnation (Jn. 5:24). (2) The law of sin and death (Ro. 8:2). (3) Death and wrath (Col. 3:3; Ro. 6:11; 1 Th. 5:9). (4) Night and darkness (1 Th. 5:5).

6. Because of our promises: (1) Never perish (Jn. 10:27-28). (2) Shall never die (Jn. 11:26). (3) The glory of God (Ro. 5:2). This speaks of Christ’s kingdom glory. (4) Shall be saved from wrath (Ro. 5:9). (5) Glorious liberty of the children of God (Ro. 8:21). (6) Redemption of the body (Ro. 8:23-24; Ph. 3:21). (7) Predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ (Ro. 8:28-29). (8) Cannot be separated from God’s love (Ro. 8:31-39). (9) God shall confirm you unto the end (1 Co. 1:8). (10) He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Ph. 1:6). (11) Shall appear with Christ in glory (Col. 3:3-4). (12) Delivered from the wrath to come (1 Th. 1:10). (13) Not appointed to wrath but to salvation (1 Th. 5:9). (14) Eternal inheritance (He. 9:15). (15) Incorruptible inheritance (1 Pe. 1:4).

I don't know about you, but these verses give me so much hope! Granted, I don't want to have false hope. This is exactly why Paul tells the Corinthian believers to "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Cor. 13:5) We would do well to follow his advice too.

Of course, there are problem passages and verses.  In fact, both views have supporting verses and problem verses. The issue is how well the adopted view deals with the problem verses and passages. This will be dealt with in a subsequent post.


This is my first blogging experience. Why blog? Well, I see this as an opportunity to express my values, hopefully all based on God's Word, the Holy Bible, to a lost and dying world. Whether someone will actually find something useful here remains to be seen. Whether I offer a unique perspective or not really is not the issue. I intend to borrow from other bloggers and websites to offer biblical truth relevant to the Christian and the non-Christian.

Why call this blog "The Rescue Shop?" It is my conviction that, in addition to the fact that 9 out of every 10 people are not considered Evangelicals and thus are most likely not saved from the coming wrath of God due to their sin, up to 50% of any given local congregation is also probably not saved. This is what the Southern Baptists discovered in a study done in 2005.

Now, if the evangelistically-oriented Southern Baptists feel that up to one out of every two church members is a false convert, a tare among the wheat, a goat among the sheep, what does this say about other less evangelistically-oriented denominations?  

A.W. Tozer has said, "It is my opinion that tens of thousands of people, if not millions, have been brought into some kind of religious experience by accepting Christ, and they have not been saved." Tozer had even gone on record as saying that he believed 9 out of 10 members of Evangelical churches were false converts!

Dr. D. James Kennedy stated, "The vast majority of people who are members of churches in America today are not Christians.  I say that without the slightest contradiction.  I base it on empirical evidence of twenty-four years of examining thousands of people."

Could it be that we are guilty of proclaiming a false gospel? Have we avoided the clear call to repentance and faith (Acts 20:21) in favor of a more politically-correct, less-offensive gospel? Have we promised salvation to people if they would just pray "the sinner's prayer?" Are we guilty of giving assurance of salvation to people who have "asked Jesus into their hearts" without any call to repentance?

We all must seriously evaluate our message, the content of our gospel. Does it measure up to the Bible's? I know I used to promise people salvation if they would ask Jesus into their hearts to change their lives. There was no talk of the need to repent from sin and, to top it off, I would try to convince them they were saved because they had "opened the door of their heart" to Jesus, because they now have Jesus in their life (1 John 5:11-13).

It's somewhat understandable, however. Most of us "Evangelicals" have been brought up with this "modern/heretical" gospel, without even realizing it. The biblical gospel has always been preached, but not by the mainstream Evangelical Church. Fundamentalists have preached it all along, but were seen by mainstream Evangelicals as so out of touch that the biblical gospel message they preached was even questioned. Many Reformed brothers and sisters, as far as I can tell, preached a more biblical gospel, but again many joined the ranks of the mainstream Evangelicals in their gospel content.

The result is plain to see: The so-called "Salt & Light" is not performing its God-given role. Instead of "keeping the main thing the main thing," Christians have emphasized meeting felt needs with their "gospel" vs. the real need of salvation from the wrath of God, from God himself! We must, therefore, reevaluate our message. We also need to reevaluate our methods.

We often see, coupled with a watered-down message, a non-confrontational method of getting that gospel to others. I'll grant you that one could, like Bill Hybels did in his book Becoming a Contagious Christian, build a case for differing styles of evangelism. However, most Christians denounce the legitimate, biblical confrontational style (that even seeker-friendly Hybels endorses) as irrelevant and even unbiblical! I find this simply amazing! I mean, let's open our eyes, folks! It may not be your style, but don't try to convince me it's, of all things, unbiblical! On the contrary, you see a greater emphasis on this style, especially the public proclamation of the gospel, throughout the Gospels and the book of Acts, the only New Testament narrative books. Let's wake up and rescue a more proactive approach to our evangelistic method. 

After all, we've received our marching orders from Jesus. People are dying by the boatload and going into a Christ-less eternity - Hell. We have the tool - the Bible. What are we waiting for? Why do we cower in the corner while sinners boldly proclaim their points of view. Could it be that we ourselves aren't saved? Could it be that we are living double lives, living the Christian life on Sunday while we waste the rest of our time on our own pleasures. Do we hunger and thirst after righteousness? If not, we may need to seriously evaluate whether we've ever had a genuine conversion experience. Paul writes to the Corinthian church the following: "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Cor. 13:5 - NASB)

And how about your natural prejudice towards a more confrontational approach to evangelism? Could it be that you do not really believe that it is the gospel that is powerful unto salvation, and not your less-confrontational methods, your slick illustrations, your ability to build relational bridges to the lost, etc.? This is something to think about, at least. Please do, and offer any feedback below.