Apostasy? Sola Scriptura

Posted by Jeffrey K Radt ("JRed") | Posted in , , , , , , , , | Posted on Saturday, December 04, 2010

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I believe it was Charles H. Spurgeon who brilliantly said...

"Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right."

The Christian faith is under attack from within. This "Apostasy?" series is dedicated to defending the truth and contending for the faith from the wolves that have hidden themselves within the flock, to encouraging those who claim to be Christians to begin living a life consistent with Biblical Christianity (or change their name), and to lifting up Jesus Christ because all the glory, honor, and praise is His and His alone.

I pray that this series and other new ones like it will remind us of our higher calling (and higher responsibility) and that it will draw together a community of believers from around the world who are passionate about the same things.

It's time to bring out the "big guns" today, which is to say that I'm going to refrain from speculative, sign-spotting exercises (those "Symbolism Studies") and stand on nothing but 100%, irrefutable truth instead.

If you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about (or if this is your first time reading a study that's part of LUF's "Apostasy?" series) then please don't go any further until you read the introductory disclaimer first by CLICKING HERE.

Actually, on second thought, don't continue reading any further -- and certainly don't even think about commenting in response to this Bible study -- until you've had a chance to read that.

If, by some chance, you're still confused about the intent here, then please follow-up that disclaimer up by reading "Sound Doctrine Rejected In These Last Days" by Alan Yukso who builds an airtight argument around the following verses...

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (KJV) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Titus 1:16 (KJV) They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV) Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

John 3:16-21 (KJV) 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Jude 1:11-13 (KJV) Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds [they are] without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Jude 1:16-18 (KJV) These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

1 John 2:18-19 (KJV) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (KJV) For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Joshua 24:15 (KJV) And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Let's cut to the chase here. These studies are all the same. It all boils down to a separation between the "Wheat" and "Tares", the "Sheep" and "Goats" in this world. Which side are you on at the moment?

It's a very important question and Yusko points out the reasons why...

There is another separation happening right now before the return of the Lord to rapture home His people. The false Christian tares are being exposed. People are choosing sides and aligning themselves with the tares/goats or the wheat/sheep. The false Christian tare is getting real easy to see as they love the same things that Satan loves. They have no heart for sound Biblical doctrine or obedience to the Word of God. Tares/Goats react violently to sound Biblical doctrine as they have no heart for it. They are unteachable and have no desire for a close walk with the Lord.

Sadly, I have seen many people who have aligned themselves in the TARE and GOAT camp while calling themselves Christian. Do they listen to sound Biblical doctrine? No. Do they have a teachable heart and respond in obedience to the Word of God? No. Do they respond to Biblical correction? Yes they do (but in the wrong way - and that way is negative!). The tare responds with rejection, rebellion, and mockery. Just talk to a professing Christian who is addicted to Satan's rock music to see what I mean. Are these people saved? Well, if they stay aligned with the tares/goats in their rebellion then that is an indication they never knew the Lord.

I'm sure there will be some who will nitpick that excerpt to pieces and make an issue out of some part of it. Those who do are missing the point. Focus on his overall message of concern.

See, I want this series to deal with defending the Christian faith from a virtual cornucopia of heresy, damnable lies, cults, false teaching and the lukewarm status quo which is running rampant throughout most American churches today.

Now, I hope you will join me in this pursuit of the only truth that matters -- Biblical truth found in His Word as opposed to any perceived "truth" found in this world from mere men and women.

I hope that you will continue reading the rest of this study today with your Bible open and a line of communication via prayer firmly established with the Lord above. I also hope it goes without saying that you are encouraged to share your comments afterward if you feel moved to.




APOSTASY? SOLA SCRIPTURA


Before we begin, and despite the previous "disclaimers" in the above introduction, I want to further set the proper tone. This is mostly for me, but also for you the reader so that you will know from the outset that I take these kinds of studies very seriously.

Galatians 1:8-9 (KJV) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

These Bible studies will always be written in the form of a question in order to get us to examine the Biblical evidence and then use that evidence to make a conclusion as to whether or not contemporary Christianity's current stance on this subject is a direct fulfillment of the prophesied Apostasy or not.

On the agenda today? What's known as "Sola Scriptura", "Scripture Alone"/index.html"By Scripture Alone", or having to do with the supremacy of Scripture. What about the millions of Christians alive today who do not believe in Sola Scriptura? Are they and their views on Sola Scriptura another clear sign of the Apostasy?

During my recent "run-ins" lately with some fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (not only Catholics, but many other Christians who disagreed with the things I wrote about what God's Word teaches, as if it were a matter of "my opinion" or "faulty interpretation" when really a literal, plain, straightforward reading of His Word makes it clear) I discovered that many don't believe in what's called Sola Scriptura these days.

I guess that shouldn't be too surprising. After all, I do believe we are smack dab in the middle of the prophesied Apostasy (that "falling away" or "rebellion against God") that we read about in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Of course, right? Otherwise, why would I even be doing a series like this then?

But what is Sola Scriptura? Furthermore, why is it an important subject for us to study? How does it connect to the prophesied Apostasy that's underway today (if at all)?

Sola Scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, Sola Scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within, or indirectly by using valid logical deduction, or valid deductive reasoning, from Scripture.

However, Sola Scriptura is not a denial of other authorities governing Christian life and devotion. Rather, it simply demands that all other authorities are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written Word of God. The key implication of the principle is that interpretations and applications of the Scriptures do not have the same authority as the Scriptures themselves. Thus, the ecclesiastical authority is viewed as subject to correction by the Scriptures, even by an individual member of the church. In that sense, it goes hand-in-hand with 2 Timothy 3:16.

As John Wesley stated in the 18th Century, "In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church." Let me rephrase things a bit and summarize so that we can emphasize this critical point.

Sola Scriptura DEMANDS that all religious authorities, leaders, and teachers are SUBORDINATE TO, and are to be CORRECTED BY, the holy and written Scriptures because it is the ultimate authority seeing as how it's the divinely inspired Word of God. Simply put, it is Bible-believing fundamentalism.

For historical purposes, I should point out that Sola Scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers and is a formal principle of Protestantism today. Ironically, that hasn't made the Lutheran church immune to allowing Apostasy to creep in and take residence over the last few years on a number of fronts. But this isn't a pro-Reformation, pro-Lutheran piece.

Sadly, I witnessed other so-called brothers and sisters in Christ mock those of us who have the "nerve" to believe that God's Word as found in the Holy Bible is inerrant. "Inerrant" as in "infallible", which both mean "without error" to clarify. To them, I would kindly issue this rebuttal...

Psalm 1:1-2 (KJV) Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

I'm reminded of another verse that needs to be shared here...

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

God was very clear about the tenacity of His Word: It is forever settled in Heaven (Psalm 119:89), it endures forever (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:25), the smallest letter or stroke of the law shall not pass (Matthew 5:18), and Heaven and earth will pass away before His word does (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 16:17; Luke 21:33).

Yet, the false prophets and false teachers of contemporary Christianity will have you believe that the sovereign God who created and sustains the universe simply could not ensure the preservation of His own Word, but their "new revelation", on the other hand, is accurate and can be trusted in spite of the fact that their doctrines keep being added to, subtracted from, and changing from prophet to prophet, from leader to leader, from teacher to teacher, and from pope to pope.

One surefire way to stand guard against these "false prophets" is to quickly determine whether or not what they teach adheres to Sola Scriptura. If it does, great. If it doesn't, not so great.

I think a good rule of thumb for us whenever we are going to try to determine if a particular denomination or teaching is Biblical or not is to practice the three S's -- consider its Source, consider what it says about the Savior, and consider what it says about Salvation.

Obviously, today's entry deals with the first measuring stick -- the Source of a doctrinal teaching. If it comes from the Scriptures then that's what we're after. If it comes from anything but, any extra-Biblical source, or if it doesn't match what we find in His Word, then that's when we should run from it.

For example, in a commentary titled "Where's That In Scripture?" we find the following spot on analysis of this apostasy in action...

When Roman Catholicism bases its bedrock of authority on an ever-changing position of leadership (just like Mormonism), it never ceases to amaze me what men can dream up. And with no real, fixed, eternal foundation by which to measure all new revelations, decrees, and doctrines, whatever the pope (or a prophet) says must be accepted as truth and cannot be scrutinized or challenged because the people lack a source of unchanging truth.

Without a solid, non-vacillating source of truth to stand on, those who follow the pope (or the prophet) simply get carried along to and fro with every wind of doctrine, resulting in their eternal destruction at the hands of those who promised them peace and safety and assured them that everything was all right.

Examining the claims of any man, even that of the Apostle Paul as the Bereans did in Acts 17 (and were called noble for doing so), is necessary. Without a basis to measure what a man says (and holding him accountable to that standard of measurement) then you are at the mercy of a sinful son of Adam and are entrusting your eternal soul to whatever that man says.

Amen! Amen! Amen!

The Scriptures are for our instruction and to provide hope (Romans 15:4), for teaching (Deuteronomy 11:9; 2 Chronicles 17:9), for equipping Christians for good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and it gives us assurance of salvation (1 John 5:13).

Furthermore, God’s Word is more precious than silver and gold (Psalm 119:72), it’s a lamp, a light, and the way of life (Proverbs 6:23), it’s a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105), it teaches us to fear the Lord (Deuteronomy 17:19), it purifies (Psalm 119:9), it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130), it teaches us so that we can walk in His paths (Isaiah 2:3), it sanctifies (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26), it testifies to Jesus Christ (John 5:39), it leads us to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24), and it judges our thoughts and attitudes (Hebrews 4:12).

When you consider what God’s Word does, you can see why cults and false religions (and their false prophets and false teachers) wish to separate you from it! If they can drive a wedge between you and the Word of God, then they will have successfully separated you from the only source by which to measure truth. Then you are easy prey for their new revelations, their other gospels (Galatians 1:6-9), and their false christs.

Ok, but does this mean we should never listen to what our pastors, preachers, and pope tell us? No, but we should always act like the Bereans. The Bereans were commended for searching the Scriptures to assure that what the Apostle Paul was teaching was accurate (Acts 17:11). A good question for us to ask ourselves is why are these cults and false religions (and their false prophets and false teachers) advising you not to take up the Scriptures to see if what they’re teaching you is true?

Sola Scriptura reflects a careful tension between the clarity of Scripture necessary for its role as final authority, and the occasional need for its meaning to be revealed by careful exposition.

I think we should rely on a marriage of these two passages if we're going to achieve that goal...

Ephesians 4:11-14 (KJV) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Hebrews 5:12 (KJV) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

I hope I was clear on what I mean by that and that the above passages helped explain.

Beyond the Reformation, as in some Baptist and Evangelical denominations, Sola Scriptura is stated even more strongly. It is self-authenticating, clear to the rational reader (sensible to the born again believer), its own interpreter ("Scripture interprets Scripture"), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine.

You might think it's absurd for me to devote an entire post/study to this topic because such statements seem like Christian common sense. Seriously, who would argue with any of this stuff about Sola Scriptura? Believe it or not, Catholics, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists (to name a few), and many other religious groups teach that the Scriptures are not the only infallible source of Christian doctrine. That's why you'll find so many extra-Biblical sources used in the practice of those faiths.

There's only one small problem though. How do any of our dear brothers and sisters in Christ, those who passionately love the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but who belong to one of these apostate faiths and who are being led astray, reconcile such a reality with the following...

Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV) Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12:32 (KJV) What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Proverbs 30:6 (KJV) Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Revelation 22:18 (KJV) For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

You can't reconcile the use of extra-Biblical teachings as "Biblical doctrine" with these verses. You just can't! Then again, these verses will have no impact on those who read them who are deceived because they do not believe in Sola Scriptura in the first place, and so they won't think twice if their church teachings contradict God's Word like I've just demonstrated. That's why we need to earnestly pray for the Lord to open their eyes to the truth of the matter.

Let's stick with this for just a moment because I think it's so important to call attention to it these days. The world’s cults and false religions (and their false prophets and false teachers) have many similarities, and one common thread among them all is their disbelief, distrust, and outright disdain for the Holy Bible. Don't believe me? Please keep reading.

Among these groups, five stand out in my mind. Now, you might be surprised that I include them in this discussion when you consider that they all believe themselves to be Christian, and, as everybody knows, "Christians" believe the Bible...don’t they?

Whether it’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses who discourage individual understanding of the Scriptures...

"Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind."
-- The Watchtower / October 1, 1967 / Page 587

...even going so far as to employ scare tactics that you’ll become apostate for reading the Bible on your own or in a small group!

"They say that it is sufficient to read the bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago..."
-- The Watchtower / August 15, 1981/Pages 28-29

Or whether it’s the Mormons spreading their seeds of doubt...

"It was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled."
-- Joseph Smith /Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith /Page 10

...and blatantly attacking the Word of God!

"This congregation heard brother O. Pratt scan the validity of the Bible, and I thought by the time he got through, that you would scarcely think a Bible worth picking up and carrying home, should you find one in the streets."
-- Brigham Young / Journal of Discourses / Volume 3 Page 116

Or whether it’s the liberal churches in existence today who "take the Bible seriously but not literally"...

"Liberality: Hey, I've taken a vow of poverty. But because I care about justice, I'm lobbying for the government to give your money to the poor."

Or whether it’s the Emergents whose greatest "virtue" is ambiguity, and whose mantra is "did God really say that?" all the while dismissing the importance of the very Bible they claim to believe...

"This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true. In reaction to abuses by the church, a group of believers during a time called the Reformation claimed that we only need the authority of the Bible. But the problem is that we got the Bible from the church voting on what the Bible even is… When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true."
-- Rob Bell / Velvet Elvis / Pages 67-68

"I grew up thinking that we’ve figured out the Bible, that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means. And yet I feel like life is big again—like life used to be black and white, and now it’s in color."
-- Kristen Bell (Rob Bell’s wife) / Christianity Today / November 2004

Or whether it’s the Roman Catholic Church who in times past would burn you at the stake for merely possessing the Scriptures in your native tongue, but who now settle for pompously looking down their noses at you for daring to hold God’s inspired, infallible Word above that of their fallible, uninspired popes, priests, and man-made traditions.

For the most part these counterfeit groups -- yes, counterfeit groups -- would agree that God created the Heavens and the Earth and that He is the architect of everything from the vastness of the galaxies yet to be discovered by man, to the tiniest microorganisms that are more complex than any supercomputers that we could ever build. And with few exceptions, I’m confident that these groups also believe that God sustains His creation and that He’s omnipotent, omniscient, and all powerful.

Yet, ironically, they do not believe He had or has the power to sustain and preserve His Word from generation to generation! How convenient for them that the God of all creation has this one weakness -- a weakness that their popes, prophets, and programs can help God out with. Clearly, you can see the error in that kind of thinking, right?

So, whether you’re discouraged from reading your Bible, or the Bible is impugned so that you conclude it can’t be trusted, the desired result is always the same: Once you put down the Word of God, or place some other "authority" above it, heresy will always follow. Always.

Essentially, all these cults and false religions (and their false prophets and false teachers) have one goal in mind. That goal? To get you to stop trusting the Words of the living God, and, instead, put your trust in their organization. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and we will trust His Word over the doubts, heresies, lies, rumors, and traditions of these false "Christian" organizations.

But what about you? When the question of the authority of Scripture comes up from this point on are you going to believe the empty words of false prophets, false teachers, popes, and organizations, or the very Word of God itself?

Earlier, we mentioned the Bereans and how they were regarded as being "noble" because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what the Apostle Paul was teaching them was true or not.

The Apostle Paul told us that our struggle is against spiritual powers and forces of wickedness (Ephesians 6:11-12) and in this fight he tells us to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13), of which one of these is the sword of the Spirit -- the very Word of God itself people!

So, ask yourself, why would cults and false religions (and their false prophets and false teachers) want to disarm you from one of the best offensive and defensive weapons God has provided the believer and instructed him to wield?

If, by some chance, you still need further proof -- Biblical proof -- that Sola Scriptura is the only way to go as you mature in your faith you might want to recall several things that are recorded for us in the Gospels.

For instance, Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the Disciples read the Scriptures and quoted from them regularly. In fact, when Satan tried to thwart Jesus’ mission on Earth by twisting Scripture, Jesus quoted from the Scripture each and every time in rebuttal, effectively disarming the father of lies with the words of truth (Matthew 4:1-11).

So, if the Scriptures were good enough and valuable enough for Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the Disciples, then why do the cults and false religions (and their false prophets and false teachers) say that they’re not good enough for you?

I pray that this study was beneficial to you today and that it exposed a glaring example of Apostasy that has infected Christianity for far too long. It's not too late to repent for your rejection of Sola Scriptura and to re-commit yourself to a nobler pursuit for His glory and in obedience to Him.

For all the reasons above, it should be quite apparent why cults and false religions (and their false prophets and false teachers) reject the Bible and the idea of Sola Scriptura. When these groups and their followers claiming to be "Christian" are compared to the Light of the Scriptures, they always come up short and their errors, falsehoods, heresies, and soul-damning doctrines of demons are exposed. If they can get you to doubt the Bible, they will quickly fill that void with their own "authority" without hesitation. You can count on it.

Remember, we were never told that man shall live on the church, the preachers, prophets, popes, or teachers, but we are told that man shall live on "every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Deuteronomy 8:3).

As Andrew E. Courtis once wrote...

The Scriptures are not only sufficient for our salvation, but we must use the Scripture alone for the instruction pertaining to our sanctification. Continuing in 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul "all Scripture." In this passage, everything following flows from these words. The first point Paul makes here is that "all Scripture" is perfect. This is stated by the words "inspired by God." This term literally means "God-breathed" or "God-spirited." God superintended the writings contained in these Scriptures. Now, what is he exactly talking about when he says "all Scripture"? We know that it is "inspired by God", but what is it? The word "Scripture" here comes from graphe which literally means "a writing" or "a document." It appears in the New Testament 51 times and in every occurrence it is a reference to the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18 use it to refer to the NT). Therefore, it becomes evident that this term in the NT is a strict term referring to writings that are God’s Words (v. 15 "sacred writings"). So this term embraces the whole canon of the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation. Because they proceed from God they are perfect, both in source and in substance.

Because the Scriptures are perfect, they are profitable for our Christian walk. The word profitable carries the basic meaning of something that is "useful" or "helpful." In what way is Scripture profitable for our sanctification? Paul gives four areas in which the Scripture profits us: teaching, reproof, correction, and instruction. This is where our text gets very practical. It is addressing day-by-day areas of our life.

In the final analysis, it is the consistent application of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) and "Tota Scriptura" ("All of Scripture") that ensures that a Christian will not become an apostate and fall away from the faith and pure Biblical doctrine.

Are you convinced that the Scriptures are sufficient? Do you affirm the Reformation battle cry, Sola Scriptura? If not, why not? Where is the Biblical proof to support the alternative?





WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?


The sad reality? Apostates and False Converts infest the Body of Christ today, and they will stand in the way of anybody who wants to preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a clear and present danger to church because it's inside the church; it's the cancer within, and it eats away little by little, and we don’t recognize it like we should.

Or, when we do recognize it, we don’t do anything about it. Why? Because we’re afraid that people will be offended. We’re afraid that people will call us "fundamentalists", "narrow-minded", "Pharisees", who are "judging" and/or "misinterpreting" things.

We ask them to show us our "error" using the Word of God and we get a muted response. If we do get a response, then if often devolves into character assassination and name-calling. Our dear fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (whom we're only bringing up the "controversial" subjects with because we truly care about their spiritual health) have learned much from the secular, non-believing world and think nothing of using its vile tactics against one of their own.

Worse, when that possibility doesn't stop us from speaking out, we cower and succumb to fear sent by Satan and his minions because we worry we'll somehow do damage to our testimony, witness, and even the Gospel of Christ. We are so careful to preserve the wolves, and yet so slow to defend the faith, and that's a real shame.

There's something that Michael Fink wrote that I think is appropriate here...

Apostasy is certainly a biblical concept, but the implications of the teaching have been hotly debated. The debate has centered on the issue of apostasy and salvation. Based on the concept of God's sovereign grace, some hold that, though true believers may stray, they will never totally fall away. Others affirm that any who fall away were never really saved. Though they may have "believed" for a while, they never experienced regeneration. Still others argue that the biblical warnings against apostasy are real and that believers maintain the freedom, at least potentially, to reject God's salvation.

Personally, I don't agree with that last statement about us having the ability to "reject God's salvation" particularly when you study the Sovereignty of God and then read all about our eternal security in John 6:37-40 amongst other places.

But now I'm guilty of nitpicking to pieces that excerpt. The message about apostasy in general is what I wanted us to focus on and prayerfully think about. Fink is definitely on to something here.

Folks, the prophesied Apostasy is Biblical. False Converts are Biblical. The Sovereignty of God is Biblical. Sola Scriptura is Biblical. That's the truth. You accept and believe all of that, right?

More importantly, the Word does not contradict itself and we're supposed to use the Bible to interpret the Bible. I know it. You know it. I've tried to my best (through no great wisdom of my own, but only thanks to His grace for the discernment and wisdom He's imparted to me at this point in time) to provide you with all the Biblical evidence relevant to this study.

Our Lord is not a God of confusion. So, if any doubts remain, if any perceived conflicts present themselves despite all the Scriptural evidence previously presented here, then it's only due to our own unacknowledged shortcomings.

This issue is fully explained and reconciled for us who are true believers in genuine pursuit of the truth. If there seems to be any "disconnect" in His Word it's only because we haven't studied it enough to know why it appears that way. We use the Bible to interpret the Bible. The Bible does not contradict itself. The Bible is the holy, divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God.

At the same time, it might also be argued that where we fall short in the understanding that is imparted to us at this time is precisely the point where we need to rely on our faith and continue to seek Him for the answers we desire, but only if such answers will make us desire more fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ.

I think that's a fitting place to end today's "debate", don't you? Christians who know and live obediently to sound Biblical doctrine are sorely needed, but those same Christians need to make sure they're not placing "head knowledge" (their "Bible IQ") above "heart knowledge", or their pursuit of a relationship with Christ Jesus.

To reiterate, my intention with a study like this is not to cause chaos or strife amongst the brethren. Gosh no! My sole intention is to generate a "debate" (an adult, Biblical, educated, sober discussion really) that will motivate us to spend more time fellowshipping with one another, more time reading and studying His Word, and more time in prayer with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I pray that any discussion on this thread will be constructive, edifying, and informative so long as it glorifies God while prompting us to prayerfully consider a serious subject like this.

Sometimes an evocative subject like this forces us to reflect upon our heart intent and "examine ourselves" (2 Corinthians 13:5), which is, according to Scripture, spiritually healthy, commendable, and commanded.

Thank you for your willingness to join me in pursuit of the truth no matter how uncomfortable it might be, and no matter where it might take us.

As long as we end up on our knees repenting at the foot of the cross each and every time, then that's always a journey worth taking in my book.

God bless you! Keep looking up!

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Comments Posted (39)

Jeff, God bless for article!

When Jesus came he didn`t came to convert people into religion.
He proclaim them the Father.
But soon they all forgot that they have to have a living relationship with God and thus begun their decline because they put faith in men rather than God.

No wonder why when you read Paul`s letters that you find his tone more and more heavier towards the last one. Because many wolves entered.

The cure is to be one with Father and Christ and to trust them.
The thing is not do we believe IN God, thing is do we believe God?

Do we know God?

Or maybe we are weekend Christians...or corporate Christians...

It`s like :"Praise the Lord!!!" and when I`m done I am going to continue my life in ignorance...
For God`s sake -God will deliver me!!!

God can`t be mocked for what we sow that we will reap.
Let us sow in Love, please brothers and sisters!

Max

Really good post.
"Enter ye in at the strait gate:for WIDE is the gate, and BROAD is the way that leadeth to destrution, and MANY there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and NARROW is the way, which leadeth unto LIFE, and FEW who find it."
Those "wolves in sheeps clothing" , look and sound JUST LIKE SHEEP.
To many people now days are going for "that mystical EXPERIENCE" with God rather than relying on His word alone.
I think there will alot fewer "Christians" going in the rapture of the church than many people think. Thanks for this post.It is very timely and much needed.
Ann

Ann, who will go in the Rapture and who will not?

Dear Jeff,
I think your two most important statements were:

Thank you for your willingness to join me in pursuit of the truth no matter how uncomfortable it might be, and no matter where it might take us.

As long as we end up on our knees repenting at the foot of the cross each and every time, then that's always a journey worth taking in my book.

Amen and amen. I have been in a little argumentation with my sister over xmas. Both of us trying to point out what is and what is not. And though I found her to be compromising on the issue, I had to HAD TO, come back to 'what am I doing that is not pleasing to the LORD'. Because I know HE will deal with her. HE will deal with me. All I can do is speak the truth in love and then let it go.

I agree with Ann too. I am not to big on the rapture doctrine (but I can't completly dismiss it either), but I have often wondered who might be raptured. Surely not those who are 'prayed up, packed up and ready to go' as they say in the Southern Baptist Church. (More escapism). If JESUS said , 'depart from ME I never knew you' . And that word knew in Hebrew is Yaddah--to know intimately, then I should think that those who are taken away, the Bride, are those who are keenly aware of HIM, listening for HIS voice all the time, watching and waiting with a love sick anticipation. Our hearts should be like Lots; grieving over the world, and our walk should be like Enochs; we walk right out of here!
But for that to happen, you have to LET GO of this world.
Peace,
Deirdre

Everyone purchased by Christ's blood will be raptured. No more; no less. This purchase happended before the beginning of time.

The Doctrines of Grace really cleared up a lot of confusion for me. Thank you Holy Spirit!

Silly, silly, humanistic free willers :-)

Zack

..so, so many timeframes came and passed..

"..For I tell you - you will not see Me again untill you say,
'blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord' "

- that was directed to ús you see.
Lone

Amen Zack, so often we want to add to the requirement of salvation because we cannot fathom that kind of grace, much less show towards others. If I'm guilty of unforgiveness and showing personal grace to others, I will be more apt to not accept at least on a cognitive level the grace God has shown me. And that's when a person will attempt to add the law of "DOING" to the grace of salvation.
Peace!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God -Eph. 2:8

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15

Mercy is “not getting what we deserve”—namely, punishment for our sins. Grace is “getting what we don’t deserve”—that is, favor from God.

Praise God for mercy and grace!

Important exerpt from Oswald Chambers which is very relevant:

https://www.books.google.com/books?id=o_CJFDAmaGgC&pg=PA151&lpg=PA151&dq=charles+stanley+doctrine+of+grace&source=bl&ots=sxRbbxSy4B&sig=by_Lr7r3FSJWNp8PJnLOlhxTDX0&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

My dear brothers and sisters, these are certainly all wonderful comments (and I thank you for taking the time to share them with the rest of us), but I sense that we're getting off topic a little here.

Any thoughts about Sola Scriptura? Does your church or the believers in your sphere of influence believe in it? If not, have you had any experiences discussing the topic with them? If you disagree with Sola Scriptura, then why? What's the Biblical proof to back up such a position? Do you agree that the rejection of Sola Scriptura is another sign of the fulfillment of the prophesied Apostasy?

I like where all of you are in your mindset though. We all know that Hebrews 6 is the one chapter that gives most Christians fits due to the subject matter, and it's the next chapter up in my Book of Hebrews studies. We'll get there in a day or two, God willing, so please stay tuned.

In Christ,
Jeff ("JRed")

Dear Jeff,
To answer your question/comment.
Yes I am for Sola Scriptura. Being raised Catholic, I understand the traditions of the church. I also understand that Protestants maintain a lot of tradition too. This is where my sis and I sharply disagree. Not that she is Catholic, but that she is a protestant who has kept some of the tradition from the RCC. To me, when we "come out" of the beast system, we should come out all the way and be like the Bereans. We should be able to explore and talk/discuss, yeah have a pleasant argumentation and find out the how, why, what of Scripture! I don't beleive most of your churches are SS, b/c if they were, they would not keep the traditions of the RCC.
Peace,
Deirdre

Jeff, I believe in the inerrant scripture as the Word of God. I'm awed that Yahweh directed me to study on the inerrant scriptures as it came up in another study just in time to reply to this post.

I find it sad that many are rejecting the Lord's Word as irrelevant today or not inspired by Yahweh. In these times we need the scriptures more than ever to discern what's happening and to help keep our faith and love intact.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

It's our guide for living, our answers to so many questions. Points us in the direction we are to go. Tells us incredible stories of Yahweh's love and glory and how He wants to share all that with us.

Rev 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

If you're going to keep His Word, you first have to read or hear it and second believe it.

The Word is our very life.
Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Thanks Jeff, for an excellent post. I'm looking forward to the rest of your series.

In Yahshsua's name I pray that none of us forsake the agape(love) of one another in the body of Christ.

Susan

jeff

excellent topic and good work!!!

the one thing you left out though is the rapture doctrine is a false non biblical doctrine, yet you and many of your followers still belive it, and hold on to this lie.

so just like you said, all thous who adhear to this nonsence are willfully following false prophets.
not only are they false prophets but they are the worst kind, sorscerers and hipnotic dream followers.

john darby got this false doctrine
from a scottish witch, margrette mcdonald in the 1830s.

non of it is biblicle untill you twist and MANipulate the word of GOD! if that is who and what you choose to follow, you are in grave danger of recieving the plauges GODS word speaks of.

also cocerning the statment that you do not agree a person can reject thier salvation, I suggest you read the entire old testament.
then explane how the jews threw away their standing with the one TRUE GOD, JESUS THE CHRIST!!!

and if you prefer somthing out of the new and better testament, I would ask that you do an in depth study on simon magus the sumarian.

Acts 8:9-24 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

seems to me the bible states the only way to loose your salvation is willfull rebellion to JESUS CHRIST and HIS SPIRIT!!!

GOD IN HEAVEN HELP THEM TO SEE!!! AMEN

JOHN

Jeff,

I agree with you on this topic 100%. And so far there's only been one thing I've read from you that I don't agree with you on, but it's off topic and doesn't mess with the issue of Salvation so I won't even bother discussing it :) Anyway, I love what you're doing and God Bless You for giving up comfort for the Truth.

-Sara

Dear Jeff,
Speaking of Sola Scripture check out this very short videos on the feasts.
Peace,
Deirdre
https://www.evidenceforchristianity.blogspot.com/2010/07/jesus-was-born-during-feast-of.html

Thanks Sara. Tell you what, why don't you send me an email (lookupluke2127 at yahoo dot com) about that one issue that we're in disagreement on? Perhaps it's what the Lord wants me to hear, and maybe even the subject of a future post here.

In Christ,
Jeff ("JRed")

Dear Jeff and everyone else,
First, we only have to look around us to see that blatant apostasy is right at our door. This weekend I saw and article that stated that a website titled "We Can Know.com" is placing billboards all over the metro Detroit area that states that the return of Christ is on May 11 2011.If you go to their website there is nothing on it to back up what they are saying. Imagine all the lost sheep who will buy into this. The other point I want to make is about discernment. I believe that the Lord gives discernment to those who seek it. Once you have given your life to Him and you are seeking knowledge, He WILL guide you. I cannot even begin to describe how many times since I gave my life to HIM that He has given me some clue or even just an uncomfortable feeling if what I am being exposed to is a lie. The reference to Rob Bell was excellent. A few years ago our small group was using one of his videos as a teaching tool. I really didn't care for his style but I went along with it. A few days later I was led to an interview with him where he stated that he did not believe that hell was a real place! I am telling you people, LISTEN TO THAT STILL SMALL VOICE, you will be blown away!!!! Don't ignore it, God wants us to know the truth. Read your bible as much as possible. As God is my witness, whenever I spend time with Him he always rewards me with more knowledge.I also truly believe that if you are seeking Him, you do not need a church. Just pray and read HIS word, he will do the rest.
Melanie G.

JRED: I surely do pray that you are feeling much better now! Yes, indeed, I believe in Sola Scriptura! However, the problem arises when "men" begin to interpret scripture to their own understanding, preconceived notions, or just through error of how to intrepret (such as rightly dividing the Word). We need to remember to be Bereans!

@Melanie: You are so right about listening to the "nudging" of God's Holy Spirit. When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour at age 9, I was so very serious about what I was doing--my goal all through my young years was to be sure I was doing what God wanted me to do. He rewarded me with some discernment (at the time, I had never heard that word and it was much later in life before I understood that was what was happening with me). When something wasn't right, He give me this uncomfortable feeling about it--like not being interested in Halloween at a very young age, or like crystal balls, and seances, etc. It was much later that I found the scriptures to verify these "feelings". This is just a sample of His leading through my many years.

You are so right about listening to that Still Small Voice, praying and knowing that He will answer. If your prayer is sincere, He will guide you into Truth.

I was reading James just now and this verse is such a wonderful promise to help us discern Truth from lies:

James 1:5 (KJV)
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

BTW - the whole book of James is wonderful!

Maranatha - Barbara in VA

Jeff,
The question you posed "Are you convinced that the Scriptures are sufficient?" says it all.

Every cult needs two authorities so it can manipulate it's members (i.e. Mormon,J.W.,R.Catholic etc.)

True born again Bible believers believe there can be no authority other than God's word. "Let God be true and every man a liar."

The Holy Bible was inspired and preserved by God FOR US. That is an article of faith. If a person has trouble with that concept he is either not saved or is in a cult and needs to 'come out from among them and be ye separate.'

Excellent post.
Thank you.

Dear Anonymous,
I agree with your statement

The Holy Bible was inspired and preserved by God FOR US. That is an article of faith. If a person has trouble with that concept he is either not saved or is in a cult and needs to 'come out from among them and be ye separate.'

However, there are many believers who are stuck in the mode of thought that if they come out, they will be forsaking the fellowship of the brethren. To which I mostly answer, 'how do you know they are your brethren'? We have to realize that most people are really scared of coming out of an organized system, even with its faults. It is a massive undertaking in TRUST, trusting the LORD to provide leadership, fellowship, discipline. Let us pray for those that need to come out so that they will be free. And let us pray that the LORD will bring others to us so that we can fellowship. I know from experience it can be a seriously lonely road. But it gets better. The LORD provides!
Peace,
Deirdre
Ps very cool my word veri is magnophi

deirdre & holy joe

I agree with booth of your statments, but there is a very important component you overlooked!

that component is there are only 2 groups of people in this world,
saved and un-saved!!!
there is no kind of christian but in a cult, or I use JESUS name but have no idea who HE is or what HE is all about. or we used to walk with GOD, but HIS SON got in the way of our soveigrnty so we murderd him.

there is only one saved group INDEPENDENT REMNENT CHRISTIANS!!!
the spiritual israel spoken of all over the new testament.
all the rest are un-saved.

this is why JESUS stated the gate is narrow, the path is straight and very few will make it.

it takes alot of time and effort to be a CHRISTIAN!!! and thats why the lazy and complacent will never make it.

GOD of all CREATION call your childern out of the dark evil religionist temples, and guid them to YOUR SON JESUS the CHRIST!!!!!!!
if it is in YOUR WILL!!!AMEN

john

...just completed a bible study where we were asked to read and underline, highlight, circle and draw squares around different parts of verses to show what God said, what David said, what were the consequences, etc (the verses were in our study book, although i write and highlight my bibles too). At first i did not want to do it...it turned out to be alot of reading and focusing about what was being said in the verses....i had a rebellious spirit saying "this is too much work, i am not going to do it!" But was convicted by the Holy Spirit...so i asked the Holy Spirit to help me to understand what i was suppose to be learning. Turns out i had to read those verses 6 and 7 times to get every angle of what God was stating in them. What a blessing to learn a more detailed way of reading God's word. At bible study i confessed to the other ladies about my rebellious spirit and everyone of them said they had felt the same way! Some never finished the homework...said it was too much work...boy did they miss out on God's blessing of growing.
...lately i have been hungry for more of God's word. I enjoy reading the NIV version then reading it again with KJV. I read where you talked about the Geneva Bible...would like to have that too.
...i enjoyed this post...validated how i have been drawn to God's word and not all the self help books of how to get to God!
...i thank God for the wonderful gift he had given you to express your love of the Lord in your writings. Stay humble in the Lord and am looking forward to meeting you soon.

Deirdre and John,
The point of Jeff's post was the question "Are you convinced that the Scriptures are sufficient?"

I'm simply stating ALL cults establish two authorities: the Bible AND a group of deluded men pretending to be chosen by God so they can rule over people. That way THEY are the final authority. They are false teachers pretending to believe the Bible. In reality they don't believe ANY Bible is inerrant. Bible colleges and seminaries are full of them.

"Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God". There is supernatural power in God's words.

Are the scriptures alone sufficient? The Bereans thought so. They checked out Paul's preaching with scripture.

God says they are sufficient and that settles it for me.

Dear holyjoe,
Sorry I didn't seem to make that clarification. Yes Scripture alone is sufficient for me. It was HIS Word that saved me and HIS Word that continues to grow me.
Peace!
Deirdre

PS speaking of Scripture alone, for those who are still convinced you have to celebrate xmas (which is a "baptised" pagan celebration of the god saturnalia and perpetuated by the cult leaders of the 501c3) please watch these 5, 3 minute videos.
https://www.evidenceforchristianity.blogspot.com/2010/07/jesus-was-born-during-feast-of.html
Peace,
Deirdre

diedre

you are correct about christmass,
and it goes back even further than that. it is also the worship of tammuz and many other manifestations of lucifer as a god!

Jeremiah 10:2-5 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

you see GOD told us back in jeremiah NOT to follow these heathen practices, yet millions of so called christians still do it every year. they bow down and give heed to satanclause.

alls we can do is warn them, it is up to them to call on the name of the LORD GOD JESUS CHRIST!!!

they must ask forgivness and pray for guidence to stay away from the pratices of the pagans!!!

thanks for bringing it up dee.

JESUS bless those who follow YOUR ways, and help those who are blind to YOUR TRUTH to see!!!!!!! AMEN

john

For quite a few years now, I have known that Jesus was born in September or early Oct. This was because a group of well-known Christian men had done an extensive Bible study on the subject and they determined that the conception of our Lord was somewhere near the Dec. 25 date.

They suggested that maybe it would be ok to celebrate the conception of Jesus on Dec. 25--so, without all the "decorations", that is what I personally do. It is so hard for people to break that kind of tradition.

Just to lighten the subject, when I told my daughter and son-in-law that Jesus was born during The Feast of Tabernacles, my son-in-law grinned and said that means we can open gifts anytime between Sept. and Dec.!

God bless everyone! Maranatha

Barbara in VA

holy joe

sorry, I had missed your reply.
yes, I do not just believe that the KJV bible is the devine word of GOD. I know it is!!! and have been stating that on this site for 2 years now -6 months that I stoped visiting.

so i'm sorry but I had assumed you knew that, I am sure jeff did.

once you start to learn the way to read the layers of prophecy and how they tie together, there is no other answer!!! from the very begining right up untill now, it has played out like a script in a play. thats the beauty of it I, and YOU KNOW how it ends!!!

anyone who does not procliam the HOLY BIBLE is the WORD of GOD, is NO CHRISTIAN.

so jeff I thank you again for brining up this topic and may GOD BLESS you for bringing it to the light of this site!!!

john

John,
So glad to know you believe the KJV is God's perfect Holy word in the English language. There are many counterfeit bibles out there but God wrote and preserved only one and His fingerprints are all over it.

Stand firm.

With all do respect Mr. Radt,

peace be to you, I have a few posers for you to take into consideration as you travel on the road of Sola Scriptura. May my questions sprout forth in you, a greater love for Christ the King.

Patience, I pray you.

1)Ask yourself this: If there were not sin, would there be Incarnation?

2) Why did He have to become man to save us? There was sin and so we needed saving. Why become man? Why couldn't He have just said, "You are all forgiven and saved." ,why?

You know, I often tend to think better of people, even love them when they do favors for me and are charitable to me. And I've noticed that when I am charitable, others love me and think better of me as well. And it is hard sometimes, though, when you do not see who the kind person was who put your jacket back on your desk, or your food back in the oven to keep it warm. What I am getting at is that we may like to have someone visible who shared in our thinking, passions, bodily functions, life and our very world which makes us who we are. To love us as a man loves.

I think He loves us. He would have come and loved us without sin, and even in spite of sin did come, and therefore renewed us.

Now you may ask, "what's the connection between what you just said and what I am saying?"

And my answer is that if we look with EYES WITH FILLED WITH LOVE TOWARDS GOD and ask Him as a child asks for what we want we will get what we want. We want salvation.

That is the answer. I wrote this to impress in your hearts a love for God, for something He has done. To maybe know him better and see things in another, maybe better light. But above all for you (plural) to be close to Him. You said you wanted to search for biblical truth. Well before there can be true searching, there must be an image of which we desire to find. God was before anything, therefore He is truth. Let us realize this. We all know that Bible is the word of God.

And my final question and the pivotal one: does the lover love the lover's words or the lover.

-Mr. S. Kenney

Mr S. Kenney,

First and foremost, thanks for stopping by, for reading, and for writing a response. I believe this may be the first time you have done so on LUF so welcome my brother!

There are just a couple of things I would like to respond to. Most importantly, I actually agree with your concluding remarks -- we need to make sure we love Him more than we love His Word. I don't believe its fair though to assume that a pro-Sola Scriptura piece like this one automatically means that I'm somehow trying to get Christians to love His Word more than Him. In fairness, if you are new (and especially if this is your first time reading anything here), then you wouldn't know that I've actually written commentaries about how we shouldn't hold the "red letters" written in our Bibles (and spoken by Jesus) in higher esteem than any of the rest of the Scriptures. Bottom line, I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.

(continued in the next comment...)

(continued from previous comment...)

Second, I definitely have a problem with your blanket statement "We want salvation" b/c that's just not Biblical. We don't choose Him b/c we can't. We're incapable of coming to Him unless He draws us to Him. He chooses us. We don't choose Him. In fact, we are also dead in our sins before He chose us, and if we were left to choose we would choose sin -- not Him -- EVERY time!

John 1:13 "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

John 15:16 "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

Romans 3:11 "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God."

Romans 6:6 "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—"

Romans 8:7-8 "the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."

Romans 8:29 "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers"

Romans 9:16 "So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy."

1 Peter 1:2 "who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance."

(continued in next comment...)

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Ephesians 2:1-3 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."

Ephesians 1:3-11 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast."

1 Corinthians 2:14 "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

2 Corinthians 4:4 "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

Colossians 1:13 "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,"

Colossians 1:21 "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior."

Jeremiah 13:23 "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil."

John 6:37 "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out."

If I have misunderstood what you were trying to communicate then I am sorry my friend.

In Christ,
Jeff ("JRed")

Peace my dear Brother,

I was writing to give another view on the topic, not to insinuate that you are trying to make others regard the Bible over God. It is sorta like testing a sauce to make sure it has the right amount of zest to it. I am very sorry I was not more clear.

Also:
I am afraid that you disagreed with me and then proceeded to a different point. And explained that point. What your disagreement is is that I said, "We want salvation." Yes, and you said that that's not biblical. Ok! But you then said we can't choose. I don't understand? What can't we choose? To want or not want Salvation? To accept or not accept God's Grace, a form of His Love? He gave man the ability to choose and he chose wrongly. You seem to suggest that God, in redeeming man, took away his free will. Is that what you mean?
Don't get me wrong, I may have misunderstood.

Now, back to the original argument.
What is it that we want? Peace? That's found in Salvation. Love? God's there in salvation. God? We only can get God (Should I use a different phrase, that seems to menial for Him?)by obeying Him and WE don't GET Him, it's like you said He chooses us. But I would like to point out that we have a choice.There are those who choose to ignore God; even though they may be Baptized, they are then children of God, but they turn away from God. Are they not saved? They have been redeemed and washed of their sins. Do they require something? Please explain.

Since we are on the choosing topic, didn't our Lord say in John 7:37 "Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink." ?
Why would He say come to me? Dare I suggest that He gives man a choice? Granted, and I will give you this, that He chooses to give to them the grace to. He CHOOSES to give them a choice.

I agree that it is by grace we come to God but it is also of our own free will. God did not force Adam to sin, or not to sin. He gave him a choice. He also gives us a choice.

Humbly,

S. Kenney

Thanks for the clarification as it seems we both needed to explain our comments a bit since our wires got crossed some.

However, when it comes to the "choosing" topic I still must disagree my friend. To say we all have a choice to either "accept" or "reject" Jesus Christ (in regards to salvation) makes Him a POTENTIAL Savior. Worse, it renders Almighty God impotent as if He's sitting up there on His throne with His fingers crossed just hoping that so-and-so will finally choose His Son Jesus Christ.

I'm sorry, but this view, although extremely common for the past several decades contradicts a lot of Scripture, particularly those that speak to the doctrines of grace and the sovereignty of God.

Please re-read the verses I included in my last comment above especially those about God choosing us in eternity past, and those that include the word "predestined" too.

Your Brother In Christ,
Jeff ("JRed")

I just remembered this quote by Charles Spurgeon that I read on our Right Now Radio broadcast the other night, which I believe is very appropriate here as it touches upon all of the issues you and I have been discussing...

"You must understand that there is only one door to salvation, and that is Christ; there is one way, and that is Christ; one truth, and that is Christ; one life, and that is Christ. Salvation lies in Jesus only; it does not lie in you, in your doings, or your feelings, or your knowings, or your resolutions. In Him all life and light for the sons of men are stored up by the mercy of God the Father. This may be one reason why you have not found the light; because you have sought it in the wrong place. Though the Lord has placed it on record in His Word, in the plainest language, that ‘it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy’ (Rom. 9:16) yet most men in their hearts imagine that everlasting life is tied to duties and earned by service. You must abandon such vainglorious notions; you must come before God as a humble petitioner, pleading the promises of mercy, abhorring all idea of merit, confessing that if the Lord condemns you He has a right to do it, and if He saves you, it will be an act of pure gratuitous mercy, a deed of sovereign grace. Oh, too many of you hold your heads too high; to enter the lowly gate of light you must stoop. On the bended knee is the penitent’s true place. ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner’, is the penitent’s true place. If God should condemn you, you could never complain of injustice, for you could not accuse the Lord, for you have no right to be heard. He could righteously withhold an answer of peace if He so willed. Confess that you are an undeserving, ill-deserving, hell-deserving sinner and begin to pray as you have never prayed before. Cry out of the depth of self-abasement if you want to be heard. Come as a beggar, not as a creditor. Come to crave, not to demand. Use only this argument, ‘Lord, hear me, for you are gracious, and Jesus died; I cry to you as a condemned criminal who seeks pardon. Deliver me from going down into the pit, that I may praise your name.’ This harboring of a proud spirit, I fear, has been a great source of mischief with many, and if it has been so with you, amend it and go now with humble and contrite hearts, in lowliness and brokenness of spirit, to your Father whom you have offended, for he will surely accept you as his children. Your salvation does not depend upon what you do, but upon what Christ did when he offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. All your salvation takes root in the death throes of Calvary; the great Substitute bore your sin and suffered its penalty. Your sin shall never destroy you if upon that bloody tree the Lord’s chosen High Priest made a full expiation for your sins; they shall not be laid against you any more forever. What you have to do is simply accept what Jesus has finished. I know your idea is that you are to bring something to him; but that vainglorious idea has ruined many, and will ruin many more. When you are brought empty-handed, made willing to accept a free and full salvation from the hand of the Crucified, then, and then only, will you will be saved."

In Christ,
Jeff ("JRed")

Dear Mr. Radt,

Let me clarify one more thing.

I must persist in claiming that our choices do in fact have an impact on how our salvation plays out. Take for instance Matthew 26:28 "For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for you and for MANY unto the remission of sins."

Why say many?

But, what if there isn't a conflict between our opinions?

What do you say to the statement that there are two wills: God's and ours. God wills us to be saved. We choose to accept God's grace or not. Ok? Now in predestination, what if we said that God, who knows all things, knows our choices. Therefore, yes we are predestined. (I have never said that we can choose to be saved. God still has to give us that grace, but we must still be open to receive it.)

So, could we agree on that?
If not, oh well. Ha Can we agree to disagree?

Sincerely yours,

S. Kenney