WHO HATH BELIEVED OUR REPORT?
A LOOK AT THE QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIONS CONCERNING THE GREAT GOSPEL OF GOD AND
THE RAMIFICATIONS OF NOT BELIEVING IT, WHICH ITS ENEMIES HAVE MADE.
Not all the enemies of the great Gospel of God, the only Gospel I might add, which Scripture calls "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16), overtly oppose the doctrines it contains. The opposition by those of the Arminian persuasion, who do overtly oppose the great Gospel doctrines which attribute all of salvation to the God of Grace leaving no room for man to boast, are not what we shall be discussing in this booklet. The kind of opposition we will be addressing comes from those people who proudly call themselves Calvinists, or Reformed Calvinists to be precise. These people are taught, and do all claim to believe to be adherers to, and defenders of, the so-called Five Points of Calvin or as some prefer to call them, the Doctrines of Grace. Many of these people go so far as to say that they believe the Arminian gospel, or any gospel for that matter which differs from the one they believe, is another gospel. Yet for some inexplicable reason they will not, they adamantly refuse to, say that those who believe in such gospels are lost people. In other words, false gospels are accursed but not those who believe and trust in them. Moreover, they do not count themselves or their fellow believers as having been lost when they believed the doctrines of a false gospel. These people have been taught and do believe that such extreme thinking is outside the teachings of the Bible. In fact, they have termed such thinking Hyper-Calvinism. It is considered extra-biblical and particularly uncharitable to call people who believe in another gospel ‘lost’ and in need of salvation. At the same time, however, they do not believe that everyone who holds to a false gospel, such as Mormons and J.W.’s etc., are saved regardless of what they believe, but only those who hold to a majority of basic doctrinal truths about God such as the Trinity, the Virgin birth and the fact that Christ died on a cross. They are happy to call these people brethren despite the enormous divide which exists in their doctrinal beliefs, notwithstanding their acknowledgement of some basic truths. People who believe some basic biblical facts are considered by these tolerant Calvinists to be Christians who only require a little correction to their thinking, a little further instruction, but are on the right road regardless of their erroneous beliefs. These Calvinists claim to believe the doctrines we teach as the very doctrines of the Gospel taught in the pages of the Bible, but they draw the line when it comes to judging saved and lost by the Gospel, by the ramifications that are part and parcel of those doctrines. And so, we shall examine the questions, objections and opposition such people and the organizations they serve have to our Gospel overall. We shall also look at some more common questions asked, and objections raised, by people who do not believe that a person must know, understand and believe the essential Gospel doctrines to be saved. One question, one objection, at a time is how we shall analyze their opposition in order to see if there is any substance to what they say and to show you, the reader, how utterly wrong these people are and how, by their adherence to such thinking, they reveal themselves to be as lost as lost can be. In the process we shall show the reader how God has only one Gospel, one Gospel which He has authored, and therefore only one Gospel by which He saves.
Someone wrote to me recently saying that they had poured through the history of Christianity and searched through the teachings of the various denominations but could not find one single group who believed the Gospel which we and others teach. More specifically, they found that it was not so much the doctrines that those who are historically perceived to have been Christians, disagreed with, but rather the ramifications of not believing them. In other words, to be at pains to point out what the Gospel of God is by which He saves is all well and good, even important, but to judge people lost simply because they do not believe it is utterly wrong, according to these people. The doctrines which we teach are nothing new. They are often, and correctly, referred to as ‘The Doctrines of Grace’ but collectively all sides of the religious establishment have come to refer to them as Calvinist doctrine or Calvinism. The term Calvinism comes from the name of the famous 16th century French theologian, John Calvin. The fact that Calvin’s name is associated with these true doctrines, which are part of but not the whole Gospel, is not to suggest that they in any way originated with him. Therefore to label Gospel doctrines with the name of a man is at once both highly irregular and utterly inappropriate. It is to associate the origins of the doctrines of the Gospel with a man rather than rightly attributing them to the Most High God. All Calvin did was to use these Gospel doctrines he saw in the Scriptures in his response to the teachings of one Jacobus Arminius who had written a list of several doctrines, a doctrinal system published in 1610 that would become known as Arminianism and would, in years to come, deeply influence Wesleyan and Methodist theology. To label these doctrines with the name of a man is most appropriate due to the fact that they were invented by man, they did not originate in the mind of God but in the sinful mind of man. They may not have originated with Arminius himself but they certainly did not come from God’s Word. These doctrines were very much in line with the heresies of Pelagius, a fifth century British monk who originated the body of doctrines known as Pelagianism and was first condemned for heresy in 416, and were not incompatible with what the Roman Catholic Church would later teach. In fact, many refer to Arminian teachings today as semi-Pelagianism while others have called Arminianism the road to Rome. Remarkably, belief of such doctrines, which stand in contradiction with, and in eternal opposition to, the true doctrines of the Gospel, and which are even called another gospel by many in Calvinist circles, is said not to signify the lostness of their adherents but only shows that they are merely in error and require a little adjustment, a little correction, to their thinking. But can it be that error, when it comes to what the Gospel is, which is to say what the Word of God teaches about Who God is and how God saves, is not a sign of lostness? Can it be that, though believing in right doctrines, those Calvinists who tolerate error in others and who are saying that one can be saved without a correct understanding of what the Gospel is, of the record that God bears of His Son, are saved men who are faithfully and therefore accurately and fully teaching and defending the Word of God? This booklet will also look at why a person who does not believe in the true doctrines of the Gospel, or who claims to believe them yet insists that they or others were/are saved before or without belief in them, is lost; and the reasons why there are so few who believe the Gospel of God, and therefore so few who are faithful to the word of God who say that there is nothing but lostness outside of belief in that Gospel and who, after their much witnessing, cry out as the prophet Isaiah did, "Who hath believed our report?" (Isa. 53:1).
And so where do we begin our analysis of what the opposition is that so many people have to what we are preaching? How shall we begin to answer those people who oppose what we are saying, insisting that one can be saved before believing the Gospel doctrines correctly, who are in essence saying that one can be saved without acknowledging the specific doctrines of that particular Gospel, which identify the true God and distinguish Him from all false gods, and to which God puts His name? Well, I propose to breakdown the arguments of the opposition in order to show that in reality they are no arguments at all. In fact, when taken apart they reveal that there is no biblical consistency to them AT ALL! That their words are merely thoughts without substance. That there is no biblical ground for their arguments to stand on, and that these opposers have no biblical recourse whatsoever in attacking the truth we teach. That all their arguments and objections amount to a void wrapped up into one big ball of NOTHING!
The first question we will look at is one that is often asked by members of the mainstream conservative religious establishment, in particular its leaders, to those few who rightly insist that there is no salvation outside of belief in the only Gospel of God:
'Do you mean to say that throughout the history of Christianity there has not been one recognized denomination that has correctly taught the Gospel, that all have been wrong, thus teaching and believing false gospels?'
Such thinking immediately reveals the automatic assumption which connects longevity with that which is true. If a religious organization has existed for long enough then that is proof enough that such an organization must be what it claims to be, one which represents God on earth by being the bearer of His Word to mankind. This is the kind of thinking that permeates the minds of most people. There are many religious organizations which make such a claim, organizations that would not dream of saying they are in any way associated with each other or that the other is even Christian at all. The Roman Catholic Church, the Seventh-Day Adventist movement, the Mormon Church, the J.W.’s and many others would say the exact same thing as the mainstream Calvinist churches: that what we teach is wrong because their particular organizations have never taught it. So what is this supposed to prove? Does this mean that simply because a group has never taught what we teach, it automatically means that such a group is teaching, and has always taught, the truth? Hardly. At best, all it proves is that the organization making the objection has never taught what it is up in arms about. What is interesting to note is the fact that in making this objection, the leaders of Reformed Calvinist organizations do not immediately refer to the Bible, as we do in defense of our Gospel, but to their organization’s teaching manuals and past leaders to ‘back up’ what they are saying! Their knee-jerk response is, ‘But this man never taught this, are you implying that such a man was lost, too?’ Or, ‘Are you saying the whole denomination is wrong?’ This type of thinking, while readily appealing to the conditioned, unthinking, mind which accepts just about everything that has organized itself into an official entity as being what it claims to be, and as having the authority to teach what it teaches, is just plain wrong no matter how many have adopted it. Many today are wary of a new company, or new business, starting up. They wonder about how reliable their product can be for it has no history, and therefore no way to really know whether the product they are selling is worth buying. But how many companies just starting up have been looked at with such doubts and reservations yet whose product was just as good as, even better than, those companies who have a respected name and who have been in business for years. Only if that company can manage to last those early years and cement itself in the market place is there credibility given to it. Increasingly, many companies and businesses today often tell you in their advertisements that they have been established for the past 20 years or more. Some even lie about it knowing how much credibility people attach to an organization which has been around for years as opposed to one that is just starting up. People feel an automatic sense of, and freedom to, trust in a company that has a long history and a good name. Longevity is immediately connected to credibility and people just seem to automatically believe that the product being sold is reliable. Now, in some instances this can prove to be true but in the majority of cases, how long a business has been operating really has nothing to do with the credibility of their product. It is no proof that what they are selling is a reliable product. Many $2 shops have been around for a number of years now, but even though they have proven very popular and people continue to patronize these stores, does not change the fact that many of their products are cheaply made and break down after a few days, or even hours, of use. In the religious arena there have been many new groups spring up with teachings differing greatly to those which have for centuries been considered correct. Some of these groups did not last long. Others, however, did manage to endure through those early turbulent years and continue on even to this day. Groups like the Mormons and J.W.’s have been around for over a hundred years. The point I am making is: the fact that a religious organization has been around for hundreds of years does not automatically mean that what they are teaching is true? Does the fact that Mormonism and the so-called ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ have survived through the years mean that what they teach is of God and that their gospels are the means by which God reveals Himself and saves His people? Of course not! So too, we cannot as a matter of course believe that even those religious organizations which teach the doctrines of the Gospel but who do not judge saved and lost by the Gospel are representing God on the earth, for longevity can be ruled out as proof of credibility if error is taught. It matters not how long an organization has been teaching, for this can never be a reliable way to gauge its teachings as true, but what it has been teaching should be our main focus. In saying this, I believe we have established at least a reasonable doubt as to the veracity of a religious organization’s claims to be the bearer of truth simply based on the fact that it has been around for years. The real issue is not who has taught in God’s name or for how long but what is God’s Gospel. The issue is not how many have believed God’s Gospel but what is God’s Gospel. The issue is not who has claimed to teach the Gospel longer than others but what is the Gospel. The issue is not the reputations and number of people who lay claim to having believed the Gospel but what is the Gospel. The real issue is what is true Christianity? The real issue is what is the truth, not how long an organization claiming to teach it has been in existence. What this ministry teaches is not new, it is only little known. No matter how long the truth, which true believers believe, has existed, if it is little known, if it has not had the forum or the exposure which the popular teachings of today have enjoyed, then it will always be wrongly labelled and assumed to be new or wrong. The only thing that will matter on judgement day is whether or not one believed the truth and not whether one belonged to a certain religious group. The issue will be who has believed the truth according to the Scriptures and not how loyal they have been to a denomination’s creed. We shall all stand as individuals before God on that Day with what we have believed, and not as some anonymous member of a religious organization hiding behind its leader. We shall be admitted into heaven because by God’s grace we were given His faith to believe only His Gospel and counted ourselves saved in light of that and not because we were part of some long-standing tradition-filled denomination which claimed to teach the Gospel but in actual fact did not, for it taught that one could be saved before or without the Gospel of God.
Is the truth what we have been told it is by mainstream religious establishments or are they the ones who have got it wrong? This is a very important question, especially in light of the fact that the mainstream religious establishment cannot always be counted on as right or being the bearers of truth, as is shown in the biblical precedent of the Pharisees. These religious leaders of Israel claimed to be leading one and all of its hearers to heaven, but what they taught was obedience to the Law and not faith in the Messiah Whom God sent to save His people from their sins by HIS obedience unto death. Jesus said of the false teachers of His day, "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in" (Matt. 23:13). By the false teachings, the false gospels, these men taught they closed off the way to heaven rather than paving the way to it, and neither they nor those who listened to and believed what they were saying ever entered into heaven. "They shut it up by their doctrines. By teaching false doctrines respecting the Messiah; by binding the people to an observance of their traditions; by opposing Jesus, and attempting to convince the people that He was an impostor, they prevented many from becoming His followers." Isn’t this what is happening in our own day? Aren’t all those who deny THE Gospel denying the true Messiah of that Gospel and calling Him an impostor? Aren’t religious leaders of today who know not the Gospel shutting up the kingdom of heaven against men, and opposing Jesus the Lord, by their false and misleading doctrines? Of course they are. The name of Jesus has become so well known as that of the Savior that many of today’s false teachers who teach counterfeit christs call these impostors by the name ‘jesus’. The only way to discern the true from the false is what they say about Jesus in the doctrines of their particular gospels (see my booklet ‘God’s Only Jesus’). They call good evil and evil good and ask us to trust in a messiah who is NOT God’s Messiah but a charlatan who, rather than saving people from hell, leads people to it! The observance of traditions that are not based on truth and do not come from God has kept great multitudes from the truth and in bondage to the false gospels which oppose it. And these multitudes, for the most part, belong to large religious organizations. Jesus said, "...ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition" (Matt. 15:6). In Luke 11:52 Jesus says, "...ye have taken away the key of knowledge..." "...they had taken away the right interpretation of the ancient prophecies respecting the Messiah, and thus had done all they could to prevent the people from receiving Jesus as the Redeemer." Such people are the murderers of men’s souls. This is further proof of the fact that if your knowledge of the Gospel is not in accordance with the Scriptures, then you are none of His. The Lord Jesus put it this way: "...in vain they do worship Me, teaching (and believing) for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:9).
The Pharisees had the respect of the greater majority of the masses. People scrambled and almost fought to have these men eat in their homes that they might gain prestige among their peers. Because they looked like religious men with their long beards, and even longer robes, what they taught was received without question as the teachings of God. Because they were committed to the study of the Scriptures, because they were the men who had the authority to teach, who occupied the positions of leadership, they were considered to be God’s Voice on earth. Because these men had undergone an ordination and were Pharisees, which evidenced years of devotion to religious study, was enough to convince people that what they said was right and that it could be nothing else but right. Yet despite what the majority of people believed, NONE of those leaders taught the truth of the Gospel! This same misconceived devotion of undying loyalty may be viewed in many who attend the various ‘churches’ of our day. People who take great pride in boasting of how learned and esteemed their particular minister is whilst scant regard is paid to what these men actually teach. The Pharisees and Sadducees rejected Jesus’ teachings as being of God and they passed Him off as some blasphemer, a heretic who deserved to die a criminal’s death. What an interesting thing, that those who professed so much love for God and His Word failed miserably in recognizing His glorious Son Who came to save God’s people from their sins. And that the little people, the everyday average person, who were looked upon as unlearned people by their religious leaders, were the ones whose eyes were opened to the truth. These religious leaders all vigorously claimed to believe Moses and used this as a base to convince people they were God’s ministers, but in their rejection of the Messiah they showed that they didn’t even really believe Moses and so could not have been God’s ministers at all. Jesus said to them, "...had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me" (Jn. 5:46). Earlier, Christ said to these men who all claimed to believe and accurately teach the Scriptures that "...ye have not His Word abiding in you: for Whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me" (Jn. 5:38,39). This should teach everyone a very valuable lesson: do not fool yourselves into believing that you have God if you abide not in the Doctrine of His Son!! Do not fool yourselves into believing you have the Son if you do not have HIS WORD abiding in you!! Do not fool yourselves into believing that a man who teaches some truths about God must be a minister of God. Despite all their knowledge and prestige among the people; despite all their religious ways and devotion to prayer and the synagogue, this ‘upstart’, Jesus, was the only one Who was right and all of them were the blasphemers. All of them, the very rulers of the entire religious system of the day, were the heretics who were not preaching the Gospel of Christ though they claimed to be the teachers of God’s Word. They were not the seed of God but rather children of the Devil (see Jn. 8:44)! No matter how great the number of people there are who believe the same thing, they can only be as right as those whom they follow. If those whom they follow are wrong then all those who believe the one they follow are wrong too. The blind masses were wrong because these blind guides they followed were wrong (see Matt. 15:14), and only one man, an unlearned man at that, a lone man who did not come out of their Bible colleges, out of their seminaries, Who was not taught by their professors, Jesus Christ, was right. And what did the religious leaders of His day say to those who believed Him: "...are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him?" (Jn. 7:47,48). Religious traditionalists who hold more fervently to the traditions of men rather than God’s Word, in order to prove their teachings right, display this trait by always referring their opponents to the testament of the history of their denomination or organization and their confessions of faith, their creeds etc., where it cannot be found that any of their forbears taught or believed the kind of things the Lord Jesus and his followers are really saying, rather than to the Scriptures. This same attitude is most prevalent today in those who oppose our Gospel and the ramifications that come with it. They ask, ‘Which of the great reformers of the past said, and which of the great theologians, teachers and biblical scholars of today say, what you are saying?’ Such statements provide absolutely no proof whatsoever that those who subscribe to them are bearers of the true Gospel, but are actually a confession, an admission, that their particular group does not, and never has, preached THE Gospel. One ‘pastor’, when he could say no more, asked me: ‘Who are you? Who gave you authority to teach..?’ Exasperated in trying to defend his message and trying to offer up scriptural evidence to support his opposition to my Gospel, this man said the self same thing Christ’s enemies said to Him: "...By what authority doest Thou these things? And who gave Thee this authority?" (Matt. 21:23). Now before anyone starts to falsely accuse me by saying I am putting myself on a par with the Lord Jesus Christ, let me make it perfectly clear that all I am saying by this is that the language of the enemies of the Lord, the enemies of truth who are in positions of leadership and who have the respect of the multitude, has not changed. They always end up questioning the credibility of, and vilifying, the one who teaches differently to them. When they cannot oppose the teachings that contradict with what their denomination teaches or with what their traditions dictate, they attack the ones who teach them. Such a fleshly, carnal, attitude is not without biblical precedence, as we have seen in the words of the religiously hypocritical Pharisees of Jesus’ day. Any teaching that is perceived to be new or that has not been part of a religious institution’s teaching manual, is labelled as false and that which causes division. So many believe this, even without Scriptural support, especially when it comes from the pulpits of long established religious institutions—as if no such group could have had things so wrong for so long! And so we see that such institutions are considered to be without error, that they are virtually infallible, and to believe something which the organization does not teach is construed as rebellion against the truth. This shows the arrogant and hypocritical attitude of such groups that say it is proper to judge right from wrong by what the religious denomination teaches, but that it is wrong to judge saved and lost by belief or unbelief of the Gospel. Many fail to realise that these large organizations are led by mere men, men who have been engendered, if you will, by these monolithic religious organizations through their colleges and seminaries. Men who have been expertly trained to think a certain way, and to uphold the customs, and maintain the teachings, of the denomination that gave birth to them at all costs. As is the case in various fields including religion, the greatest strength of those who have the truth is that they had not been taught how to think by human institutions.
Their thinking is not conformed to this world but has been transformed by the Word of God. Though many leaders and ministers employed by large established religious organizations are very sincere in what they believe, they are a manufactured product designed to tow the company line and call its tenets the teachings of God, and to whom the truth is that which best serves the organization, and when necessary, themselves. I know for a fact that many of these men don’t always believe all of what they are taught, and that many answered their exam papers with what they knew was the answer the college was looking for, but were not necessarily in line with what these men believed the Scriptures teach. How could they get a pass mark and become the pastors and ministers they long to be if they do not provide acceptable answers. Not answers that are necessarily right but answers that are expected. So often these men preach things that they don’t even believe. There have even been instances of men becoming ministers who didn’t even believe in God! So often, these men know that there are those in their congregations who believe wrongly about serious doctrinal matters but dare not say anything for fear of causing disharmony, of upsetting and therefore running the risk of losing members of their congregations, their jobs, their position within the organization and the chance to one day be ‘promoted’ to lead a larger assembly. Individuals who have no vested interests other than to know the truth, according to the Scriptures, are the ones that are to be trusted rather than those who are owned by the organizations they serve, for their livelihoods depend on their faithfulness to the organization and how well they tow the company line. These men dare not say they are wrong or that the denomination they work for is ever wrong. In fact, when was the last time you heard of a denomination announcing it had for decades or even centuries been wrong about a certain doctrine and then proceeded to correct it? These groups are founded on certain doctrinal beliefs and their employees must remain faithful to the denomination’s confession of faith, for to suddenly turn around and admit they have some of them wrong would jeopardize the whole structure. The people would think, ‘If they were wrong on this how many other things could they be wrong about?’ People see these groups as honest and trustworthy and people like to set up their spiritual homes within the boundaries of various denominations, and by doing so say , ‘I am of Apollos’, ‘I am of Paul’ or ‘I am of Calvin’ etc.