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THE CUTTING EDGE
It is reasonable to assume that most Christians today are familiar with the word "heresy," but in light of things taking place in our churches we have to wonder if they really understand its meaning! We are absolutely appalled by the steady stream of email we receive telling us of church problems being caused by preachers with more zeal than knowledge. They are wreaking havoc among the older and more mature members by insisting upon utilizing the very latest "soul-winning" techniques and programs designed to enhance church growth. And a close examination of these things reveal that rank heresy is becoming the rule and not the exception.
The best way we know to define heresy is that it is a deviation from a long-established Scriptural/doctrinal position. Ideally, what we believe and why we believe it should extend all the way back to the beliefs and practices of the early Church and should never change. During the first two or three hundred years of the Church Age, the cardinal doctrines were hammered out by various councils and confessions of faith drawn up to codify them. And the Word of God exhorts us in Proverbs 22:28, "Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set." Historically, any deviation from these "landmarks" have been deemed heresy and correctly denounced as such. But during the last two hundred years, an insidious and almost imperceptible slippage has occurred which reminds us once again of the frog and boiling water analogy, that goes something like this: Throw a frog in boiling water and he will immediately jump out. Put him in cool water, turn up the heat slowly, and you can cook the frog! Satan certainly knows the advantage of "making haste slowly" where Christians are concerned and these subtle changes rarely ever come about rapidly.
So what we propose to do is present a series of articles dealing with the heresy now so wide-spread and do our best to expose it in light of what the Bible has to say. We know from the outset that this is not going to be popular with certain segments of Christendom, because at times the truth hurts. Our job is to cut it straight and do our best to please the Lord.
We want to begin by quoting a portion of one of the footnotes in the original Scofield Bible. It is found in 2 Timothy chapters 2-3, at the bottom of pages 1280-81: "Apostasy, Summary: Apostasy, "falling away," is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth (1) as to the deity of Jesus Christ, and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice (1 John 4:1-3; Phil.3:18; 2 Pet.2:1). Apostasy differs therefore from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance (Acts 19:1-6), or heresy, which may be due to the snare of Satan (2 Tim.2:25-26), both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in 2 Tim.4:3-4. Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity (2 Tim.3:5)....." (The Scofield Reference Bible, emphasis mine).
We include this quote because of the conviction that both apostasy and heresy are involved in the present-day problems, with a trace of ignorance thrown in for good measure.
Bad doctrine inevitably leads to a downward slope and "snowballs" into seemingly never ending mutations, each more tangled than its predecessor. This is the primary reason for the proliferation of denominations today and the splintering taking place within them. Trying to define one's beliefs used to be a fairly easy thing--just tell someone you were a Baptist and they knew exactly where you stood, theologically speaking. But that simply is not the case at the present time, because there are so many different doctrinal positions within the appellation of "Baptist" that names can no longer convey the exact stance one takes. This very fact speaks for itself and is the evidence of the slippage we are addressing. How and where did it all start? What seminal event, if any, can be cited as causing or contributing to it? There are no simple and concise answers, because Satan is a master at covering his tracks and let's face it--he has beguiled us once again. But if we were to attempt a single answer and speak to the present situation (as opposed to historical deviations of the past), we would have to say that it all stems from the early to mid 1800's departure from reformation theology by the evangelist Charles Grandison Finney. His "new measures for a new theology" almost single-handedly changed the doctrinal thrust of evangelical Christianity around the world and the repercussions are still moving outward like ripples on a pond.
Augustine is generally credited with formulating or codifying the doctrine of God's Sovereign grace in the matter of salvation and this doctrine stood as a monolith until such time as the Roman Catholic Church obscured it by her own system of salvation through the works of a "free will." The Protestant Reformation reaffirmed Augustine's position and once again it stood solid even though Arminianism did its best to overthrow it. The Council of Dort in the mid 1500's declared the Arminian position to be heresy. And within this same general time frame, the admirers of the theologian John Calvin began to call the doctrines of Sovereign grace "Calvinism" in his honor--a name, like it or not, it carries to this day. But Finney's doctrinal defection and application of "methods" appealed to evangelists and pastors because it appeared to garner the results they so desperately longed for. And thereby hangs this tale! Within only a few years after Finney introduced his package deal, the face of evangelism was, for all intents and purposes, completely changed--and we are now reaping the consequences. Think about it--and it does not require a degree in theology to see the problem--once the responsibility for salvation was deemed to be upon the individual, through the exercise of his "free will" (RCC dogma!), Pandora's box was opened. Pretty soon, others found additional areas of Scripture that they were certain played a part in salvation and one by one they have been added to the pile. And when they are all included, it is no wonder that so many are so confused. The old landmark doctrine simply states that God does the choosing and the saving. Man has no input. Period.
So for this first article in a series, we want to look at the doctrine of salvation--the root of the problem bedeviling our churches today.
What sayeth the Scriptures? What does God's Word actually say with regard to the so-called "plan of salvation?" Well, first of all, there is no "plan of salvation" in the sense it is now being taught! Virtually every salvation tract being used today contains a list of things the prospective believer must "do" in order to obtain God's forgiveness and eternal life in Christ, when the Bible states over and over all one must do is believe. (Of course there is an element of repentance involved in the belief, but they are virtually inseparable.) The actual plan of salvation is found on God's side of things, not man's. We find it mentioned in Romans 8:28, where we read:
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28 KJV, emphasis mine).
God's Sovereign purpose, or plan, is emphasized and please note that those who are the focus of the plan are referred to as "the called"--those that love God. And in this introductory verse of a passage devoted to the subject of salvation and security, also note that God's purpose precedes all that follows. Arminianism insists that God "looks down through the corridors of time" and selects individuals for salvation based upon an anticipated positive reaction to the Gospel message when they hear it. This heretical concept is nowhere stated in Scripture and is refuted by the order of events we have pointed out. God's elect are the called according to His purpose--His plan--and not some future action on their part. And while we are on the subject, how in the name of reason can a spiritually dead man (Eph.2:1), who is a slave to Satan (Eph.2:2), who cannot understand that which is spiritually discerned (1 Cor.2:14), and who, if left to himself, does not understand and will not seek after God (Rom.3:11), hear the Gospel message and respond to it? Proverbs speaks many times about the subject of wisdom and it's high time that God's people started exercising it! The matter of spiritual death must be overcome before an individual can even "hear" the Gospel message. As long as he is spiritually dead, the message is foolishness to him (1 Cor.1:18). His bondage to Satan must be broken and spiritual understanding restored as a prerequisite to belief. In other words, he must be born again--regenerated--before belief is even possible! Why, this is completely backwards from the "plan of salvation" being taught today! You bet it is, and stay tuned for more.
Romans 8:29 clearly and unambiguously speaks of predestination for those whom God has foreknown : the called according to His purpose (vs.28). And interestingly enough, many conservative and fundamental Bible believers who are Arminian in their theology, reject the doctrine of predestination! Why? Here it is folks, and the Book of Ephesians is covered up with it! Technically speaking, both Arminian and Calvinist positions teach the doctrine--but disagree on the basis for it—Arminians insisting that God predestinates based upon prior knowledge of future actions. But again, God's purpose precedes His foreknowledge as we see in the structure of these two verses in Romans 8. And the clencher is coming up in verse 30!
Remember the wisdom Proverbs speaks of? Well, here is an opportunity to exercise it. Pay close attention to the tense of the verbs in verse 30:
"Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (KJV).
"Called" is past tense folks. He has already called them. "Justified" is past tense--they are already justified. "Glorified" is past tense--they are already glorified. And of particular interest to this discussion is the word justified, because it is the doctrinal term for salvation. As the heavenly Judge of the elect, God has already declared them to be just in His sight and they are born into this world justified and therefore NOT GUILTY!!!!!
Yes, justification for God's elect took place prior to creation and therefore Christians are Scripturally incorrect when they refer to regeneration as the time of their salvation. Yes, we are born spiritually dead like everyone else and must be born again, but salvation did not take place when we were regenerated. That is why belief is assured after our spiritual rebirth--salvation is not in the picture, having been previously accomplished. Belief is the result of salvation and not the cause. What does Acts 13:48(b) say? "....and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." It is a very interesting study to go through the Book of Acts with a highlighter pen and mark each time the word "believe" occurs. It is also interesting that the word "accept" only occurs once in the New Testament (Acts 24:3) and that instance has nothing to do with anyone "accept(ing)" Christ. As a matter of fact, God "hath made us accepted in the beloved" (Eph.1:6). Exercising free will and accepting Christ is the very cornerstone of the currently popular evangelical message, but it is flawed to the extreme.
The doctrine of free will is not to be found in the Word of God. It is a classic example of eisegesis (forcing a doctrine upon Scripture) and the best that proponents of free will can do is offer one (1) verse, John 1:12 as a proof text:
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (KJV).
They insist that the word "received" indicates that the people exercised their free will and accepted Him as their Savior. However, the very next verse absolutely destroys this fallacious conclusion! It says:
"Which [the ones who "received" him, vs.12] were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (KJV, emphasis mine).
To really get the full flavor of this verse, let's look at the Amplified Bible rendering of it:
"Who owe their birth neither to bloods, nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse], nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God--They are born of God! (Amplified Bible, emphasis in original).
Man possesses a will that is free to act in the fleshly human sense, but it is not free according to the theological definition of the term. Free will in the theological sense means that the individual possesses the capacity to either please or displease God. Adam and Eve possessed theological free will and were in a state of "moral equipoise"--having been created with the freedom to please or displease God. But when they sinned, theological free will died along with their spiritual nature. And we as their physical progeny must be born again in order to receive the spiritual nature lost through their sin. Furthermore, if free will were a legitimate doctrine it would be covered in depth by the apostle Paul. It isn't and it isn't!
So without beating the subject to death, we feel it sufficient to say the old doctrines of Sovereign grace known as Calvinism is the landmark link with the past. Most of evangelical Christianity has made the mistake of rejecting this doctrine and are now in the process of paying for it. When anchors are cut loose the ship inevitably drifts in the direction the wind is blowing. And if there was ever a system of belief tailor made for the devil to misuse, the currently popular evangelical nose-counting "my church is bigger than your church" mania has to be it. And we are of the opinion that the majority of pastoral dissatisfaction now being voiced by church members is directly attributed to pastors adopting fleshly and worldly methods--trying to do God's work man's way. Lord willing, more to follow......
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Are you spiritually ready? Is your family? Are you adequately protecting your loved ones? This is the reason for this ministry, to enable you to first understand the peril facing you, and then help you develop strategies to warn and protect your loved ones. Once you have been thoroughly trained, you can also use your knowledge as a means to open the door of discussion with an unsaved person. I have been able to use it many times, and have seen people come to Jesus Christ as a result. These perilous times are also a time when we can reach many souls for Jesus Christ, making an eternal difference.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually.
If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order -- Kingdom of Antichrist -- in their daily news.
Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries
11 Robert Toner Blvd., Ste 5-393
North Attleboro, MA 02763-1156
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