The Gospel Coalition and that heresy hunting thing they do

The last execution of a heretic occurred in Valencia on 26 July, 1826. After a two-year trial, the Spanish Inquisition convicted the schoolmaster Cayetano Ripoll of deism and sentenced him to hang for his unorthodox beliefs.

Today, heretics are tried via blogs and executed with a tweet.

And most of the modern-day heresy hunting seems to be conducted by a network called The Gospel Coalition.

 

Gospel Coalition Canada investigates Bruxy Cavey

Recently, the Gospel Coalition’s Paul Carter decided to undertake an exhaustive examination of the theological views of Bruxy Cavey, the teaching pastor at The Meeting House, a megachurch just outside Toronto, Canada. Apparently, Carter had heard some bad stuff about Cavey’s teaching (maybe from this brutal assessment that he’s a “false teacher” by Jacob Reaume) and decided to interview him in order to make his own informed determination.

Fifteen-thousand words later (not counting footnotes), Carter brought down his verdict that, “Bruxy Cavey is not a heretic. He’s an Anabaptist.”

Cavey and Anabaptists everywhere must have breathed a collective sigh of relief [sarcasm alert].

Nonetheless, Carter went on to damn him with faint praise, “I have no interest in bringing the Anabaptists into my metaphorical bed, I am merely arguing for their right to exist within our ecclesiological neighborhood.”

I know, it sounds smug, patronising, and sanctimonious, but I think he intends it to be generous.

Sure, Paul Carter should be commended for not simply ingesting the anti-Cavey, anti-Anabaptist rhetoric that’s apparently regularly served up in his circles. He decided he’d find out for himself just how bad Bruxy Cavey’s theology really was. And in his series of articles he picks apart Cavey’s views on Scripture, penal substitutionary atonement, and non-violence in general, and while taking issue with various aspects of Cavey’s theology, Carter ultimately stamps the Cavey file, “Non heretic”.

 

Gospel Coalition Australia investigates Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson doesn’t fare quite so well at the hands of another Gospel Coalition inquisitor.

Stephen Tan from TGC-Australia has run his magnifying glass over the ministry of Johnson’s Bethel Church in Reading, California, and found him sadly wanting.

Whereas Paul Carter was moved by the emerging popularity of Bruxy Cavey in their native Canada and wanted to check what all the fuss was about, Tan is acting more like a theological gatekeeper. Bill Johnson is the main speaker at an upcoming conference, Awakening Australia, and Tan wants to warn Aussies to avoid it at all costs.

After addressing what Tan calls “a deadly elevation of experience over Scripture” in the ministry at Bethel, he concludes,

“…the upcoming Awakening Australia (which is hosting Bill Johnson, and which was itself founded by a Bethel Missionary & Former Pastor) has the potential to cause much confusion and spiritual damage to thousands of unsuspecting Australians.”

Ouch.

Naturally, the organizers of Awakening Australia pushed back against Tan’s assessment. Several of his assertions were shown not to be representative of Bethel, which Stephen Tan has since retracted and for which he has apologised.

But fellow TGC-Australia member, Murray Campbell says that’s no reason not to listen to Tan’s warnings. He concludes:

“Christian leaders have a responsibility to alert fellow believers to dangerous ideas and doctrines. Correcting and exposing a movement like Bethel is important because the glory of God matters, the purity of the Gospel matters, and the health and life of people matters.”

Wow.

Campbell then quotes Paul’s warning to the Ephesians about watching out for “savage wolves” and those even from your own number who “will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-31)

Stephen Tan clearly felt that the Bethel brand of Pentecostalism will draw disciples away from the faith like the false teachers of old.

 

Gospel Coalition USA investigates… lots of people

American TGC board member and high profile writer and speaker, John Piper, has himself roundly condemned movements and individuals from across the church spectrum, including Pentecostal prosperity gospel preachers, female seminary professors, Greg Boyd, Brian McLaren, N.T. Wright, and most famously Rob Bell (of “Farewell Rob Bell” fame). In some cases, he has even called them heretics.

Hey, I’m all for robust exchanges. I’m not complaining about vigorous theological disagreement. But a few too many TGC writers seem to be making the assumption it’s their role to pass judgement on heresy or orthodoxy.

Who appointed them to this role?

I acknowledge I can be pretty outspoken in my opinions. I’ve been very critical of Franklin Graham and other right-leaning evangelicals in the US. As I have of Bill Hybels and his pattern of predatory behavior toward women. I’m not a fan of complementarianism. I have argued against conservative Christians who oppose gun reform. And, like John Piper, I have concerns about the so-called prosperity gospel.

But I don’t see it as my responsibility to condemn anyone as a heretic.

 

Not in my Metaphorical Bed

Interestingly, in response to a critical blog post I wrote recently about Franklin Graham, someone from a TGC-like tradition asked me, “So if Franklin Graham tried to attend your church would you bar him?”

It’s a telling response. It betrays the assumption that if you disagree with someone (in this case, Franklin Graham’s alignment with the Trump White House) you must be inclined to reject them utterly and completely and then disallow them to have fellowship with your congregation. I was left wondering if this is what my interlocutor does with those with whom he disagrees.

It also makes sense of what it means when you say you think someone has the “right to exist within our ecclesiological neighborhood” without wanting anything to do with them in your “metaphorical bed”.

Let them merely exist, but have nothing to do with them. Is this any way to speak of our brothers and sisters with whom we disagree?

It’s also patronizing to our churches. It implies they can’t think for themselves and assess the truth claims of teachers from other traditions. We’re not in the 11th century. Our congregations don’t comprise illiterate farmers and blacksmiths. Our church members are capable of critical thinking and basic research. And there’s this thing called the Internet.

This isn’t to say that church leaders shouldn’t have an interest in assessing the beliefs and theology of influential writers and pastors. But surely it is possible for us to say we disagree with such-and-such and outline the reasons, rather than condemning them completely as heretics?

I get it that the Gospel Coalition sits firmly in the Calvinist tradition. And I get that they have differences with Anabaptists (like Bruxy Cavey) and Pentecostals (like Bill Johnson) and female seminary professors. They have every right to express those differences. But could we lay off condemning every tradition we disagree with as heretical and refusing to have anything to do with them?!

 

 

 

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35 thoughts on “The Gospel Coalition and that heresy hunting thing they do

  1. Hear hear. Another great one Mike.

    We attended an ‘TGC’ style church for about a year… it was a well known local church and we kind of knew what we were getting into, but had a lot of old friends there.
    Ultimately the arrogance of which you speak is what broke it for us… a kind of pseudo intellectalism; the dogged belief that they’re ‘a bible church’ , as if they read the old book through pure, uninfluenced eyes (and the strong implication – sometimes not even implied – that no other churches read the bible properly!)

    There wasn’t really room for disagreement; the tone seemed to be ‘you’re wrong, but if you stay here long enough you’ll come around’.

    They’re doing some good things, but in the end, it wasn’t a picture of the kingdom that we wanted our kids to imbibe.

    1. This was me. It broke my Christianity. Years of it being implied other churches were wrong meant we’ve struggled to find another church family for more than 2 years 🙁

      1. Cathie, I’m a Baptist pastor (BUV) starting an online engagement with people like yourself – those who want to journey with Jesus but find binary thinking alienating and the church’s neat boundaries even more so. Let me know if you would like to know more. (Julian Holdsworth, revdjools@gmail.com).

        1. Please provide link to blog.

          1. Hi Ellen
            Just starting it. YouTube channel linking to a community facebook page. Not yet up yet. In the formative stage at the moment. Give me a couple of months – it’s a big project.

          2. dchurched.com
            This is thepodcast and Facebook group Iser up to connect with those who like Jesus but can’t cope with church.

      2. Cathie, my wife and I separated ourselves from this movement back in the 1990’s. It was painful exodus out of its bondage and pain. Please keep looking for a good Christian church to find the help and restoration you need. Shalom in our Lord Jesus Christ, Mark Rogers.

      3. I thank God that The Gospel Coalition is out there warning the Church about false teachings and false teachers. It is a shame that as they are defending the faith from wolves trying to infiltrate the Church that they also have to defend themselves from enemies within the Church who malign their ministry.

        1. There’s a big difference between warning about false teaching and pointing out what perfectly orthodox views they happen to disagree with. Just because a Calvinist disagrees with a certain doctrine doesn’t make it “false teaching.”

  2. I agree with you on this, but can I gently suggest that you could rise above? Maybe you could model another way beyond blog-battles to show us what love looks like in this case?

    1. Well, I didn’t call them heretics. 😉

    2. and here I thought Mike was very loving with this article..

      1. Me too!

  3. Romans 12:5 – “each member belongs to all the others.” We have no right to disavow any fellow believer because of a difference of opinion on non-essentials. We owe each other respectful attention as well as generous sharing of what the Lord has entrusted to us. Thanks, Michael.

  4. the implications in Titus is that heretics (v10) weren’t simply presenting unorthodox views, but is this case were factious and divisive – they were majoring on the minor and in their presumption, disrupting and dividing the church. Who’s acting like that today?

    9 Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. 10 If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11 For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.

  5. We all to some degree cast our own measure over others to see how they impact our own self worth. When we do it as a group it seems to add legitimacy to the process. Let’s be clear it is still a process of determining self worth. When our need to be right determines our legitimacy we have lost the gospel. The only legitimate competition in the eyes of God is how we can out-love each other.

  6. Thanks Mike… I’ve got a few friends who have been labelled ‘heretics’ due to their open and sincere questioning of doctrines regarding the trinity, inerrancy, sexuality, gender… usually by readers of TGC.

    These are sisters and brothers who encourage the saints, empower the oppressed, pray, repents, read scripture, worship and fellowship… they are just not convinced in every instance to tow the party line.

    What’s the tipping point between heresy and just plain old being wrong? (which on some level we all are sometimes, once, maybe)

  7. There is a saying in the world of soccer: Play the ball, not the man. Why can’t people stop confusing a viewpoint they disagree with, with the person. Theology maketh the man perhaps, but ‘bad’ theology doesn’t necessarily maketh a heretic .

  8. I totally agree that people need to give one another grace. I am disturbed that so many people assume that our recent church tradition has not been influenced by culture, but assume that attempts to rationally debate ideas that arise as our culture changes. Are the new ideas sacrificing Biblical truth in favor of culture? Or did the old assumptions arise out of a set of unfair assumptions? The battle over slavery played this dynamic out. The church should have learned something and try not to repeat past mistakes. It should be embarrassing that people were burned at the stake for believing that the sun revolved around a global earth, or lynched by so called Christians for being black. Recent memory calls to mind the furor over the role of women in the church, which still smolders. The current line in the sand is drawn between Christians with different views on LGTBQ people.
    In my opinion, people who exploit poor people with lies in order to live in luxury deserve condemnation. People who preach hate deserve condemnation. And people who condemn there brothers and sisters who do neither of these things deserve rebuke.

  9. Well said. Thanks for sharing. I’ve noticed the TGC places a lot of emphasis on profession of faith and “right” beliefs. Overall, they have some great teaching.

    But they seem to forget the Christian Faith is a journey of believing. Also, experience and belief can live in the same neighborhood and should even live in the same house! We need both to thrive as followers of Christ.

    The idea of ‘knowing God’ in Scripture is always experiential, anyway. I’ve been to Bethel Redding and love their church!

  10. Am I right or wrong in assuming that the predominant demographic of the heresy-hunters and their followers is old white folks? In my experience, the “youngsters” are leaving the churches in droves, and this “I’m right and you’re bad” mentality is a big factor causing them to flee. And once a person leaves the church and is out of that mindset, they eventually look back at the heresy-hunters and their followers and think, “I don’t ever want to be like them or join them.” Am I wrong?

  11. Some good thoughts, Mike. What is hard for most people is: culture (for the purpose of this comment- attitude, behavior and beliefs that affect each of us and affect the way we engage with others) becomes a stumbling block for engagement with the “other.’ We become so impassioned with what we believe to be right and true and we firmly believe our truth should be the ultimate truth for everyone. Period. We don’t have an easy time stepping back and thinking about “perspective,” or the lenses in which each of us sees the world through. I think what makes this stuff difficult is that TGC folks truly believe they are doing something right; “safeguarding the faith.” And that safeguarding, which seems downright arrogant and absurd to, maybe, you or me, really means a lot to them and they firmly believe it to be biblically sound.

    We all need to spend more time listening to other people’s stories and attempt, as difficult as it may be, to at least “try” on the other person’s lenses for a moment. We don’t need to adopt other’s perspectives, but I think it is helpful and loving to at least try to understand where others are coming from, regardless of where we align.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is: it takes a lot of grace and patience to be a follower of Jesus. It takes a lot of conviction to stand for what each of us believes to be right and true and good. It takes a lot of humility to say, “I’m wrong and I’m sorry,” something we can all get better at. It takes a lot of forgiveness and a lot of long, long, LONG-suffering to be a part of this crazy mixed-up thing called the church. And mostly, if our Father can put up and deal with and love each of us fools til the end of eternity, then I guess we gotta try to do our best to do that with one another, differences aside.

  12. Hi, thanks for the article. Out of curiosity, at what point if any would you assess someone to be a false teacher or heretic? (assuming you believe such people exist)

    1. I agree with George Gillespie, “Heresy is a gross and dangerous error, voluntarily held and factiously maintained by some person or persons within the visible church, in opposition to some chief or substantial truth or truths grounded upon and drawn from the Holy Scripture by necessary consequence.” But this is different to being in error. All heresies are errors, but not all errors are heresies. As Augustine said, “I may err, but I shall not be a heretic”. When calling someone a heretic or a false teacher, you’d better have really good grounds. And if you’ve done it more than a handful of times online, then you’ve probably done it too often.

  13. Hi there folks. I just wanted to offer my take on this issue.

    To give you some context – I’m in rather a unique position – I have grown up in a Pentecostal church, but I work in an environment with people most would describe as ‘evangelicals’ – and some would describe as people similar to those who would write articles for The Gospel Coalition.

    Thus, I occupy a ‘middle ground’ in having seen ‘both sides’ of the argument of ‘experience and scripture’, a more ‘traditional’ approach vs a ‘contemporary’ approach, etc. This has forced me to think really critically about both sides – both a blessing and a curse..! (Disclaimer – I’m from Australia, not the states – so can’t comment knowledgeably on matters is the US – but can only speak from my own experience).

    I understand the way some of you have described an ‘arrogance’ of some Christians, as it seemed this way to me too when I first came into contact with them. While I cannot comment on the people you’ve all had contact with, my perception has changed with time and through interacting with these people.

    Knowing how important the Bible is – and having seen, often in their own wider church history what can happen when we use other things as our authority over or in addition to the Bible – (spoiler alert – it usually messes with the message of the Gospel) – the intention these people have is to protect the Bible’s message. They rightly acknowledge that the Gospel is what changes lives – thus the most ‘loving’ thing for them to do is to protect it – and to do so, be clear about who is changing – or even ‘softening’ – its’ message.

    The NT is full of teachings about the danger of false teachers – I believe their motivations are biblically-based. I know people who would probably really prefer not to speak up against other believers, but are convicted that to do so is necessary for the benefit of other believers. Indeed, the word ‘heretic’ is a strong one, but is often used, (in my experience), when the core beliefs of the Bible are denied – threatening the wider body of Christ. And yes – those core issues include the sole authority of Scripture, (and the ‘usefulness’ of all scripture to the believer), the doctrine of the trinity, Jesus’ incarnation as fully God and man, etc.

    As to the idea of ‘who appointed them’ to ‘investigate’ others, I would argue that the Bible itself encourages us to be wary of those who are false teachers – Paul even names some himself to Timothy. (See 1 Tim 1 18-20). In this area, again I would hope that their intention is not to be puffed up or arrogant – but to act in the best interests of the message of the Gospel – according to what the scriptures say.

    I guess my overall perspective on this matter has changed to now recognise that while some may act ‘arrogantly’, (or at least seem arrogant), most I’ve met are trying to submit to and apply the Bible – to ‘hold onto what was preached’. Perhaps some of these believers’ stance on certain finer points of doctrine could allow some room for error – but most of the time, their teaching and practices seem to come from a biblical conviction – rather than an arrogance to place themselves over the ‘heretics’ whom they warn against.

    1. Thanks. I guess we all like to think we occupy the “middle ground”, but your assumption that TGC only operates from some purely biblical perspective kinda betrays your bias. TGC have a distinct and uncompromising doctrinal position and they assess other movements and teachers from that perspective. That’s fine as far as it goes. But the fact that they purport to be able to condemn (or clear) people as heretics, when what they’re really doing is condemning them as not fitting into their doctrinal position, is very concerning.

  14. Hi Mike,

    I appreciated your article – probably more than you might believe. I agree with you that there is a danger is any narrow group (and we are all narrow groups nowadays in the fractured, post evangelical world) declaring anyone else to be a heretic. A heretic used to be someone that all of Christendom recognized as having crossed over the outer boundary. The word used to be reserved for people who denied the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the death of Christ on the cross or the bodily resurrection. Now it is being applied to people who disagree with us on secondary (and often tribal) issues. That’s a huge problem. However, as you noted, I did not label Cavey as a heretic and I took a lot of heat for “failing” to do so. Further, I did exactly as you suggest we ought to do: I attempted to resource churches with actual material -as opposed to sound bites and video clips – so as to allow them to exercise their own discernment. In our collective statement we simply stated the obvious : at this time Bruxy is not a Coalition church and could not sign our statement. We don’t therefore refer to him as he would not to us. But we love him and respect him even as we continue to dialogue with him about these important issues. How is that a problem? Further, I think you have misinterpreted the expression “into my metaphorical bed”. What I was saying there is that I am not trying to baptize Bruxy into the reformed family – I am trying to argue for his right to exist as an Anabaptist unmolested in the wider Christian world. Isn’t that what you are saying here? I disagree with Bruxy on a number of issues we both think are important – but we are friends and we have an on-going dialogue. I think that is a pretty spectacular thing, given the climate out there in the wider Christian world. Blessings to you friend, Paul Carter

  15. I wonder what is worse than tearing each other apart with endless debate over theology? “They’ll know we are Christians by our love”

  16. I happen to love Bruxy Cavey – I love his podcasts, his preaching style and his church. I think his Gospel in 30 words has helped make sharing the gospel a whole lot easier for people: Jesus is God with us, Coe to show us God’s love, save us from sin, set up God’s Kingdom, shut down religion, so we can share in God’s life…

    …boom…Mic drop…

  17. MY STORY

    I came from a violent home, (drugs, alcohol, gun shots, being chased with knives, people thrown thru picture pane windows), in fact I was born three months early because my father kicked my mother in the stomach, and I weighed two pounds nine ounces. 

    As early as 7yrs old I was out on the streets till 3-4am, I was put in three orphanages… once my father snuck into our house, he put a loaded pistol in my hand and told me too shoot my sisters and my mother, it was crazy.

    Thru all of this, (which I wouldn’t change), I came out a fairly normal kid, I was involved in sports and didn’t do drugs, or drink. I thought I was a survivor, wanting only too make it thru another day. 

    At age 16 (in 1974) I started too sense a need in my life, an emptiness that I couldn’t explain.

    I knew I had too find God/Jesus, but who was HE? I had no idea where too find HIM, so I went to the local library to find books concerning world religions, God, and the occult.

    At the library I met an ex hippie (Gary Osborn) he saw my books and decided too share the message with me. Gary invited me to pray in the back of his V.W. so I did, I remember saying “God forgive me for my sins, and whatever you have for me I want it all”. 

    Well at first nothing happened I expected, lightening or something. Gary said, “Just go home and praise God” I said, “What’s that, mean” Gary said, “Just thank him” So I did just that. 

    The remaining is sacred to me, before I asked Jesus into my heart, I never heard voices, I never drank, and I never did drugs, but one week after meeting Jesus while in the middle of my last class (during high school) A voice, just as clear, as someone standing next too you, spoke, and as the voice spoke it said to me, “rod tell them about Jesus” I was surprised, but unafraid.

    I put my hand over my mouth, since I didn’t want anyone too think I was talking too myself, I said (to whoever spoke too me) “I don’t know what to say” the voice said “don’t be afraid, I’ll give you the words to say” To this day I don’t remember my words, but I spoke too those kids about Jesus and salvation, their mouths just dropped open and then, class was over, I walked out of that room, feeling like I had never felt before. 

    The next day was Saturday; I slept in the living room on an old couch. When I woke it was early and I decided too turn on the TV, to watch my favorite cartoon, the roadrunner. 
    As I sat there watching the TV, I got up and looked outside, everything was so beautiful, (I never appreciated nature, I just wanted too make it thru another day). BUT now it was so pretty, I sat back down on the couch, and as I did I was somewhere else. 

    I was sitting at a long rough hewn table, to my right was Jesus, straight ahead was the father, I couldn’t see him, to my left was Satan, him I could see (he looked like a man only very big) then in front of each of us, but not Satan three bowls appear, filled with what looked like porridge. Now the father spoke and said Satan dismiss yourself, Satan stood and screamed, then vanished. Three bites were taken out of the bowl.

    Then all at once I was watching myself from a distance, walking with Jesus up a grassy pathway. Jesus was speaking to me but from a distance I couldn’t hear him, I could see myself shaking my head (like I understand) then thru my eyes I saw the house where I had been sleeping. 

    I didn’t know what had happened; I’d never experienced anything like that, but I knew two things, I had too find a pastor to talk too, and I KNEW GOD loved me and wanted something from me…my total surrender, my life totally under his control, every second, moment by moment, and I was consumed with this one desire, to live too PLEASE HIM.

    Let me give you an example: When a friend from school would come over and say, “Hey rod.” “Let’s go to a show” I’d say, “hold on.” Then Id go in the bathroom and pray, “Lord should I go?”

    Sometimes the Lord would say “go”, sometimes “no” At times He was silent, when this happened I would look inside, to my heart, (Spirit), (see Colossians 3:15) if I had peace I would go, If not, Id stay home. 

    As I practiced this new desire, (surrender), I noticed the voice of the Lord became more frequent and clearer, (John 10:27). It always had to agree with scripture. The word of the Lord will always agree with the true meaning and / or the true interpretation of scripture). 

    I needed to get a bible, I went to a bookstore and I got the largest family bible Id ever seen, with pictures and everything. I was so happy. That night the voice of the lord said, “Read Matthew 5.” I had to look in the contents; I didn’t know where Matthew was. When I found it and started too read, the words became a (“Word of the Lord to me”) they just jumped off the page, they seemed to come alive, and they filled me, with hope, love and peace.

    Now I knew God loved me, and my sins were gone, I was forgiven… 

    As time passed I grew, sometimes Id walk into a busy office or building (like a D.O.L) and the Lord would say go sit by that guy, I would strike up a conversation, then say “you don’t know me but I’m a Christian and God is going too share with me about your life” I don’t mean simple things like “you have the flu” or “Headaches”, but deep, personal things that others couldn’t know or even guess. People would usually start to cry and ask “how did you know?” I’d say “I didn’t but God knew”. 

    One of the best lessons from the Lord concerning trusting Him happened like this; I was traveling from Philly to Atlantic city, I got on the road, and started to hitch a ride, (it wasn’t illegal at that time) within one hour and twenty minuets I was in Atlantic city (which was a one hour drive!) I got 4 different rides, as I stepped into each vehicle I boldly proclaimed “Hi I’m a child of the King, and God’s going to bless you for picking me up!” God gave me very personal details about each of those people and all but one came to Christ. 

    When I got to Atlantic City, God said “Rod, when you get to the prayer meeting tonight I want you to give all your money, to Johnnie Diaz”. I said “Lord that’s all I’ve got?” (About 300.00) God replied; “you take care of your brothers and sisters in the Lord and I’ll take care of you.” So upon arriving in Atlantic City, I secretly gave all my money to Johnnie, (this was to cover something for Johnnie that was very personal, so I know he didn’t share this with anyone). 

    That night I asked myself “how am I going to get back to work, tomorrow? I didn’t have a penny, not even enough for bus fare, and in my spirit I knew I wasn’t to hitch hike, but instead the Lord wanted me on the bus. After sleeping that night and leaving the brothers house the next day, (where the meeting had been held).

    I started walking to the bus station. As I got closer and closer, I was imagining, “is the drivers going to just “know” he’s suppose to let me ride for free?” But as I approached the depot, a brother named “Chicky” came out of his house and said “rod I think the Lord wants me to give this to you.” It was exactly what I needed for bus fare! 

    This has been a short summary of my life.

  18. Rod you are like a piece of fruit in a bowl, with many other pieces of fruit (Christians), but you are the worse piece of fruit in the bowl. And that is why I will use you for my glory.

    Why do you believe, what you believe, who taught you. I said Lord I don’t know, I guess I just picked them up from others. He says Do you think truth goes from the mind of one man and into another? I say No. I believe it comes from revelation. Then several things rush into my mind, as if someone is pouring them into me, thinks about the bible and God start to come together, a couple of things I will share below..

    Rod I don’t ever want you to put your sins above my love and grace for you. I don’t want you to look for things in yourself to improve, or try and change…I’m the vine dresser, I’m the shepherd, I am the one who washes. I Cleanse and teach you.

    I will bring things to your attention when I want to change things, then you just agree with me, and turn those things over to me, then I will change those things, not you… You are not to shine or polish the cup.

    You just abide in me, and rest in me, do not try to establish your own righteousness.

    I Went To See The Son of God Movie… When All of a Sudden…As I Was Watching Jesus Die…

    I heard myself say “Oh that is why Jesus died, as it dawned on me that Jesus was right when he said “You must be born again.

    In all of Paul’s writings concerning:

    The Spirit,
    The Flesh,
    Death,
    Sin,
    Lust of the flesh,
    The 1st Adam,
    The 2nd Adam,
    and walking in the Spirit…

    That these things are all tied to the death of Jesus.

    It’s as if God decided to give up on “The flesh” since the flesh was never able to abide by His commands, nor please Him, and move to the Spirit, as a new creation.

    Kind of like changing trains, or modes of transportation…

    That is why Jesus said “You must be born again”. Born of Spirit. A new creation.

    Jesus died; literally killed the vehicle of sin, and death, by dying in the flesh.

    So when we are born again, we really are NEW creatures.

    Old things have passed away. This is why that seed remains sin free. Because sin worked through the flesh…

    Adam was in the flesh, and sinned in the flesh.

    Sin can’t work in the Spirit…It’s not the right vehicle (seed) for sin…

    Someone asked: Jesus received the power of holy spirit when he sat down at the right hand of God. With what power then did he previously construct the universe?

    A careful reading of the scriptures says that God spoke (we call this, “the word of God”), and things that are lept into existence.

    So this means according to Genesis “The Word” created all that we see.

    Then several thousand years later, in the time of Jesus birth, the bible says “The Word BECAME Flesh”, (past tense) meaning the word, wasn’t flesh before this point in time.

    So without interpretation, that is what the bible says.

    What is Sin?

    Please allow me explain sin.

    The bible, the words of Jesus, and the writings of Paul explain this for us. The concept is whatever makes YOU feel that you have something between you and God is wrong.

    This is a thing that effects the conscience, where Paul says for a weaker brother, I would NOT eat meat sacrificed to an idol, although an idol is nothing to me.

    Paul then goes on to say (after he matured in Christ) that ALL things were legal for him to do, but that they may not be beneficial to him.

    Jesus looks at it from another angle and stated that unbelief is the greatest sin, since the unbelief in HIM, would cut you off from the remedy, which was Jesus himself.

    Jesus mission was not that we be good enough, for God knew, and wanted us to know we could NEVER be good enough, and would never keep His commandments.

    So the remedy was to forget the flesh; (the human body, sin, desires…ie This flesh and bones, that we live in), and concentrate on a NEW creation (vehicle), which was SPIRIT, (as in, we are spirit, soul, and body). For the spirit was willing and able to please God, because the flesh was made weak after the transgression, in the garden.

    So god, so to speak, told everyone who would believe in Him…We are moving our focus to “The Spirit”, for it is the only thing that can inherit eternal life, for the flesh goes into the grave, but the spirit after regeneration (being given new life, lives forever).

    So God no longer focuses on the human body (flesh), But instead on a gift he gives you, this gift is the new spirit, and eternal life.

    I think the bible (The scriptures) are from God, and contain his word, and they are true.

    They are the words of God…Spoken to others in time past, and written down for us…

    BUT the bible describes itself as the scriptures, and it describes something else too…

    In several verses it proclaims something, and we read it and never quite see it, but it’s there in full bloom…It’s something different than the scriptures that we see described.

    It’s something that is so important to have operating in our lives, so that WE like those written about in the bible, can look each other, and say “I too have experienced that the same thing”.

    What is that thing that we need to experience?

    It’s “THE WORD”…

    It’s spoken about in Gen 1, John 1, and Hebrews 4:12…

    We see it described in Acts…

    Peter says it happened to him, the word came to him and said rise and eat….

    Phillip had the experience when the word came and told him to join himself to the chariot…

    It happened to Paul when it knocked him off his horse…

    And this very thing we are discussing is named for us in Revelation 19:13: “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood”: and his name is called “The Word of God.”

    I got to thinking about the beginning, brothers such as you and I, in the 70’s…

    I was thinking about contrast. Then and now, what were the less obvious differences, those invisible spiritual things that are under the surface, not seen by the human eye, only discerned, IF you had discernment…Things seemingly small yet so important, unnoticed by many.

    It was my experience then that I met two sets of circumstances that were totally different.

    I went to a few churches, before I got invited to go to the east coast. The churches were formal, it involved teaching, and a form of doctrine. If you agreed to the knowledge they tried to impart to you, you might even get to be an elder. You were certainly a member of their church. You might even get an immediate invite for a baptism.

    There were many other churches in this same city, shoot, there were several just a block away. But they never fellow-shipped together, separated I guess by their doctrines, their denomination. Some back then even claimed not to have a denomination, yet you found out there was no such thing. They still had beliefs that would cause them to separate from you, if you thought differently.

    How different when I got to the East Coast. Brothers meeting you, knowing nothing about you, not caring what doctrines you believed. They didn’t invite you to their church, so they could impart any certain knowledge to you…It was just Christ and Him crucified.

    Actually no one even went to church, but the life in these people who met together from 2 or 3 states was unmistakable.

    The fellowship was around a simple profession of Christ, and simple evidence of “LIFE” streaming from the inside of that other person you had just met. Then of course there was a witness of the spirit, and you knew you had just met a brother. You didn’t know what he believed, about anything, but you knew he believed in that ONE THING that mattered.

    And the evidence was perceived LIFE…IF that brother didn’t have THAT, man it was witnessing time. It didn’t matter if he was a guy on the street or a pastor… You either had Jesus and his life, or you didn’t.

    If he didn’t have that life, he wasn’t a brother and their was NO WAY you could fellowship with him, so you knew you just had to tell him the good news. Their was no separation about doctrine, or denomination, what you wore, who you hung with, what you ate, none of that… Just brothers and sisters with LIFE! A simple gospel, and a simple fellowship.

    Then somewhere in the late 70’s or early 80’s something happened…It was as if someone marched in to the room, and announced a new ownership or new management…

    Next thing you knew that “LIFE” was gone. The simpleness had been replaced with knowledge, creeds, licenses, and labels.

    The life became a routine, a set of doctrines, a denomination, a determined set of do this and don’t do that, and your one of US. BUT the life was gone, it just faded and being a Christian became a vocation, like going to work. Clock in, clock out, do this, do that, read, pray, go to church…

    NO LIFE!!! No fellowship of the spirit…

    All that replaced with a new fellowship, a fellowship based on a likeness of beliefs, a sameness of doctrine…

    God controls everything, even evil. No matter how uncomfortable that makes us it is true. Let me give you an example.

    One day David says to God. “I want to build you a house.” God says “No!” “But you will have a son in the future who will build me my house”.

    This promised son, this son of prophecy, this future son, this spoken word son, this god prophesied son, was Solomon…

    Now watch God fulfill his own word of promise, His own prophetic word to David.

    One day David was overlooking his kingdom, and while on his rooftop, he sees a beautiful woman, bathing herself. David says “who is that woman” his servant says that is Bathsheba, the wife of your servant Uriah. David says “get her for me”. Then they have relations, (fornicate and commit adultery) …

    And from this union surrounded by sin and deceit, comes the eventual birth of this God promised, prophesied, spoken word, son, named Solomon.

    How about Moses, Moses kills a man, so he can meet God at the burning bush.

    Consider this man that Moses killed, this man was at the right place at the right time. What if this man had chosen to take a different path to work, or had an extra cup of tea, or went to visit the pharaoh that day?

    No that man had to be just at the right place at the right time to fulfill God’s plan and promises.

  19. […] is why we  had to bring back our humble Gospel Coalition and take a stand against Franklin’s slide into the apostasy of Sintology. Repent of your […]

  20. Bottom line is that if people try and remake biblical principles and God into their own preference then that is heresy. Things like Kenosis, Universal Salvation, No Hell, All ways lead to Christ and that God didn’t pour out his wrath on Jesus are outright Heresies. I really cannot see the problem in having a conversation about them but its how its done. I sincerely dislike how Paul Rosenberg, Tom Friel and other of that crowd don’t just refute the heresy but they mock the person that is believing the heresy. The same things goes for Kris Vallaton, Todd White and Bill Johnson. They mock more subtle but they still make fun of people that hold to fundamental doctrine. If heresy is to be exposed it should be bare bones about the error in the belief and the correction of that belief, never should it move past what that person said into who they are.

    1. I LOVE IT when people tell me what the “bottom line” is!

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