Monday, August 31, 2009
As of today, we are shutting down the comments section of this blog. We are doing this for two reasons:
1. I (Dusman) have been the primary person to answer blog comments. I simply do not have the time to answer comments due to my busy schedule working a full-time secular job, pastoring a church, and my desire to be a Biblically faithful daddy and husband.
2. Due to the nature of controversial subjects that we sometimes address on this blog, we have attracted some blog trolls in the past. We were hoping that we would have mostly intelligent, respectful, and reasonable commenters for the posts, but as expected, this has not happened when it comes to addressing controversial issues. Therefore, rather than moderating foolish comments from trolls who aren't really interesting in hearing Scripture and reason, we have decided to shut down the comments section altogether (2 Timothy 2:23).
Thank you for your understanding!
Friday, August 28, 2009
|Author: Susan Verstraete|
It's a good thing he wasn't born in the 20th century. Many believing brothers and sisters would label his tendency to melancholy sinful, or evidence of a lack of self-discipline, or even the result of shallow faith. A psychologist would probably send him away with a prescription and a self-help book with twelve easy steps to overcome depression. But Charles Haddon Spurgeon, perhaps the greatest preacher of the 19th century, had a different attitude toward his affliction.
Spurgeon knew "by most painful experience what deep depression of spirit means, being visited therewith at seasons by no means few or far between." He warned his students, "Fits of depression come over the most of us. Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy." Although he said, "Spiritual darkness of any sort is to be avoided, and not desired," he never assumed that a Christian suffering depression must necessarily be in sin. Instead, he wrote, "I note that some whom I greatly love and esteem, who are, in my judgment, among the very choicest of God's people, nevertheless, travel most of the way to heaven by night."
Spurgeon goes on in his book, Lectures to my Students, to give some of the reasons believers fall into sadness. He also provides hope for those so overtaken.
"Is it not first, that they are men?" Spurgeon acknowledged that being a Christian did not make a man or woman immune from suffering. In fact, he said, "Even under the economy of redemption it is most clear that we are to endure infirmities, otherwise there were no need of the promised Spirit to help us in them. It is of need be that we are sometimes in heaviness. Good men are promised tribulation in this world." But he points out that through this suffering, we "may learn sympathy with the Lord's suffering people." Paul says something similar in 2 Corinthians 1:4; God "comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
"Most of us are in some way or another unsound physically." Spurgeon suffered terribly with a joint disorder that was diagnosed as gout. He was forced to stay in bed, sometimes for weeks at a time in excruciating pain. "I have been brought very low," he wrote to his congregation during one long bout, "My flesh has been tortured with pain and my spirit has been prostrate with depression. . . . With some difficulty I write these lines in my bed, mingling them with the groans of pain and the songs of hope."
With characteristic balance, Spurgeon understood that physical pain and natural temperament contribute to depression, but did not allow his students to use them as an excuse for despair. "These infirmities may be no detriment to a man's career of special usefulness," he said. "They may even have been imposed upon him by divine wisdom as necessary qualifications for his peculiar course of service. Some plants owe their medicinal qualities to the marsh in which they grow; others to the shades in which alone they flourish."
"In the midst of a long stretch of unbroken labor, the same affliction may be looked for." Spurgeon's schedule was exhausting. In a typical week, he preached ten times. He answered approximately 500 letters, taught in a ministerial college, administrated an orphanage and dealt with dozens of individuals concerning their souls. He wrote for publications, entertained visitors at his home, taught his own family and encouraged his bedridden wife. It is no wonder that his health suffered under such a workload. Spurgeon's church finally insisted on regular vacations for him each year. Spurgeon told his students, "The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body. . . . Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength."
"One crushing stroke has sometimes laid the minister very low." On October 19, 1856, the 22 year old Spurgeon spoke for the first time in the Surrey Gardens Music Hall in London. The church was no longer big enough to contain the crowds of people who wanted to hear him preach. Thousands packed into the music hall, seating themselves in aisles and stairways after all the regular seating was full, and hundreds more waited outside, hoping to hear part of the sermon through the windows. Just after Spurgeon began to pray, someone in a balcony shouted "Fire!" People pushed and shoved to get out of the building, and a stair railing gave way under the pressure. Seven people were killed and 28 more were injured. The tender-hearted Spurgeon never completely recovered from the emotional impact of this incident. He wrote, "I was pressed beyond measure and out of bounds with an enormous weight of misery. The tumult, the panic, the deaths, were day and night before me, and made life a burden."
Many have experienced a natural disaster, the death of a loved one, devastating financial loss or overwhelming disappointment when a child or a fellow believer has fallen into sin. Spurgeon offers hope from his own experience. "The fact that Jesus is still great, let his servants suffer as they may, piloted me back to calm reason and peace. Should so terrible a calamity overtake any of my brethren, let them both patiently hope and quietly wait for the salvation of God."
"The lesson from wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble." In the end, Spurgeon acknowledged that depression may come to some believers for no discernable reason. He did not consider it an illness, a sin, or surprising condition, but an inevitable season in the life of a Christian and an opportunity to demonstrate trust in the God who will one day wipe away every tear.
Copyright © 2007 Susan Verstraete
Christian Communicators Worldwide, Inc.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009
What will it take so that thousands of Christians in our churches become passionate about telling the gospel to unbelievers? One of the reasons we don't do it as much as we should is that life America is so entertaining that thoughts about desperate, eternal, spiritual need are hard for us to feel, let alone talk about. The world is just too interesting and entertaining. It feels awkward to make ourselves or others uncomfortable with thoughts about perishing people. It's heavy. But life in America is light.
So perhaps what God will choose to do is what he did for the church in Jerusalem. They were not moving out from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world in evangelism the way Jesus told them to in Acts 1:8. So Stephen was raised up to bear such irresistible testimony (Acts 6:10) that the only way his adversaries could handle him was to kill him (Acts 7:60).
And when they did, the persecution spilled over onto all the Christians in Jerusalem. "And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered through out the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles" (Acts 8:1). And what was the result? Acts 8:4: "Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). Literally: "Those who were scattered went about gospelling the word (euangelizomenoi ton logon, Acts 8:4-5). They weren't preachers. They were just ordinary folks, thousands of them (Acts 2:41). After they were driven out of their homes they went everywhere telling the good news.
It this not an amazing response to persecutions and pain and loss and exile and homelessness? They did not go everywhere complaining. They did not go everywhere questioning God. They went everywhere "telling the good news." O that we would so love the gospel and have so much compassion for lost people that tribulation and distress and persecution and famile and nakedness and danger and sword and gun and terrorist would turn us not into fearful complainers, but bold heralds of good news.
Precisely when they were persecuted, they went everywhere telling the good news of Christ. Maybe the Lord will do it that way. He certainly is doing it that way in some parts of the world, and millions are being born again - through the loving, bold, clear telling of the gospel by persecuted Christians. [John Piper, Finally Alive, (Minneapolis, Minn.: Christian Focus, 2009), 171-172.]
Monday, August 24, 2009
A Warning by Josef Urban
Jesse Morrell is an open air preacher and campus speaker who travels around the USA preaching everywhere. He writes somewhat extensively on theological subjects and operates under the banner of the ministry he founded, “Open Air Outreach”. His influences seem to span wide and far as he is constantly on the move and preaching his version of what he calls “the gospel”.
Yet, despite the outward appearance of zeal in evangelism and devotion to theological subjects, there is reason to have grave concern about this man and the ministry he leads. Not only has he employed unscriptural and cruel tactics of “shock and awe” preaching where crude statements are shouted in the open air in the hopes of offending people so that a heckler will rise up and yell and then a crowd will gather, and not only does he align himself with false evangelists who are known for their shockingly offensive and anti-biblical methods of ministry, but he believes and promotes a theology which denies the essential truths of the Gospel. In this short article, I’m going to briefly explain how Jesse’s theology is anti-biblical and denies the real Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Word of God.
I have already communicated with Jesse on numerous occasions pleading with him from God’s Word to recognize his error and to renounce the false doctrines he believes, and have communicated with him numerous times and even rebuked him sharply, all to no avail. Seeing that he won’t repent, and that his influence is still expanding, I am now releasing this as a public warning to all that this man, Jesse Morrell, is promoting doctrines of demons disguised as Christian dogma.
In this short article, I will briefly explain: (1) The essential Christian truths which Jesse denies, and (2) the absolute heresies which Jesse believes and promotes under the banner of Moral Government Theology. Then I will conclude with a short word of exhortation.
Also let me state that this is not meant to be an in-depth look at the scope and depth of Jesse’s theology and the ins and outs of all its error, or a thorough teaching on what is right theology, but just a brief overview of some of the fundamental errors held by this man. And this is not a personal vendetta against Jesse, but rather a public announcement released in love, looking forward to the possibility of Jesse’s repentance, and looking out for the precious souls who are potentially in danger of being deceived through his influence. Oh, dear soul, if you are in any way in contact with Jesse and subject yourself to his teachings, I ask you in the name of Christ, pray for the truth and search the Scriptures. Keep your eyes on Christ. So, as we continue, read this prayerfully, and measure all things to the Scriptures. Let us begin.
ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN TRUTHS DENIED BY JESSE MORRELL:
-The doctrine of God’s Omniscience: Simply stated and summarized, Jesse does not believe that God immutably knows the future, but that God just makes really good guesses. This is the result of exalting the free will of all “moral agents” to a Deified position, exalting free will even above God Himself. Therefore, Jesse thinks that even God has to submit to the free will of man, and doesn’t know what any man will choose to do before that man actually makes the choice and does it. Because of this, Jesse believes that God doesn’t know the future, but kind of just makes the best choices He can as He finds out what free moral agents decide. This is in direct contradiction to the teaching of the whole Bible! In Jesse’s theology, God Almighty has been stripped of His Omniscience! Yet the fact that God knows the future and declares it immutably is one of the glorious attributes of His character that distinguishes Him from false pagan gods and from every other being in creation:
Isaiah 42:9 – “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Isaiah 46:5-10 – “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble. Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
Acts 15:18 – “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”
Romans 8:29-30 – ”For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 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.”
-The doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement: The real doctrine of the Atonement as taught in the Bible teaches us that Christ died as a literal Substitute for sinners; that Christ took our sin and was punished on behalf of our sin as our Substitute under the wrath of God so that the righteous demands of God’s holy Law could be satisfied and we could receive the forgiveness of sins and His righteousness and eternal life as a free gift of grace. Simply put, He bore our sins and our punishment so we could receive His righteousness and reward. Any denial of this truth is a denial of the essential truth of the biblical Gospel. To deny that Christ literally suffered in our place on the Cross in order to bear the wrath of God which we deserve, as our Substitute, in order to avert God’s wrath and condemnation from us and to purchase our redemption, is to deny the Gospel. Jesse Morrell believes that Christ did not actually bear our sin on the Cross, that our sin could have never been imputed to Christ, and therefore Christ could have never been punished for our sin. This is heresy, and if this is true, we are all yet dead in our sins and there is no forgiveness in Christ since there can only be forgiveness if He actually bore our sin and took it away. Yet the Bible clearly refutes Jesse’s (and Moral Government Theology’s) heretical doctrine of the Atonement:
2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
Romans 3:23-26 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Galatians 3:13-14 – “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Isaiah 53:4-6 – “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Isaiah 53:10 – “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
-The doctrine of Original Sin: This core Christian belief states that all men enter this world with an inherently sinful nature and all men possess an inherent moral corruptness in their own flesh. All men are therefore sinners by nature and apart from redemption through the grace of Christ, are under the curse of the Law, abide under the wrath of God, are by nature children of wrath, are dead in trespasses and sins, do nothing that pleases God, and sin continually against God as a manifestation of the wicked sinful nature in their own hearts. The Bible teaches that we (commit acts of) sin because we’re sinners (by nature), not that we are sinners only because we (commit acts of) sin; that outward acts of sin are manifestations of the moral depravity of our own hearts. Moral Government Theology and Jesse Morrell deny that this is true, and believe that all come into this world in a morally neutral state and deny that all of Adam’s posterity died spiritually in Adam’s original sin in the beginning. Further, they declare that all sin is a choice and only a choice, and therefore all must make the choice to “stop sinning” and become morally perfect in order to be accepted by God. Since Jesse believes that there is no sinful nature in man, therefore he believes that when a man chooses to stop sinning, that man can enter a state of sinless and moral perfection and must keep his right-standing with God based on his own works by maintaining such a state of sinless perfection. The Bible condemns this as heresy:
Genesis 6:5 – “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (See also Gen. 8:21)
Psalms 51:5 –“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Ecclesiastes 7:20 – “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
Romans 5:12-19 – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Ephesians 2:1-3 – “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
1 John 1:8 – “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
-The doctrine of Justification by Faith alone: The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace through faith alone, apart from works, based not on what we do, but solely on what Jesus Christ did for us. Since all have sinned, there is therefore no difference between men and all are sinners deserving of God’s just punishment, but since Jesus Christ purchased our redemption, we can be saved by believing in Him with a true saving faith in our hearts and upon believing, have our sins forgiven and receive the perfect righteousness of God. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that God doesn’t justify those already righteous, but that He justifies the wicked, the sinner, the rebel, while that person is still a sinner. Of course, with this justification of the sinner comes regeneration, which gives that sinner a new heart and a new nature which will choose to hate sin and love the holy things of God, and this will be evident in his life by a radical change of life. Nevertheless, the Gospel is that through Christ, God justifies the ungodly and makes them Godly, that God transforms the sinner into a saint by His free unmerited grace. Since our sin was imputed to Christ and He bore the punishment in full, now His righteousness is imputed to us as a free gift by faith in Him. Moral Government Theology and Jesse Morrell deny the biblical doctrine of justification by faith and believe that salvation is conditional upon abiding in a state of sinless perfection, that one has to completely stop sinning in order to be justified before God. Jesse denies that Christ’s righteousness could be imputed to us as a free gift, and states that we must earn our own salvation by offering our own righteousness to God. This is salvation by works, not by grace, and is condemned with an “Anathema” in the book of Galatians for adding works to the Gospel of grace, and is refuted by the entire Bible’s teaching on the plan of salvation:
Galatians 1:9 – “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.”
Romans 3:20-22 – “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.”
Romans 4:5 – “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Romans 5:1 – “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 5:6-10 – “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
(In fact, read all of Romans chapters 3, 4 and 5 and the book of Galatians for a solid biblical teaching on justification by faith)
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
-The doctrine of Biblical Regeneration: The Bible teaches that regeneration, or in other words, the New Birth, is a supernatural miracle of God’s sovereign grace that imparts to us a new nature by the power of the Holy Spirit and changes us and transforms us by God’s power to create in us the very nature of Christ Himself and thereby imparts to us the ability to please God. It involves receiving a new heart and a new spirit and being given the ability by God to habitually glorify God and take pleasure in the commands of Christ in the Gospel. Jesse Morrell teaches that regeneration is not a miracle which gives one the ability to obey God (since he believes that all sinners have this ability in and of their own selves), but Jesse teaches that regeneration is simply a change of life that is effected by the sinner’s own willpower. This is a denial of one of the most glorious and essential truths of the Gospel and what it does, essentially, is turn Jesse’s “gospel” into one that calls sinners to exercise their own ability, willpower, and morality in order to change their own selves and make their own selves holy and acceptable to God. This is not in accordance with God’s Word and equates to “another gospel”. The Bible teaches that regeneration is a supernatural miracle performed by God apart from human willpower, ability, or morality:
Ezekiel 36:25-27 – “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
John 1:12-13 – “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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John 3:3-8 – “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Titus 3:5 – “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
Furthermore, one of the most well known Moral Government Theologians, and a big theological role model for Jesse, is the late Charles G. Finney. Despite his wide acceptance in many “evangelical” circles, Finney’s theology propagated in his theological writings was nothing short of theological heresy (see bottom of page for links to further online resources about Finney which examine his theology and teachings with what the Bible says).
I do not wish to jump on a tangent and speak much about Finney, but I thought it necessary here to mention these facts because Jesse Morrell has been highly influenced by the writings and systematic theology of Finney. Therefore to examine the teachings of Finney and to find out what Finney taught and believed can also be a good way to find out what Jesse himself believes and teaches. Those who actually care about Biblical doctrine and believe what the Bible says with a simple child-like heart of faith and examine the teachings of Finney quickly find that Finney seriously deviated from historically recognized essential doctrines of Christianity, such as those mentioned above (including Justification by Faith, which was the glorious restored truth of the Reformation that caused the Protestants to split from the yoke of bondage of Roman Catholicism –to deny Justification by Faith is to return to Rome).
THE HERESIES BELIEVED (IN ADDITION TO THOSE STATED ABOVE):
Along with this theology, Jesse has embraced some other very serious heresies. These include, under the banner of Moral Government Theology:
The heresy of Pelagianism: This is a historically recognized heresy and has been universally recognized as such since the 5th Century A.D. This heretical system of theology comes from the early monk named Pelagius who lived in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. Pelagius taught that no man is tainted by the sin of Adam but that all sin is only a choice, and therefore since Adam’s since didn’t taint us then Christ’s death doesn’t literally save us but instead provides a good example to us. Thus the cross of Christ is made of none effect in this theology. Thus Adam set a bad example to us and Christ set a good example for us, and now it’s up to us to save ourselves by our own ability and morality. In Pelagianism, salvation is of man, and not of God, and therefore not all of grace.
The heresy of Sinless Perfection: This is a teaching that Christians can enter and abide in a state of absolute sinlessness, being just as sinless as Adam before the Fall of man, or just as without sin as Jesus Christ Himself as He walked this earth. Many of those who hold to sinless perfection also believe that it is essential to attain to this state of sinless perfection in order to be “sanctified” and even saved. This is heresy according to 1 John 1:8, and those who believe this only deceive themselves; furthermore, they don’t understand the grace of God and therefore the Apostle tells us in that verse that the truth is not in them. While it is true that no real Christian will want to sin and will desire perfect holiness, the Bible teaches that all Christians still carry around a corrupt flesh that is affected by sin and therefore needs to be crucified, denied, and put to death all the time (see bottom of this article for links to various articles about sinless perfection).
The heresy of Legalism: This is a teaching that we need to attribute to our salvation by our own works and that there is merit before God in our own works. This is the heresy that is refuted by the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Galatians. As one Moral Government Theologian stated, “There can be no justification in a legal or forensic sense, but upon the ground of universal, perfect, and uninterrupted obedience to law.” [Finney’s Systematic Theology]. And thus justification before God becomes conditional upon perfect obedience to the perfect moral Law of God, and justification is conditional upon works, and not solely upon faith. This is not just a slight deviation from the truth, but a serious heresy that is contrary to essential salvation truth.
The heresy of Open Theism: As already stated above, this is a denial that God knows the future, and a belief that God changes His mind regularly and reforms His own decisions and judgments as He learns new things. This is a denial of the Omniscience of God, and leads to tons of other practical theological errors.
These are doctrines that deny the essential truth of the Bible and the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore anyone who holds to them dogmatically must not be considered a brother in Christ, but treated as a false believer or false teacher, pleaded with in love to repent, and shunned from Christian fellowship until they come to be ashamed of their false doctrines and repent. We cannot tolerate false teachings that deny the core truth of the Gospel of Christ but must stand firm and earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
Jesse Morrell does not believe in evangelical Christianity. He believes another system of religion that makes the grace of God of none effect and denies the most central, important truths of the Gospel. It is nothing short of a cult-like system of belief. Therefore, Jesse is not fit to be in ministry, to be preaching anywhere, and is not fit to be recognized as a brother with Christian fellowship and acceptance. He is to be pleaded with in love and in boldness to turn from his wicked dogmas and come back to the simplicity of Christ in the Gospel of God’s wondrous grace. I have personally confronted Jesse numerous times and strove with him and corrected him with Scripture and have even rebuked him sharply and dis-fellowshipped him, all to no avail.
Zeal in evangelism means nothing; the Pharisees themselves were zealous to travel land and sea to make a single convert but were still rebuked by Christ (Matthew 23:15). That’s because when they made the convert they indoctrinated him with their traditions and false beliefs and brought him under the bondage of legalism and therefore made him twice the son of Hell. This is what Jesse is doing. His doctrine is at least just as bad as the Pharisees whom the Lord rebuked because he makes salvation the work of man’s own works and abilities. Don’t be deceived by Jesse’s desire to preach all over the world. Instead, examine his theology in light of the Word of God and obey what the infallible Word of God teaches.
I know assuredly that Jesse will state that the points brought up in this article, and the disagreements I have, are all a result of my “Calvinism”. Anything that disagrees with him he calls “Calvinism” and is out on a wild witch-hunt against the doctrines of grace with the same ferocity that the Pharisees themselves attacked the doctrines preached by the Son of God. However, let me be clear, what I am promoting in this article is not just the doctrines associated with Calvinistic belief, but these are things that historical Arminians and Calvinists alike agree on. Both “Arminians” and “Calvinists” believe that God knows the future, that Christ is the substitute for our sins, that there is a such thing as inherent sinfulness in all men (original sin), that all that are saved are justified by faith alone apart from works, and that regeneration is a miracle of God. The majority of both “Arminians” and “Calvinists” alike agree that Pelagianism is absolute heresy, that sinless perfection is false, and that there is no merit in striving to obey the Law of God to earn our own righteousness. Only cults and offshoot heretical sects disagree on these essential truths of the Gospel.
Jesse Morrell’s theology is false and is “another gospel”. Though I care deeply for him and long for the day when he would renounce such deviations from the truth of the Scriptures, and would rejoice to see him do such, I must stand firm and speak out against the deceptions that he is promoting which are leading many astray. “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:1-2)
A WORD TO JESSE MORRELL:
Dear Jesse, mark my words, you will face the Judgment Seat of a holy God and give an account for all those you influenced and led astray from the grace of the Gospel. Yet I believe that as long as you have the breath of life in you that there’s hope for you to repent and believe the Gospel and trust in the imputed righteousness of Christ alone to save you. Salvation is by grace, not by works. Your works profit you nothing. Trust in Christ alone and renounce your own will and ability and yield it all to Christ and beg Him to have mercy on your soul. Cry out for a real revelation of the grace of God in the Gospel. I fear for you Jesse. You are in grave danger and have chosen a slippery path that promises Heaven but leads to Hell. My greatest fear though is that you’re not content to hold such doctrines to yourself, but must spread such lies around and indoctrinate as many as you can on your path of deception. Turn from the doctrines of men, the doctrines you learned from Finney, and Olson, and Pelagius, and come to the Lord Jesus Christ alone and the truth of the Gospel as revealed in the Bible. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
Further online resources about Moral Government Theology:
Further online resources about Open Theism:
Further online resources about Charles Finney:
Further online resources about Sinless Perfection:
Sunday, August 23, 2009
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:11-14 NAU)John Piper says about Cain murdering his brother Abel:
Cain didn't kill Abel simply because Cain was evil. He killed him because the contrast between Abel's goodness and Cain's evil made Cain angry. It made him feel guilty. Abel didn't have to say anything; Abel's goodness was a constant reminder to Cain that he was evil. And instead of dealing with his own evil by repentance and change, he got rid of Abel. If you don't like what you see in the mirror, shoot the mirror.Did you hear what Piper said? He points out that sinning Christians sometimes get into a desperate search for any kind of "dirt" they can find on a brother who is seekly to truly live righteously or has pointed out sin in their lives. They do this so that they can somehow undermine their brother's righteous living or righteous rebuke in order to make themselves feel better in their sin. Instead, the correct response is one of lovingly rejoicing in other's righteous living and spiritual progress, even if you yourself are not making that kind of progress. Love that flows out of a regenerated heart appreciates, rejoices with, and glories in the work of God in a brother's life. The opposite of this is resentment and hatred toward the brethren and such is evil (1 John 3:12). Dear Christian, I implore you to examine your hearts for the yuck of resentment and the crusty edges of hatred. If this is representative of your heart, confess your sins to God and He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Then walk in humble appreciation and joy for those who live righteously amongst us and love us enough to rebuke us when we are in sin.
So what would it be like for any of us to be like Cain? It would mean that anytime some weakness or bad habit in our lives is exposed by contrast to someone else's goodness, instead of dealing with the weakness or the bad habit, we keep away from those whose lives makes us feel defective. We don't kill them. We avoid them. Or worse, we find ways to criticize them so as to neutralize the part of their lives that was making us feel convicted. We feel like the best way to nullify someone's good point is to draw attention to his bad point. And so we protect ourselves from whatever good he might be for us.
But John's point is: Love doesn't act like that. Love is glad when our brothers and sisters are making progress in good habits or good attitudes or good behavior. Love rejoices in this growth. And if it happens to be faster than our own growth, then love is humble and rejoices with those who rejoice.
So the lesson for us is: Everywhere you see some growth, some virtue, some spiritual discipline, some good habit, or good attitude, rejoice in it. Give thanks for it. Compliment it. Don't resent it. Don't be like Cain. Respond the opposite from Cain. Be inspired by other people's goodness.
Love is humble. Love delights in other people's good. Love doesn't protect its own flaws. Love takes steps to change them. What a beautiful fellowship where everyone is rejoicing in each other's strengths, not resenting them! This is what the love of God lookes like when the new birth gives it life in the people of God. [John Piper, Finally Alive, (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2009), 158-159.]
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6 NAU)The following video shows that Graham affirms the false teaching called the "wider mercy" view of salvation:
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 NAU)
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2:5 NAU)
Here is MacArthur's commentary on it:
Here is what Paul Washer recently said about Billy Graham's comments:
I have always sought to be charitable regarding those who preach in the name of Christ. This has been especially true in the case of Billy Graham. However in the last year I have seen and heard several things regarding his beliefs and ministry that have led me to withdraw any recommendation of his person and preaching. I regret my past positive statements regarding the man and his ministry. It saddens me, but I would have to now agree with [the] conclusions: He is either suffering from some sort of dementia or he has denied Christ as the only way, truth, and life.I do not post these things as a means to poke fun at Billy Graham or get a "dig" at a famous preacher. If such were my motivation, then such would be sinful (Proverbs 14:9). I post these things because our church needs to be aware of Graham's beliefs for their own spiritual health, welfare, and discernment (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Some have tried to connect Graham's heresy solely with age-induced dementia, but the problem with this is the fact that he has gotten progressively more ecumenical since the late 1950s and early 60s and his doctrinal "looseness" has only gotten worse with old age. Thus, any dementia that he may have has probably only exacerbated his latent heretical tendencies. I sincerely hope that Mr. Graham will have the mental capacity this late in his life to become aware of his heresy and repent of it before its too late.
HT: Puritan Fellowship
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
2. Those who are born of God walk as Christ walked.
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; (1 John 2:3-4 NAU)
The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (1 John 3:24 NAU)
but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:5-6 NAU)3. Those who are born of God don't hate others but love them.
The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. (1 John 2:9 NAU)4. Those who are born of God don't love the world.
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:14 NAU)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8 ESV)
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15 NAU)5. Those who are born of God confess the Son and receive (have) Him.
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:23 NAU)6. Those who are born of God practice righteousness.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15 NAU)
He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:12 NAU)
If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (1 John 2:29 ESV)7. Those who are born of God don't make a practice of sinning.
8. Those who are born of God possess the Spirit of God.
No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. (1 John 3:6 NAU)
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:9-10 ESV)
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. (1 John 5:18 ESV)
The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (1 John 3:24 NAU)9. Those who are born of God listen submissively to the apostolic word.
By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. (1 John 4:13 NAU)
We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:6 NAU)10. Those who are born of God believe that Jesus is the Christ.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. (1 John 5:1 ESV)11. Those who are born of God overcome the world.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. (1 John 5:4 ESV)Taken from John Piper, Finally Alive, (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2009), 125-128.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 18:31 NAU)
Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?' (Ezekiel 33:11 NAU)As I was preaching outside one of our local abortion clinics this morning, the Spirit brought these verses from Ezekiel to mind. I thought about how God had sent the Old Covenant people of God a true prophet, yet they rejected him in favor of their idols and spiritual prostitution (Ezekiel 16; 23). They hardened their hearts against God's message from God's prophet, and it cost them their nation as well as their souls (Ezekiel 23:35; 33:11).
Today, the historical situation is completely different but the hearts of the lost are still the same: desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV). They harden their hearts against God's message even if they claim to love Him with their lips and their religious traditions (Ezekiel 3:7; Isaiah 29:13), they hate those who speak truth to their situation (Amos 5:10), and they prefer falsehood to Biblical truth because they hate the spiritual light that the gospel brings (John 3:20). As a matter of fact, when doing open-air preaching, sinners will often yell things like "Judge not lest ye be judged!" and "Shut up man, you don't know my situation!" as if any of those statements justify their sin.
So, since we Christians love the wicked and want them to repent and believe the gospel, what must we do if they do not respond to our passionate preaching or our loving counseling and evangelism?
Shall we change our message by removing references to sin, repentance, hell, condemnation, wrath, and judgment and only speak of mercy, grace, love, and acceptance with God?
Shall we change our method by offering literature that will provide for their temporal needs such as food, clothing, and shelter for them while avoiding mentioning the gospel altogether?
Most importantly, what standard shall we use to determine what our basic message and methods should be for reaching the lost?
I started thinking again about these things last week after reading Isaiah 8:20 (NKJV):
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.The "law" in Isaiah not only meant the Mosaic Law, but also referred to all that God had revealed to His people up to that time in redemptive history. Because we now are in the New Covenant era as a result of Christ's death 2,000 years ago, the Law of Moses has been nullified and we are now under the Law of Christ (Hebrews 8:13; 1 Corinthians 9:21). So what does the Law of Christ command Christians to do when it comes to reaching the lost? Here is an example of one of these commands:
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2 NAU)Notice 2 Timothy 4:2's command to "preach the word". He didn't command us to "preach philosophy" or "preach health, wealth, and prosperity", but to "preach the word". This "word" is the message of God's forgiveness found only in . According to the Holy Spirit, this is the only message that will save sinners and sanctify saints (Romans 1:16-17).
- "in season and out of season" - That means that we are to be ready to preach whether it's convenient or not; both for ourselves and our hearers. This is because you are not helping someone with a flat tire, you are giving them a message that will rescue them from God's eternal wrath in Hell! This is why you have to be ready to preach the truth when you feel like it and when you don't feel like. It also means that you have to preach the gospel when the situation normally calls for something more "socially-acceptable".
- Next, the text says that we are to expose ("reprove") and sharply criticize ("rebuke") the sinful things that unbelievers are doing. Ouch! That's a surefire guarantee that apart from the regenerating work of the Spirit, true gospel reproof will go over like a lead balloon. The true gospel has never been socially acceptable but has always made waves, regardless of the era.
- Third, we are to urge people by strong arguments ("exhort") to believe and live the gospel and that we are commanded to do it with "great patience and instruction". Lost people are difficult to deal with when confronted in their sin. They will make a million excuses and offer a thousand justifications for their sinful acts. You must be ready to confute them with sound instruction from the word. Thus, you have to be very patient when confronting them; knowing that you too were once blind, miserable, and naked without Christ and that you too wanted to roll around in your sins like a pig cooling off in the mud when the word was speaking to you (Revelation 3:17). When unbelievers act like fools, they are doing so out of their own depraved spiritual nature; after all, what do you expect a God-hater to act like? (Ephesians 2:3) So, you have to be patient with them and teach them the error of their ways from the Scriptures, even if they never listen.
Sinners are ignorant, blind, dead, and spiritually dumb to the things of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). That's why they need Christians to tell them about the devastating consequences of their sin and the only available rescue from their sins that is found in the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). So, next time you wonder what God's message and methods are for reaching the lost and edifying the saints, you can quote 2 Timothy 4:2 in context and be sure that God is commending your message as His own.