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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The "Dark Side" of Calvinism According to an Arminian (II)

Pastor Chuck Smith’s Foreword

In the Foreword to George Bryson’s book, Pastor Chuck Smith (Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, CA) promises that Bryson will shine the light of “Scripture and scripturally based reasoning upon some very important and disturbing problems with the distinctive doctrines of Reformed Theology.”[1] We’ll have to wait and see if Bryson delivers on Smith’s promise.
Smith then cites a passage from John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion to make his point.[2] Here is what Smith cites Calvin as saying: “We call predestination God’s eternal decree, by which he compacted with himself what he willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather, eternal life if foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others. Therefore, as any man has been created to one or the other of these ends, we speak of him as predestined to life or to death.”[3]
As I read this citation, I cannot help but wonder what the major problem with this is. God has a divine will and works according to a divine plan. What is wrong with that? That God, being God, chooses that all are not created in an equal condition seems like a divine prerogative as well. If you object, however, to what Calvin wrote as Smith does, it would seem that even in a Foreword you might feel compelled to give just a few scriptures that point out how unbiblical Calvin’s words are. That is to say, if Smith and Bryson are going to accuse Calvin of the manipulation of God and/or his revelation, they should be prepared to give us some overwhelming evidence to support their positions. If it’s really that bad, there ought to be a large number of relevant texts from which to choose.
Yet, from Smith’s stance on the subject, he can simply declare that Calvin’s statement constitutes an unscriptural and radical nature.[4] While Smith also believes that Calvinists are prone to “accent the less negative features of Calvinism,” he goes on to state—in an unsubstantiated manner—that “even the best of what Calvin taught about salvation logically leads to the worst of what Calvinism teaches.”[5] At this point you have to wonder how much of Calvin Smith has actually read or understood.
In short, you have to wonder if Smith is truly a theologian. Understand me properly: I’m not questioning whether Pastor Smith went to seminary. I don’t know for certain, but one can only hope that he did. What I’m talking about, however, is any pastor, having gone to seminary or not, encouraging the serious study of theology, in the sense that theology is the study of God. David Wells has argued that many ministers in Smith’s generation “coopted theology and removed it from the soul of the church.”[6] Is it the case that Smith and Bryson are guilty of telling their congregations that they shouldn’t study theology? A number of modern evangelical churches have certainly gone down that path with disastrous results. The insidious nature of this approach is not immediately discernible, but corrodes the individual and corporate life of any local congregation.
For Smith to make such an unsubstantiated statement about such a fine theologian and exegete as Calvin says more about Smith than it does about Calvin. Does Smith encourage theology from the pulpit or does he ridicule and disparage it? If he encourages good theology, why would he be so critical of such a biblical theologian? Calvin has been known historically as the theologian of the Holy Spirit. Even those who tend to disagree with him admit that he was an outstanding exegete of Scripture.
I raise this point precisely because some modern pastors tend to downplay good theology both in private conversations and from the pulpit. In fact, a significant number of them are leaving off true, expository preaching all together and opting for topical sermons that have little or nothing to do with Scripture. Citing statistics from Pulpit Digest and Preaching magazines, Wells documents—now there’s a novel idea!—that more than 50% of the sermons surveyed were either those in which neither the content nor the organization arose from the biblical passage but what was said was at least identifiable as being Christian or those in which neither the content nor the organization arose from a biblical passage and in which the content was not discernibly or obviously Christian.[7] What this amounts to is this: less than half of the sermons in the modern Church are explicitly biblical and “a significant number are not discernibly Christian at all.”[8]
As bad as this is, what is even more unnerving are the findings regarding the orientation of the sermons in the modern Church. The survey revealed that less than 20% of the sermons “were grounded in or related in any way to the nature, character, and will of God.”[9] So if modern pastors are not preaching about the nature, character, and will of God is it because they don’t know it themselves or because they have co-opted theology and removed it from the soul of the Church? Either answer is untenable, but probably reasonably accurate.
In addition, Wells goes on to point out that “The overwhelming proportion of the sermons analyzed—more than 80 percent—were anthropocentric.”[10] For those of you like me who still believe that the sixth grade was the best three years of your life, anthropocentric means “man-centered.” Rather than centering, concentrating, focusing on God, the sermons focused on man. “Contemporary sermons are reserving the center for the issues that engage us in the course of life, or, more specifically, for the self. It is around this surrogate center that God and his world are made to spin.”[11]
For the life of me, I simply cannot fathom how or why Smith would make such an unguarded and downright silly statement about Calvin and his doctrine of salvation. As if that is not bad enough, however, Smith proceeds to make an equally ludicrous statement when he writes, “The doctrinal distinctive of Reformed Theology cannot be reconciled with what we know about God from His holy Word.”[12] What might that be? Well, Smith is only too glad to tell us: “Scripture has taught me to believe that God is loving and absolutely just.”[13] Folks, if that is all you learned in seminary, you need to go and get a refund because you got cheated.
If you spent big bucks and three or more years of your life studying theology and all you came away with regarding the nature and character of God is that he is loving and absolutely just, then you really did get conned and wasted your time. Smith wonders aloud if he would be lying to a non-elect man if he offered him eternal life based on what Christ did for him on the cross?[14] Did you catch the way he worded that?
In the first place, how would Smith—or anyone for that matter—know that they were talking to a “non-elect” man? Would Smith or Bryson explain to me how in the world you go about knowing for certain that the person you’re talking to is non-elect? What are the biblical criteria?
In the second place, Smith reveals his non-Arminian Arminianism when he tells us that his evangelistic method entails telling people—perhaps even someone who is non-elect—that Jesus died for them on the cross. Why can’t something about repentance be said like John the Baptizer, our Savior, and his disciples taught us (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; 6:12; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22; 17:30; 26:20).
Smith finds it unconscionable that “If Calvinism is true, and I affirm to a man that Jesus loves him and died on the cross to redeem him from his sins, I may be offering him nothing more than a false hope.”[15] I realize that modern evangelicalism is enthralled with the notion of telling every sinner that Christ died on the cross for him or her, but that is not the biblical message. I also understand texts like John 3:16 are distorted out of recognition to support this false type of evangelism, but for thinking people this just doesn’t work.
Pastor Smith wants to know: “Why are we commanded to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15)?”[16] The short answer is: because God commands us to. He does not give us privy to who is elect and who isn’t. And we cannot look at the outside of man because if we did we’d never consider someone like Saul of Tarsus as a candidate for evangelism. God commands us to proclaim the gospel. That is our task. What’s the problem? Moreover, the best manuscripts we have do not include Mark 16:9ff., but that is not a problem for me here. The point is that God has revealed to us that our task is to proclaim the gospel to those with whom we come into contact. There are revealed things that we are to carry out and there are also secret things that belong to God (Deut. 29:29). God has revealed that predestination/foreordination is true; he has hidden from us who will receive the gospel and who will not. Why? Because he’s God. That ought to be enough for us.
One of the most egregious accusations from Smith is that for Reformed Christians to make a well-meant offer of the gospel is tantamount to lying. He writes, “Assuming Calvinism is true, if I urge men to receive Jesus as their Lord that they might be saved, would this not be nothing more than a cruel tease for many of those to whom I speak (Acts 2:36-39)? Why would the God of all truth, who speaks so sternly against lying, send His servants out to promote such a lie?”[17] This really is unacceptable. Not that it is a slur against me and others who embrace the doctrines of salvation by grace, but in the sense that it is a horrible distortion of Scripture and a slap at God.
We have been commanded to go and to present the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20). When, according to Acts 8:1-4 a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, we read that “those who were scattered went about preaching the word (v. 4). That was their task so they did it. It was not a cruel tease but a well-meant presentation of the gospel. That is the ordinary means that God has ordained for people—all people—to hear the gospel. Scripture is plain that we present the gospel and that God’s Word never returns to him empty; without accomplishing the purpose for which he sent it (Isa. 55:11). I really take offence that Smith would accuse those in the Reformed tradition center of lying by making a well-meant offer of salvation to the lost! That is really over the top!
Since Smith has cited Acts 2, there’s another interesting text there that he conveniently omitted. It is found in Acts 2:23. Here is how it reads: “…this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Emphasis mine). Why would Smith want to avoid citing such a text if he is concerned with giving a fair and balanced critique of Calvinism’s “dark side”? Fairness requires us to look at the entire context and not a mere sub-section that suits our purposes.
Smith—and Bryson—both disagree with Calvinism—which is fine; it’s a free country—but they really should avoid setting up straw men and then easily knocking them over. For example, within the context of the Acts 2:36-39 citation Smith writes, “If it is impossible for men to choose because they have been pre-ordained by God to be saved or lost, is it not rather cruel and deceitful to hold out the offer of the gospel to them if it is impossible for them to accept it?”[18] Smith acts as if you and I really have inside information as to who are God’s elect and who aren’t. It is neither cruel nor deceitful if this is the means that God has ordained—and it is—for people to hear the gospel. A wise pastor would be very careful of accusing God of being cruel or deceitful. You see, Smith is not 100% certain that his view is the correct one. If he is wrong—and I believe that he is—he has just edged up to the precipice of blasphemy.
The Reformed have acknowledged for centuries that God’s creatures, created in his image, make choices. If Smith were a theologian, he would know this. If he does know it but refuses to make it known to Bryson’s readers, he’s merely disingenuous. In arguing against the musings of Jacob Arminius and Episcopius, the Synod of Dordtrecht said the following in the Canons of Dort (Chapter III/IV, article 12):

This conversion is that regeneration, new creation, resurrection from the dead, making alive, so highly spoken of in the Scriptures, which God works in us without us. But this regeneration is by no means brought about only by outward preaching, by moral persuasion, or by such a mode of operation that, after God has done his part, it remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not regenerated, converted or not converted. It is, however, clearly a supernatural, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, marvelous, and inexpressible work. According to Scripture, inspired by the Author of this work, regeneration is not inferior in power to creation or the resurrection of the death. Hence all those in whose hearts God works in this amazing way are certainly, unfailingly, and effectually regenerated and do actually believe. Therefore the will so renewed is not only acted upon and moved by God but, acted upon by God, the will itself also acts. Hence also man himself is rightly said to believe and repent through the grace he has received.[19]

How in the world can anyone justifiably assert that human beings do not make choices and that those choices are real? The only way that presenting the gospel to non-believers would be cruel and deceitful would be for you and me to be omniscient. Since we aren’t, the summary of regeneration given by the pastors and professors at Dordtrecht makes perfectly good sense.
Finally, Smith closes the Foreword with yet another unsubstantiated slur: “Perhaps this explains why so many Calvinists are spending so much time and energy trying to win the already saved to Calvinism. What this means is that Calvinists want other Christians to believe their convoluted theology, which if fully understood, destroys the gospel to every creature.”[20]
Personally, I know quite a few Calvinists, yet I do not know one that is actively going out attempting to “steal sheep.” Do both Calvinist and Arminians attempt to persuade others that their position is the correct biblical one? Without a doubt. In fact, that is precisely what both Smith and Bryson are trying to do in this book. Each believes the other is wrong and presents reasons—hopefully biblical reasons—why this is so. I do, however, take issue with the comment that the doctrines of grace are “convoluted.” If one understands the covenant everything falls into place and there is nothing convoluted about it. On the other hand, since both Smith and Bryson are Dispensationalists, given their penchant for diagrams about the Second Coming of Christ and the questions about pre-, mid-, or post-tribulation that are raised and endlessly debated by Dispensationalists, I don’t think I’d accuse anyone of having a “convoluted” theology.
Moreover, I take serious issue with the statement that the doctrines of grace destroy the gospel. Quite the contrary is truly the case. They rather establish it and are a great encouragement to proclaim the gospel message. If God grants me the privilege of proclaiming the good news to lost sinners I’m blessed. Knowing that God knows who his people are and who aren’t (2 Tim. 2:19) I don’t have to fret about making that presentation. I simply do my best to give a clear and coherent presentation of the gospel and then put my head on my pillow and rest, knowing that God’s Spirit will do his work.
Next we’ll examine the Introduction to this book where George Bryson sets forth “The Case Against Calvinism.”
[1] Bryson, TDSC, 7.
[2] While Smith cites from Henry Beveridge’s edition of the Institutes, I will cite from Ford Battles’ edition, although the results are clearly the same. The Battles’ edition is the edition of choice.
[3] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 2, (John T. McNeill [ed.] & Ford Lewis Battles [trans.]), (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 19674), p. 926.
[4] Bryson, TDSC, 7.
[5] Ibid. Italics mine—RG.
[6] David Wells, No Place for Truth, Or, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), p. 251.
[7] Ibid., 251-252.
[8] Ibid., 252.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Bryson, TDSC, 7.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ibid., 8.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Canons of Dort, Chapter III/IV, Article 12, “The Divine Character of Regeneration.” Italics mine—RG.
[20] Smith, “Foreword” in Bryson, TDSC, 9.

7 Comments:

Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Ron,

Good article. I have more to read yet in your related posts, but I really appreciate this. I find it interesting that Chuck Smith - and earlier, Dave Hunt - find it necessary to go on this anti-Calvin crusade when there are much larger dragons to slay today. It is indeed curious.

For me, I was Arminian in my youth. Know how I was swayed to the other side? By running smack dab into Romans chapter 9. I had never read Calvin, Sproul or any other Reformed theologian. Once I had Romans 9 hit me like a Mack truck, I had to deal with the Apostle John and other Scriptures that clearly illustrated God's sovereignty in salvation. I'd rather my salvation depend on God than on me any day.

2:04 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

An addendum...I understand Dave Hunt actually was one of the individuals who helped begin the current kerfuffle over Calvinism. He and James White have been going at it back and forth for some time. It is regrettable that so much energy has to be spent on this issue when a much more deadly foe is chomping on the heels.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Davey said...

Good Post! This almost made me burst out laughing:

"...given their penchant for diagrams about the Second Coming of Christ and the questions about pre-, mid-, or post-tribulation that are raised and endlessly debated by Dispensationalists, I don’t think I’d accuse anyone of having a “convoluted” theology."

I'm with solameanie: I also "coverted" :) to Reformed thought after Romans 9 and Ephesians 1, etc...

5:32 AM  
Blogger Jim from OldTruth.com said...

Great post. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I will be linking to is shortly.

11:48 PM  
Blogger answer-man said...

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2:54 AM  
Blogger Petz said...

You obviously have not read "The Dark Side of Calvinism" if you call John Bryson or Chuck Smith an Arminian. Apparently you stopped at the foreward by Chuck Smith and found it necessary to attack his education (which you are 100% wrong about) rather than his teachings. And I suppose it would be too difficult for you to fathom that Chuck Smith was brought up in an Arminian church, but he now rejects that doctrinal position? Yes, to a black-and-white Calvinist like yourself, anyone who disagrees with you is an Arminian. Sad.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Contradictions Abound in Calvary Chapel Distinctive By Chuck Smith
All Quotes taken directly from the work entitled Calvary Chapel Distinctives: The Foundational Principles of the Calvary Chapel Movement by Chuck Smith

God exists as the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit and the worship of him must surly be a spiritual experience, governed directly by the truth revealed through His Word. Our Godliness is the foundational characteristic upon which all other fruits of the Spirit evolve.

Throughout the Old Testament, we observe many stanch and spiritual individuals distinctly attentive to God’s commands and ordinances. Through their worship of our Creator they developed strong and committed relationships with Him.

These models of righteousness display the biblical characteristics that will lead us to true godliness in each of our individual lives by way of our love for Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him. Where religion is focused on what one should do, a true relationship with our Lord is set on what one naturally desires to do because of what Jesus Christ has already done.

Unfortunately, today our modern churches follow only some of what God has to say regarding the way of salvation and the method of sanctification in both the conversion process and afterwards in the spiritual life of the believer. Instead of focusing on maintaining a strict adherence to the same spiritually advised mode of worship practiced for over two centuries and implemented by the apostles themselves, they have turned to modern day marketing ploys to bring in lost and hapless folks from off the street, while compromising what scripture has to say about the way of salvation and worship in the process.

A great example of these types of emotional ploys that lack true spiritual depth, while claiming just that, can be witnessed and observed in many of the larger evangelical movements in our country today. Emotions driven by trendy music, drama that is aimed at attacking and sinisterly labeling solid Biblical subject matter because of its “overbearing” strictness and finality, and plotted sermons that go beyond presenting topics of spiritual conviction, but instead focus on what everyone else is doing wrong. These are just a few of the agendas set forth by many popular church establishments today. A large portion of these same folks are claiming that they are in the business of pursuing love, godliness, and spiritual things, yet they maliciously attack those that innocently question some of their seemingly misleading portrayals of God’s Holy Word and how His Holy Spirit operates.

Although I do not desire to put a specific name on folks who fit this description, and who defame the true leading of the Holy Spirit, it will become necessary to allow them to garner the proper credit for what they have stated and written publicly on these matters. I believe that I may speak openly on their practices because unfortunately I experienced and witnessed them first hand as a part of this muddled up organization.

When Jesus Christ was dwelling with man He warned us many times to watch out for false teaching or wolves adorned in sheep’s clothing. It is simply amazing how so many modern pastors and preachers are able to mix the truth with their own confused notions about the empowering of the Holy Spirit to attract droves of people into their house of worship, while many times, unknowingly defaming the true nature of that same Spirit that they claim to have dedicated their lives too.

I must start out by making it distinctly clear, that I am not selfishly pointing the finger in judgment or trying to start a slander campaign against folks that seem to be scripturally mixed up, nor do I desire to question their love of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. Only God knows the true intents of the heart. However, when a man makes statements and commits to his beliefs and interpretations regarding scripture publicly, he voluntarily opens himself up to be scrutinized, examined, and responded too in the same format. With that being said, I must also admit that it is not easy for any men and women to confess that they might possibly be wrong, especially those who feel called to the ministry.

“Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins.” Psalm 25:18, NKJV

I will be the first to confess that I have had to go back many times and observe my own failures and misconceptions about God, but I view them as a reminder of God’s grace and realize that He is not holding those errors against me because once He showed me the blunder of my ways and I repented for them, they were no longer obstacles blocking the fellowship I have with Him.

“If we say that we have no sin, we decide ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9, NKJV

Let’s take a look at some of what the popular Calvary Chapel founder, Pastor Chuck Smith has to say about what makes his churches distinct, while remembering the focus of our discussion that centers around helping folks develop solid biblical character that leads directly to the attainment of the fruits of the Spirit as explained to us by the Word of God. I have used this particular Pastor because he has made so many open claims about his Calvary Chapels being molded and led exclusively by the Holy Spirit, yet at the same time he takes the emphasis off the true characteristics of Biblical teaching that demand relentless study and prayer to attain a greater closeness to God.

It is not fair to label all Calvary Chapel churches as misled or confused simply because of what their founder claims to believe, but we must all certainly be very careful and cautious of his baffling and contradictory mindset regarding his own understanding of what the function of the church and the Holy Spirit was meant to be. We must also remember that this man may just simply be confused and nothing more and we should lovingly attempt and truly desire to bring him back on track with what scripture tells us if his contentions are an honest error.

Mr. Smith explains the methods and beliefs employed by his church movement with emphasis on the leading of the Holy Spirit throughout his work entitled Calvary Chapel Distinctives. It was necessary to pick and choose his direct quotes expressed throughout this written work to show just a glimpse of the contradictions and inconsistent distinctives expressed within this document up close. The reader should review this text in it’s entirety to observe many additional fatal inconsistencies and contradictory statements contained therein.

He states, “God, desiring to reach and bless all kinds of people, seems to enjoy having a wide variety of churches so that everybody's needs might be met, from the highly emotional to the very formal, and all those in between. Each of us has a part to play in God's plan, but we all need to know where we fit in this wide spectrum.

Now if you look at most church programs today, the chief goal is trying to add to the church. There are all these growth programs and seminars that try to show you how to add to your church. Well, it's very easy. You don't have to pay $175.00 for a seminar to find out how to grow a church. Just get the people into the Word. Get the people in prayer.”

Later on he cautions, “Beware of taking the hard stand. I have found, for the most part, that when a person gets heavy into 'Reformation Theology,' they usually get heavy into legalism. They want to make sure the 'T's' are crossed and the 'I's' are dotted just right. 'Reformation Theology' has some good points, but so does a porcupine. When you embrace it too forcefully, then you're going to get the points.

Some people object because they feel that I gloss over certain passages of Scripture, and they're correct. But glossing over controversial issues is often deliberate because there are usually two sides. And I have found that it's important not to be divisive and not to allow people to become polarized on issues, because the moment they are polarized, there's division.”

So, through the above quotations detailed within the Calvary Chapel Distinctives work which was published to define what this church believes and how they are to function, we can surmise that Mr. Smith supposes that God enjoys many different types of churches and that it is easy to add to the church through the study of His Word and prayer, but that it is essential that pastors do not take hard stands on what scripture says because it can lead to legalism, just like in reformed theology. Apparently, that is why, as he stated, he admittedly glosses over certain passages that are controversial because it could polarize the church body and cause division.

I have to earnestly ask you, in our pursuit of holding fast to the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit, are we instructed anywhere in scripture to worship in whatever way we choose because of what we personally prefer or depending upon whether we like formal or emotional settings?

Likewise, do the minor and Major Prophets of old, Jesus Christ, Paul, and/or any of the apostles instruct us to gloss over what they have relayed to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so ministers may avert division and polarization among the children of God?

Knowledge of the totality of Scripture is clearly essential to understanding both the whole and the part and glossing over selected wisdom leaves important facts out. Is this what God wants for His churches?

“Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness” 2 Timothy 2:14-16, NKJV

Doesn’t Paul advise Timothy herein to never stray from the truth? When he is referring to profane babblings does he mean controversial topics that polarize? It appears that scripture does not instruct us in this supposed manner given to us by Mr. Smith!

“So there was a division among the people because of Him.” John 7:43, NKJV

Do we not witness division occurring because of Jesus Christ’s words documented in the New Testament? If we experience division and/or a depletion of our church membership because we preach the whole counsel of scripture, including the difficult polarizing topics are we to change are ministry by avoiding these essential truths and remain neutrally positioned simply to appease our members?

Have we not observed in scripture that those who teach things that do not accord with the doctrine of godliness are proud and know nothing? It is one thing to avoid strife and arguments over useless words, but another to simply “gloss” over scripture in order to keep divisive men and women in our midst happy when we are actually ordered to withdraw from their presence by God if they will not accept His truths.

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” 1 Timothy 6:3-5, NKJV

Surely, everything revealed through scripture is in fact the Lord God’s words even those that are considered “polarizing” to some men. We are not instructed to give people what they want to hear from the bible. We are to give them the words that God wants them to hear.

Mr. Smith than seems to contradict his own advice regarding polarizing positions later on in his writing confusing those who desire to understand the distinctives of his church where he says,

“Another primary distinctive of Calvary Chapel is our endeavor to declare to people the whole counsel of God. We see this principle illustrated when Paul met with the Ephesians elders in Acts 20. As they were on the shore of the Aegean at Miletus, around the coastal area of Ephesus, Paul said that he was innocent of the blood of all men, "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." (Acts 20:27).

Now, how is it possible for a person to claim to have declared, 'the whole counsel of God?" The only way a person could make that claim to his congregation would be if he taught through the whole Word of God with them, from Genesis to Revelation. Once you've taken your congregation through the Bible, then you can say to them, "I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of God."

We don't skip anything. And that's why in the majority of the Calvary Chapels, and the most successful ones, you'll find the systematic teaching of the entire Word of God, going through the Bible from cover to cover.”

Although I agree with this man’s position as it is relayed here, I have difficulty reconciling it with what he has already stated regarding his suggested glossing over of scripture. In Acts 20:27, Paul is explicitly laying down the charge that he was not going to avoid declaring any part of scripture, even the most difficult parts of the gospel. He did not shun preaching doctrines which would be provoking or polarizing as Mr. Smith has recommended for his churches. Paul faithfully took the words revealed by God, regardless if they displeased those studying them directly or those who were repulsed by hearing them and he faithfully proclaimed them to all who would listen.

What Mr. Smith goes onto state after making the claim that he follows Paul’s instruction given in Acts 20:27 contradicts everything else he has just proclaimed. He further elaborates his befuddled position writing,

“Don't get polarized. Don't let the people get polarized. The minute you do, you've lost half your congregation because people are split pretty evenly on this issue. So if you take a polarized position you'll lose half of your congregation. Do you really want to lose 50% of your congregation?”

So once again Mr. Smith goes back to his original contention that pastors should gloss over controversial areas and avoid polarizing positions disregarding Paul’s advice, so that they do not lose half of their congregation who may not like or disagree with some of what the Bible teaches. So I ask again, does the Bible say that this is how pastors ought to teach? As far as Chuck Smith is concerned he seems to want to have his cake and eat it too. If you say you teach the whole counsel of Scripture that means the whole counsel including the polarizing topics and those that might cause division. If you skip or gloss over anything you can not rightly make the claim that you teach the whole counsel of God as we are instructed to do by Paul.

Clearly, the two thousand year old church does not need anymore new preaching techniques, we need more of a certain kind of preaching, which is the kind of preaching that we observed Jesus Christ and the apostles partake in.

I personally experienced this type of plotted disservice to biblical doctrine as prescribed by Mr. Smith at a local Calvary Chapel that I mistakenly attended in Northern Idaho. When I desired to find out what the pastor believed regarding certain doctrinal truths revealed in scripture, he simply responded by telling me what I wanted to hear and initially agreed with some of what he labeled my “Calvinist” positions. However, he always preached and endorsed Arminian or semi-pelagian doctrines from the pulpit, contrary to what he claimed he believed to me.

When I lovingly confronted him about this unusual disorder, he angrily stated that he was a four point Calvinist and than proceeded to condemn all Calvinists and label reformed theology as exclusively divisive and puffed up. When I explained my positions to him based on scripture and an overwhelming amount of church history, he than proceeded to label me as a hyper-Calvinist, which was simply not true.

This particular Calvary Chapel church that I attended defined itself in exactly the same manner as Chuck Smith has recommended in his written work defining Calvary Chapel Distinctives. They claimed that they were neither Hyper-Calvinist nor Hyper-Arminian, yet they are in the surest sense adorned as Arminians or semi-pelagians from head to ankle with a Calvinist sock covering their foot, which becomes obvious when you listen to their illogical preaching and read their mixed-up writings.

Folks, in plain terms, illogical, Luke warm and/or middle of the road deception is called lying and this is not the foundation upon which anyone’s faith can be built. Pastors are not called by God to adorn themselves in different doctrinal costumes to appease the crowd. Sunday worship is not some Halloween celebration although the expression trick or treat certainly fits the title for this particular bill.

Many times, I personally witnessed my former Calvary Chapel pastor open up his Sunday sermons with colorful jokes or clever stories instead of rightly opening the Word of God and immediately proclaiming the topic of his sermon from the very beginning. He would often pace back and forth on stage, spending little time behind the pulpit, trying to make the congregation feel laid back and at ease as if they were talking to their buddy down the street. There was no authoritative posturing witnessed until I lovingly questioned how scripture was being presented and what it truly stated, than many unbiblical labels were cast upon me with authoritative postures finally being displayed, yet clearly unjustified.

Friends, pastors are called to read the Word of God and authoritatively proclaim what it states. To claim that your church is preaching in accordance with what the Bible prescribes means that you are willing to chew on all of its difficult revelations and instructions. Colorful jokes and grad stories are not what true believers go to church to hear, we should be in attendance to heed and learn what God has to say so that we may come to repentance of sin and be renewed by His divine truth and not for an amusing chuckle.

Hold on tight, we are not finished yet, maybe Mr. Smith does not believe that we should gloss over scripture after all, as he again flip flops back to one of his other contentions that we must teach the whole word of God. Therein he states,

“Another advantage of teaching the whole counsel of God is that when you come to difficult issues that deal with problems in an individual's life or within the Church body, you can address them straightforwardly.

We need not worry about people thinking, "Oh, he's aiming at me today." People in the congregation know that it's simply the passage of Scripture being studied that day. So it can't be, "Oh man, he's really picking on me," because they realize that you're going straight through the Book, and you're not jumping from topic to topic. We're just going straight through the entire Word of God.”

Ok, I think we might be onto something here and again I can agree that it is essential to teach the “whole counsel” of God regardless if it offends some folks, causes division, or polarizes the church. But wait we must look again at what this renowned pastor says later on in his writing, where he again contradicts himself and states,

“An important characteristic of Calvary Chapel Fellowships is our desire not to divide God's people over non-essential issues. This is not to say that we do not have strong convictions. When the Bible speaks clearly, we must as well. But on other issues we try to recognize the Scriptural validity of both sides of a debate and avoid excluding or favoring those in one camp over the other.

An example of this kind of inclusiveness is found in our approach to the debatable issue concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We don't take a typical Pentecostal view, nor do we take a typical Baptist view. The minute you set your position one way or the other, you've lost half of your congregation.

Why would you want to lose half your congregation? Our desire is to be able to minister to as broad a group of people as possible. The minute we start taking hard-line positions on any of the non-foundational controversial issues, we alienate part of the people.”

First, I have to conscientiously question what he seems to classify as non-essential issues therein, since one of the doctrines thought to be non-essential by many Calvary Chapel pastors is the notion of man’s absolute free will versus the sovereignty of God. Also, anyone who has attended a Calvary Chapel for any amount of time will quickly realize that most are dogmatic about these issues they label non-essential.

I also have to challenge the humanistic reasoning delivered herein by this man and simply ask you the reader to resolve for yourself in Biblical terms whether the church should have an exclusive or all-inclusive ministry as Mr. Smith recommends?

Has not history revealed to all saved believers that we shall face condemnation, rebuke, suffering, and even death for being strict followers of Jesus Christ? Should we now be led to believe that all of the martyr’s blood spilled throughout the history of the church was for naught because we could have rectified all the loss if we simply avoided polarizing positions and never committed to the true meaning and message relayed via scripture?

Is this teaching truly being conceived through prayer, study, and the discernment of the Holy Spirit? Can anyone be brought into repentance through a neutralized, lukewarm presentation of scripture?

God’s purpose for His chosen people of yesteryear continuing into today’s modern times was to be served through obedience to Him, bringing Him all glory and honor, and not through making folks who were lost and confused happy with themselves and their mistaken sinful beliefs. However, as you shall witness, this popular man has stated that this all inclusiveness and chaotic uncertainty is the very thing that makes Calvary Chapels so “beautiful.”

“You know the beautiful thing about being called Calvary Chapel? People don't know where you really stand. Put Baptist in your title, and people know where you are, and half the people will never come because it's a Baptist church. Put Presbyterian in your name, and they know where you stand, and half the people will never come because they know what the Presbyterians believe. Put Nazarene in your name, and immediately they've got you pigeon-holed. They know who you are, and they don't need to go.

But Calvary Chapel has a sort of mystique about it. 'What do these people believe?" "I don't know, but let's go find out." And the whole field is ours. You want to fish in as big a pond as you can find. When you're marketing something, you want the largest market appeal possible. So don't chop up the market and say, "Well, we're just going to fish in this little market here." Keep the market broad. Fish in the big pond. Fish where they are biting.”

Do I even need to say anything regarding these statements? I personally am disgusted by these marketing comments, but understand how scripture has labeled this unfruitful reckoning as linked to selfish ambition, etc. Can God really be pleased by this marketing ploy and plotted all inclusiveness as opposed to the ministry He has ordained? Do we not witness this same type of confusion method employed by commonly observed cults?

Mr. Smith continues, “So the position I take on the issue all depends on the condition of the person I'm talking to. I can take either side and argue it ad infinitum. I can trade Scriptures with people on both sides of the issue. I can let you choose what side you want, and I'll take the other side. I can produce as many Scriptures and make as good an argument as you can.

There is a great dearth of the Spirit, even a denying of the power and gifts of the Spirit. But the movements were born of the Spirit. And so goes the history of the church. God raises up a new work and begins a new movement. Calvary Chapel happens to be in the first part of the cycle. The Spirit of God moved, and is moving, and has raised up a new work. It was begun in the Spirit.”

Again, I have to ask you, should we interpret scripture and give counsel to folks differently, depending on what they believe or by way of what God has told us? Does God really want us to trade scriptures with folks and let them choose what side they want to be on? Is this “new work” going on in Mr. Smith’s Calvary Chapel truly the leading work of the Holy Spirit?

“For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6:3, NKJV

A church and its pastoral leadership must be securely affixed to the Word of God and sure and confident of their own scriptural interpretations. Otherwise they will not thrive or be successful in achieving their intended role of delivering the convicting and saving words of the biblical Gospel and aiding the sanctification process of Christian believers by bringing all listeners to repentance for their sins.

We see some more of this man’s unassuredness regarding scripture in the following statements, “When anyone invites Jesus to come into his heart, to take over the rule and control of his life, we believe that the Holy Spirit then comes into that person's life. He is with each one of us to bring us to Christ, and when we come to Christ, He begins then to dwell in us.

For those who have not studied Christian History, this man-made philosophy appears to be the belief of the fifth century heretic, condemned by the church and refuted through scripture and now rightly labeled the Pelagian heresy. Mr. Smith goes on, “It's the Holy Spirit who, once having drawn you to Christ, when you open the door, comes into your life and begins to indwell you.

Look what God had to go through in order to get this man Moses, a man with no confidence, no credibility, no ability, and no desire, yet chosen by God to deliver the people.

What does "Whosoever believeth in Him" mean? Does that mean that anybody can be saved? It appears to me to mean that, and so we don't take the hard-line Calvinistic position of limited atonement that says Jesus didn't die for everybody, only those who would believe in Him.

We do not accept that believing in Him has nothing to do with human responsibility, but is totally the sovereign choice of God. This position states that God has ordained some to be saved and some to be lost. If God has ordained you to be lost, tough luck, buddy. There's nothing we can do. This is a denial of the free moral agency. Instead, we believe that God has given us the capacity of choice.”

On the one hand, Mr. Smith will have us to believe that it is the Holy Spirit who draws us and that God chooses on His own who will be saved and used for His glory as He did with Moses, yet he than contradicts this notion by saying that we are all a part of the free moral agency and that we make our own “free choice” regarding our salvation. Further, he seems to enjoy openly attacking Calvinists by contending that limited atonement is a “hard-line” belief among Christians, yet he claimed earlier that he never wants to polarize his church or believers because as he stated, God enjoys different churches and different approaches to worship. I guess that does not include Calvinists. I guess we can all assume that folks like Augustine, Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, BB Warfield, J.C. Ryle, Martin Luther, the Puritans, and numerous other Calvinist men throughout church history were simply just a bunch of hardliners and than just discount all they had to say and everything they have contributed to the unfolding of the Gospel included the great awakening itself!

Is this not all a distinct contradiction? Is this on purpose or is Chuck Smith hyper-confused about what he and his church actually believe?

Remember what we stated earlier, blaming someone or something else for our own particular weaknesses and misunderstandings regarding scripture may appear to take the responsibility off our own shoulders, but it fails to remove the fault or error we have proclaimed inhibiting our ability to grow closer to Christ.

“Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6: 6-7, NKJV

Perhaps we can reconcile why there is so much uncertainty being expressed through this bewildering writing by examining a little more of what Mr. Smith has to say about his own educational background and studies, including those of his pastoral staff. Perhaps Mr. Smith is not taking Paul’s advice to be like the Bereans and examine what scripture says. Keep in mind that while Mr. Smith regularly claims that Calvary Chapel churches begin in the Spirit throughout his composition, by committing to this declaration, he seems to want us to believe and accept that the Holy Spirit is OK with the confusion and neutral position that his church seems to preach and represent that seemingly contradicts the Word of God.

Also, while he states that all folks are divisive if they do not buy-in to his lukewarm philosophy, he himself becomes discordant, troublesome, disruptive, and conflict-ridden over the whole of what scripture states, which is certainly biblically condemned and openly declaring it does not make me or anyone else divisive.

Mr. Smith states, “It's interesting that having begun in the Spirit, so often, we then seek to be perfected in the flesh. Some of the Calvary Chapel pastors have gone back to school. Some of the schools were quite anxious to have them because of their success in the ministry. They wanted to be able to point to them as having received degrees from their programs, and to be associated with their success in the ministry. The schools were anxious to get them, so they offered them life experience credits.

They were able to take a few courses, and with all their life experience credits get their degrees. Now the schools point to them as classic examples of the success of their graduates. Some of the fellows went back to school to get these degrees because when you're interviewed, they're always asking, "What degrees do you have?" and it is kind of embarrassing to say, "Well I don't have any degree."

"What seminary did you attend?"

"I didn't attend seminary."

What university did you attend?"

"Well, I didn't quite make my High School Diploma."

It can be embarrassing to admit that you don't have the educational background. When "Who's Who" writes you and says that you've been selected to be in this year's edition, they want to know what degrees you have and what universities you attended because man wants to be able to say, "Well, look this man has a has a Ph.D." Somehow we feel we can be perfected and even prepared in the flesh. We've begun in the Spirit and the only way to have continuing success is to continue in the Spirit.

I also look at the men that God gathered around me and I sort of chuckle as I see the ones that God has used. They're much like David's men, sort of the outcasts and cast-offs of society, and yet look what God has done.

I wonder how many times the work that God wants to do is hindered because God can't find simple men. All He has is a bunch of Ph.D.s out here.

Now, I've been accused of being anti-intellectual. Even Calvary Chapel is often branded as anti-intellectual. I suppose I am guilty, but I don't apologize for it.

You don't need four years of seminary and a Ph.D. Many times they can be a greater hindrance than a blessing. I believe that the title 'Doctor' puts a wall between you and the people, which makes you less effective in ministering to them. People will put you on a pedestal the moment that they say, 'Doctor.' You put yourself in an element above them, and they feel inferior. Then you end up not really ministering to them on a level that they can relate to.

That's why God chooses such totally unqualified people like us, fills us with His Spirit, and then does a mighty work through us that astounds and baffles the world. Now, how can we be so foolish as to try to find some reason in us to explain why God used us so that we might glory in ourselves rather than glorying in the Lord and in what He has done?”

I am not sure what Mr. Smith means to imply herein, other than directly revealing what he thinks about other’s educational and intellectual backgrounds and his own apparent need for more diligent study of Holy writ. It is one thing to admit that some folks can become puffed up because of knowledge, but a grave error to assume that God can’t and does not use well-studied men and women, who have doctorate degrees behind their names, earned exclusively because they earnestly desire to know Him better so they may efficiently participate in the furthering of His kingdom. Are there no intellectual men and women that love the Lord with all of their hearts? Is it not the Holy Spirit that leads these men into there intellectual studies of scripture?

Surely, all successful ministries begin in the Spirit and in order for them to be successful, in the Spirit they must remain, but does this mean strenuous study of scripture in a seminary environment is not needed and that it is merely a useless act or a sheer endeavor of the flesh? Surely not!

Further, Mr. Smith’s reckless speculation that God’s will could be in anyway hindered because He can’t find enough “simple men” around to preach His Word is less than humorous and does nothing to glorify our Sovereign God.

The Bible clearly informs us that as the Supreme Creator of all things, God sees that none of His work is hindered by man who He created by His own Hand from the mere dust of the ground! Surely, our sovereign Maker is not anxiously waiting around agitatedly hoping simple men will join Calvary Chapel and decide to preach His Word! The Lord calls who He will to preach, which obviously includes both schooled and unschooled men as history has revealed.

Mr. Smith seems to have also mistakenly forgotten here that God honors spiritual obedience and cares little about physical results. He seems to boast about the worldly success of those uneducated folks that occupy his ministry. His other risky contention, that the title doctor preceding someone’s name normally hinders pastoral ministries because it makes folks feel inferior to that educated person preaching to them is awfully inaccurate.

This deceptive announcement dangerously takes our focus off the perilous damage that an unstudied man with little or no education could cause, when issued the highly reverent and respected title of Pastor. Doesn’t the title Pastor denote someone who has diligently studied scripture, and is not a novice as it pertains to spiritual things and the ways of God? Could an unaccountable person given this title wreck havoc on the furthering of God’s kingdom through a misrepresentation of the gospel and biblical scripture?

Preachers teach those sent by God, the Gospel and the divine ordinances He has ordered as revealed through His Holy Word. If one fails to study the meaning of that Word with all his might, he will not be able to reconcile the ways of God to his fullest potential. To make a slapdash statement that implies that God only uses unqualified folks as his ministers is not accurate or true as the apostle Paul clearly proved through his own ministry, but it does appear that Mr. Smith does not like to focus on what God has done in the past so this may not have been taken into consideration when he was writing this piece.

In his own words Mr. Smith states, “When we build a monument to remind ourselves of what God did in the past, that's always a sad day, because we each need to experience the work of God alive and fresh in our own lives.”

Although I agree that we shall not make idolatrous monuments, I utterly oppose his impetuous contention relayed herein, that we should not remind ourselves of what God has done in the past. Remembering Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and the sacrifice He voluntarily made for me is what keeps God alive and fresh in our own lives and is never a sad day as it is the cornerstone of every true converts faith! Surely our sanctification is sitting in dead water if we do not daily reflect upon the Savior’s sacrifice for each of us!

Folks, I do not like to have to focus on specific movements by their real name as examples of the sad estate of modern Christianity and its apparent confusion regarding the Fruits of the Spirit, but when these religious organizations openly implement unbiblical middle of the road systems and present “non-polarizing” interpretations of Holy Writ to attract and keep people in their buildings, one has to wonder whether they are hoping for results rather than rightly putting their faith and trust in the Sovereign God that they have professed to serve.

In order to effectively deliver the Gospel as well as all of the essential doctrines defined and spoken of throughout the Word of God we must scrupulously adhere to true biblical preaching. We must study the Word, digging into its meaning and relaying its messages to those who care to hear it.

The Fruit of the Spirit is not exemplified by choosing to try and please men with clever marketing ploys, it is something that grows naturally in the life of a believer who solemnly seeks to serve and glorify his God. If Mr. Smith and his Calvary Chapels desire to please men and their opinions they should all go do something else because when we preach, we are instructed to speak and declare the whole counsel of scripture and let God worry about the reactions and results.

Each and everyone one of us, both saved or unsaved, can be assured that God’s calling as revealed through scripture is not defined anywhere as “all inclusive” as many of our modern day “evangelical” pastors and preachers try and convince us into believing.

Who did God exclusively allow to enter the Ark?

Who did God exclusively invite to be His people in the Old Testament? Was it not the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?

Who did God exclusively allow to enter the Promised Land?

The Bible I have read states that it is God who makes man willing to accept His free offer of grace, thereby allowing the fruits of the Spirit to grow throughout the course of his/her new life in Christ.

There is no non-polarizing, middle road that leads to Jesus, there is one door, there is one way and it is not attained by the clever calculation and reckoning of mankind and his fallen ways. God does not advocate new methods of attracting His chosen flock into the fold as He already brilliantly designed a system that works perfectly and is irresistible when the ministry employed is the one He originally ordained.

“I am the good Shepard. The good Shepard gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the Shepard, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good Shepard; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” John 10:11-14, NKJV.

The expositional teaching of scripture requires the Biblical reading of the Word of God and a lengthy treatment of what it says. We do not need one hour syrupy choruses and pep talks emanating from our pulpits. We do not need clever jokes to entertain our congregation, what we truly need are dedicated pastors who are willing to read from the Word and laboriously expound upon its meaning utilizing authoritative postures and a God exalting thrust so that the glory of God is unveiled for all to witness.

The truth is it does not take long to fill up a baby’s bottle with milk. However, it is a laborious endeavor that requires a firm commitment to the prescribed menu in order to make a seven course biblical meal with all the spiritual ingredients it will require. Preaching by the Spirit of God brings folks to repentance and causes them to examine themselves in light of what God has commanded allowing each one of us to realize just how much we desperately need His grace.

I am deeply saddened that there are so many men and women being unknowingly led astray and given false understandings and hopes about what the power of the Holy Spirit means in their personal lives. However, I have a real hope and firm contentment knowing that God has allowed this to occur for the righteous recognition and insurmountable glory that will be granted to Him, when many of these same folks are mercifully shown the heavenly vision to escape the sinful darkness surrounding these types of ministries and gain solace in the sheepfold and it’s true Shepard.

Hopefully there will come a time in every true believer’s life when he will stop feeding on the warm breast milk given from “non-polarizing” neutralized ministries and he will start craving to chew on the meat and potatoes that scripture has to offer each of us for our continual growth and sanctification.

God never intended that His holy word should cause frustration and unease between His chosen flock. Satan is the one who wants the children of God left in broken discord. That is why we observe so many idolatrous substitutes for what God has really ordained. Folks, God says it is grace and grace alone that brings the flock home and so it is!

Although, Chuck Smith clearly confuses Scripture and many of its meanings in his Calvary Chapel Distinctives, I am hopeful that he may be graciously led to embrace the whole truth and openly teach all of it, polarizing or not, through the power and discernment of the Holy Spirit, and that his apparent confusion can be brought into the light of clarity.

I personally would rather have the right heart and facts as they pertain to the foundational structure of salvation and the divine ordinances of God relayed through His Holy Word, than simply the right attitude that Mr. Smith does claim to earnestly desire, because God will surely change my attitude if it is in error, byway of His divine grace and through a clear and distinct understanding and acceptance of the whole counsel of His Holy Word. However, if I have the wrong facts, I will not only stumble in my walk, but I may lead many others to a falsely professed belief in Jesus Christ, which would surely be an unbearable thought and a fiery end.

“And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9, NKJV

I must further add herein that God has graciously ordained that a man who faithfully trusts in Him alone will indeed discipline himself in righteousness, diligently study and mediate on the Word of God, examine himself and his motives daily, walk in the Spirit everyday of his newly sanctified life, and be humble enough to admit when his assertions are in error. By this we shall all know that he portrays the biblical characteristics of godliness and is indeed a saved Christian having the Spirit dwelling in him. When we are spiritually reborn we come out of the hardened chrysalis as newly created, divinely embodied, and angelic butterflies.

Folks, when the storms of confusion rage against us, we all need the full counsel of God to calm them down. By binding ourselves to the Holy Spirit and always seeking His counsel, while being willing to admit the error of our man-made thoughts and beliefs, when they fail to line up with His Holy Word, each of us shall indeed exemplify His fruits, now and forever.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV

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