"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
AUGUST 1, 2000
In this Issue:
BAPTIST GIANTS ON THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH
SALVATION BY GRACE INITIATED
AN ANSWER TO A CORRESPONDENT
Baptist Giants of Past Years Speak on the Nature of the Church
By Wayne Camp
From time to time we have published various positions of Baptists on the nature and succession of the true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me say again that I am a "local church only" kind of Baptist. I have been unable to find any satisfactory diversion or alternative to that position. But, I know that there have been some great Baptists, even great Landmark Baptists who have held otherwise. My quoting them does not mean that I agree with them. But, I believe honest demands that I admit that they did espouse position with which I disagree even though I quote them and consider them great and representative Baptists.
I have shown in past articles that J. M. Pendleton held to some form of a universal church. Concerning the word "church" Pendleton wrote,
The term church frequently occurs in the New Testament. It may be found there more than a hundred times. The word thus translated means congregation of assembly, but it does not indicate the purpose for which the congregation or assembly meets. Hence it is used Acts xix. 32, 39, 41, and rendered assembly. In every other place in the New Testament it is translated church. In its application to the followers of Christ it is usually, if not always, employed to designate a particular congregation of saints or the redeemed in the aggregate. It is used in the latter sense in several passages, as, for example, when Paul says, "Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; . . . that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." Eph. v. 25-27. In these places and in several others it would be absurd to define the term "church" as meaning a particular congregation of Christians meeting in one place for the worship of God.(Christian Doctrines, J. M. Pendleton, P. 329).
Now folks, no matter how one may spin it, it is incontrovertible that this Landmark Baptist, J. M. Pendleton, held to some conception of a church composed of all the saved.
In August of last year, we published evidence that J. R. Graves also held to some concept of a universal church composed of all the saved from Abel to the rapture of the saints. Here is that evidence again with the sources given.
The following information concerning the position of J. R. Graves on the church
On pages 26 and 27 of his book, The Middle Life, Graves says:
"There is, also, an oft used figure of speech of great significancy, found throughout the Bible, and especially in the New Testament, which, if I understand it, is conclusive in the settlement of this question. The church of Christ, which, in this sense, embraces the whole number of the saved, is spoken of as the (betrothed) bride of Christ, and which he will one day bring into his Father's house and present her before the King complete, perfected and glorified, and after this the marriage will be celebrated and she will become his wife."
He says again on page 29:
But this presentation of the church-bride unto Christ by his friend, and of his bride unto his father, when he shall have brought her, in her perfected and all glorious condition, into the King's palace, manifestly cannot take place until she is complete in all the members of her body-until the last sinner is saved and glorified."
On page 461 of his book, Seven Dispensations, Graves wrote,
"It is well to understand clearly what Christians will constitute the Bride of Christ, whom, long espoused, Christ will now take to himself as his wife before the Father's face and the intelligences of the Universe. They will not be all the saved, as is so generally taught, but only those redeemed from among men from the days of Abel until the day of the Rapture. There will be millions saved during the millennial age, but these will not constitute the Bride of Christ during that age, but, with the saved nations, will constitute the subjects over whom Christ and his Bride will reign for the thousand years."
There is the evidence in black and white. I invite every reader to check the references I have given and see whether or not Graves and Pendleton wrote what I have reported. I do not support there position but I will not lie and say they did not hold to what they freely published.
INTERESTING WORDS FROM TERTULLIAN
Many claim very strongly that Tertullian was a Baptist. Some even claim he was a Landmark Baptist. I have seen a purported chain of Baptist church succession that is supposed to go back to Christ and the apostles that includes Tertullian in the chain. I have never understood how one can prove a chain-linked succession of churches by going through associations and through individual preachers. But some do claim that type of succession and boldly publish it.
For the moment I will not argue the matter of Tertullian being or not being a Baptist. From some of his writings, especially on baptism, I have some serious questions. But, since many Landmarkers embrace Tertullian as a true Baptist Preacher and trace their "church" lineage through him, I thought we should look at some words from this ancient writer. He wrote,
Immediately, therefore, so did the apostles, whom this designation indicates as "the sent." Having, on the authority of a prophecy, which occurs in a psalm of David, chosen Matthias by lot as the twelfth, into the place of Judas, they obtained the promised power of the Holy Ghost for the gift of miracles and of utterance; and after first bearing witness to the faith in Jesus Christ throughout Judea, and rounding churches (there), they next went forth into the world and preached the same doctrine of the same faith to the nations. They then in like manner rounded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification. Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive Church, (rounded) by the apostles, from which they all (spring). In this way all are primitive, and all are apostolic, whilst they are all proved to be one, in (unbroken) unity, by their peaceful communion, and title of brotherhood, and bond of hospitality,--privileges which no other rule directs than the one tradition of the selfsame mystery.[Tertullian, Prescription Against the Heretics, XX, 4 (ANF, Vol. III)]
Tertullian held to the idea that all the local churches, be they ever so great, actually compise but one primitive church. He said, "Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive Church . . ."
It is also apparent that Tertullian held to an informal succession of churches. It was a doctrinal succession that he touted, not a formal, vote by vote, succession. Note what he said. "They then in like manner rounded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches." It is apparent in this statement that Tertullian believed the doctrinal identity with other churches constitutes the succession from them. It is through what Tertullian calls "the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine" that are "derived" from other churches.
INTERESTING WORDS FROM IGNATIUS
Ignatius precedes Tertullian in history. He was a powerful writer and is also declared by some to have been a Baptist. He wrote,
Wherefore I write boldly to your love, which is worthy of God, and exhort you to have but one faith, and one [kind of] preaching, and one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ; and His blood which was shed for us is one; one loaf also is broken to all [the communicants], and one cup is distributed among them all: there is but one altar for the whole Church, and one bishop, with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants. Since, also, there is but one unbegotten Being, God, even the Father; and one only-begotten Son, God, the Word and man; and one Comforter, the Spirit of truth; and also one preaching, and one faith, and one baptism; and one Church which the holy apostles established from one end of the earth to the other by the blood of Christ, and by their own sweat and toil; it behooves you also, therefore, as "a peculiar people, and a holy nation," to perform all things with harmony in Christ.[St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Philadelphians, 4,1 (ANF, Vol. I)].
It is evident from this statement of Ignatius that he held to one church compose of all the churches established by the apostles and from their churches. According to some historians, Ignatius was the second Bishop of Antioch in Syria from A. D. 68 to 107. This places him there just shortly after the death of the Apostle Paul. Note again this portion of his statement. ". . .there is . . . one Church which the holy apostles established from one end of the earth to the other by the blood of Christ, and by their own sweat and toil."
It is again seen that there have been some great Baptists who held to some concept of a church that is beyond the "local church only" concept. Some have advocated erroneously that the universal concept of the church originated about the time of the Protestant reformation. But, in some sense, Ignatius held to a church composed of more than particular local churches. This man, who pastored the church in Antioch of Syria, from about 68 AD until 107 AD., held to some aspect of a universal church.
I do not publish this to support the universal concept. I have stated many times that I do not believe it. I am "local church only" in my belief. But, it behooves us to be honest with the facts of history. If you trace your churches history through Tertullian you trace your history through a man who espoused a more than "local only" concept of the church and declared it.
Back to In This Issue
SALVATION BY GRACE INITIATED
Fourth In a Series
By Wayne Camp
II Tim. 1:8-9: “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
In the past three messages on the subject of Salvation By Grace we have seen that salvation by grace is absolutely necessary because of the fall of man, the nature of God, and the saint's proneness to sin after God saves him. Because of man's condition he certainly did not initiate the salvation that is wholly of grace. Man's sinful pride forces him to make works the predominate essential in whatever plan he might conceive. There are ways that seem right to men but the ends are always death, spiritual death.
Did angels initiate the way of salvation by grace? No! In the days that Peter wrote his first epistle he declared that “the angels desire to look into” God's salvation (I Pet. 1:12).
Did God get caught in a dilemma by the fall of man and have to figure out a plan of salvation? When was the plan of salvation initiated? For whom was it initiated? Through whom was it initiated?
It is the purpose of this message to answer these and other possible questions concerning the initiation of God's gracious way of salvation.
SALVATION BY GRACE WAS INITIATED BY GOD HIMSELF
God counseled with no one outside the blessed Godhead when salvation by grace was initiated. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were the three Parties to the covenant of redemptive grace. No archangel was asked to inject his wisdom. No cherubim or seraphim was a party to this high and holy tribunal. Only the three co-existent, co-eternal Persons of the Holy Trinity were contracting parties. In its initiation, as in every other aspect; we can join with Jonah of old and herald forth the glorious truth: “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).
TO SAVE OR NOT TO SAVE: A DIVINE PREROGATIVE
Salvation is the prerogative of God. It is the exclusive and special right of God to save or not to save. It was God who made man. It was God whom man offended by his voluntary and willful fall in Eden. It was the Government of Heaven that was dishonored by the willful violation of its law. If purposes of grace and mercy were to be entertained the one who has been wronged must do it. Affirming this Divine prerogative concerning the salvation of sinners David wrote, “He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto the Lord belong the issues from death” (Psa. 68:20). He exercised this prerogative in the negative when He chose to pass by myriads of angels who fell with Lucifer and extended no arm of mercy to those noble creatures. He reserved every one of the fallen angels in “everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). He “spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment” (II Pet. 2:4).
Christ could have laid hold of angels in the covenant of grace but “Verily he took not on him the nature of angels” (Heb. 2:16). If one can see that salvation is a Divine prerogative and a special choice and unique option of God it will solve many problems in his study of the doctrines of grace. “Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.”
GOD'S MERCY SOVEREIGNLY BESTOWED
Since salvation is the prerogative of God, it follows that God shows mercy and grace to whom He wills. He said to Moses: “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Ex. 33:19). Paul wrote: “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (Rom. 9:18).
In the exercise of His prerogative and exclusive choice to save or to not save God regenerates whom He will. The new birth is one aspect of our salvation and it is unequivocally a sovereign right of God to quicken whom He wills to quicken. One's bloodline, one's fleshly will (The natural man is flesh. Jn. 3:6), one's will as a man has nothing to do with his regeneration. Those who receive Jesus do so because they “were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:13). As Paul declared: “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16).
That regeneration is a Divine prerogative and according to the sovereign will of God is also affirmed by none other than Jesus Christ. “For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (Jn. 5:21). James wrote: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth” (James 1:18).
Everything that God does, He does according to His own sovereign will. He “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” has quickened those “who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 1:11; 2:1).
SALVATION BELONGS TO GOD
Salvation by Grace was initiated by God because “salvation belongeth to the Lord” (Psa. 3:8). “The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord” (Psa. 37:39). The fountain of everlasting life has its source in God. “For with thee is the fountain of life,” wrote the Psalmist (Psa. 36:8-9). Salvation by grace is the salvation that was initiated by God and is the salvation that is of God (Acts 28:28).
SALVATION BY GRACE WAS INITIATED BEFORE THE WORLD WAS CREATED
This writer was preaching in a Bible Conference in a northern state several years ago when he heard a Baptist preacher of several years experience pray in these words: “Lord, we thank you that about two thousand years ago you decided to send your Son into the world to die for our sins . . .” On another occasion in a southern state he heard a Baptist preacher who was president of a Baptist Seminary for twenty-five years make a statement that went like this: “When Israel rejected God's Son it was necessary for God to initiate plan B. God always has a back-up plan. If plan A fails, He institutes plan B.”
As these words are being written I hold in my hand a study book for adult classes. It was written by an experienced Baptist pastor who is now the vice-president of a Baptist Seminary. The lesson was called “The Problem of Disappointments.” One section of the lesson was called “God's Great Disappointments.” After listing several disappointments experienced by God he wrote: “His (God's) greatest disappointment came with the sending of His Son. 'But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son' (Matt. 21:37). They shattered God's expectations by crucifying His Son! How disappointing that was!”
Did God decide about 2000 years ago to send His Son into the world? Does God need backup plans? Has God's one plan, ever failed? Was God disappointed when they crucified His Son? Were His expectations shattered when they crucified His Son?
Of God's covenant with David we read that it was “an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure” (II Sam. 23:5). Certainly, the covenant of grace entered into by the three Persons of the Godhead is “an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.”
AN ETERNAL MYSTERY
Salvation by grace through the shedding of the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ was no after-thought with God! It was not decided upon 2000 years ago! It was not a back-up plan! It was not a disappointment when Christ was crucified! God's expectations were not shattered when they crucified His Son!
Paul sets forth the covenant of grace as a mystery that has been revealed through the preaching of the gospel and was manifest by the Scriptures of the prophets. He declares that this scheme of salvation by grace has been in existence “since the world began” (Rom. 16:25-27). It is an eternal mystery.
ORDAINED BEFORE THE WORLD
The word ordain means “to establish or order by appointment, decree, or law.” Salvation by grace is the sure and certain way of salvation. It is the only way that is “sure to all the seed” whether they be Jew or Gentile (Rom. 4:16). Paul tells us that this great plan is “the wisdom of God unto our glory” (I Cor. 2:7-8).
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul declared that our calling by the Spirit and our salvation was “according to” God's “own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Tim. 1:8-9). To Titus he wrote of the “faith of God's elect” which has given them “the hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:1-2).
Before God ever spoke a creative word concerning this material creation, before an angel ever bowed in His holy presence, before the earth was formed, before the mountains were brought forth, before an eagle spread its wings upon the winds of uncharted space, before a cloud ever swept across a star-sprinkled sky, before man was created and before sin had ever touched the human race, God had entered into a covenant with His Son and the Holy Spirit that was “ordered in all things, and sure.” That covenant made sure and certain the salvation of all the seed (Rom. 4:16).
SALVATION BY GRACE WAS
INITIATED THROUGH CHRIST
The covenant of grace that was initiated before the foundation of the world was a covenant and testament which required the death of a testator. It was a blood-covenant that required that a qualified person shed the blood of this everlasting covenant (Heb. 9:16; 13:20).
When Christ went to the cross to die, God's expectations were not shattered! Jesus was “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:22-23). It “pleased the Lord to bruise him.” It was the Lord who “put him to grief” and made “his soul an offering for sin.” It was God who saw “his seed” and the “travail of his soul” and was satisfied (Isa. 53:10-11).
When that: blood-thirsty mob gathered at Pilate's hall and later at Golgotha they “were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27-28). The Sovereign pleasure and will of God was perfectly executed. Had these men who sought to thwart God's plan and destroy the work of Christ known that divine mystery which God had “ordained before the world unto our glory they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Cor. 2:7-8). They did not shatter God's expectations! They perfectly fulfilled the Divine purpose, pleasure and plan.
“But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled” (Acts 3:18). “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:46).
Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8). The crucifixion of Christ as a lamb “without spot and blemish was foreordained before the foundation of the world” Pet. 1:15).
If I have belabored this point a bit, I ask your indulgence, but when I remembered and read again the disparaging, invidious, degrading, and depreciating remarks about our high and holy God who worketh all things after the counsel of His sovereign will I became jealous for His majestic glory. Oh, that men would cease their efforts to humanize God!
ACCORDING TO THE ETERNAL PURPOSE
Salvation by grace is centered in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. It is “according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 1:11). Before the foundation of the world we were, in the Divine purpose, blessed with all spiritual blessings, chosen in Christ unto salvation, predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, and made accepted in Christ, the beloved Son of God “to the praise of His glorious grace” (Eph. 1:3-6). Salvation by grace was predestined to be through Jesus Christ. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).
SALVATION BY GRACE WAS INITIATED FOR A PARTICULAR GROUP OF PEOPLE
If, in the covenant of grace, Christ had laid hold of the fallen angels they would have been saved. If he had laid hold of all the seed of Adam then all men would have been saved and Universalism would have been the true doctrine. But, when we open the God-breathed Scriptures we find that “he took not on him the nature of angels” (Heb. 2:16). Dr. A. T. Robertson says that the Greek (epilambanetai) means “to lay hold of, to help.”
The Holy Spirit does not leave us ignorant of those of whom Jesus did lay hold in the covenant of grace. “He took his the seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2:16). This reference is to the Spiritual seed of Abraham, the elect of God.
As has just been noted, Christ, in the covenant of redemption, laid hold of the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16). The elect are called the seed of Abraham and the seed of Christ and God. In the covenant, as referred to in Psalm 89, God says: “I will make him my firstborn (Christ is God's first-born, Rom. 8:29-30), higher than the kings of the earth. My mercies will I keep from him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever” (Psa. 89:27-29, 36).
They are called God's seed. In Isa. 53:10 we read that when God makes Christ's soul an offering for sin “He shall see his seed.”
Paul declares that salvation “is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end (for the purpose) the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law (Jews), but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16).
Those for whom Christ contracted in the covenant are also called the children. “If his children forsake my law,” said God of the seed (Psa. 89:30). Christ says: “I and the children which God hath given me” (Heb. 2:13; Isa. 8:18). Caiaphas the high priest, under the irresistible power of the spirit “prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he “should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (Jn. 11:51-52).
The angel declared to Joseph concerning Mary and Christ: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Notice that they are His people before He saves them. Notice also that He will surely save His people. “He shall save His people from their sins.”
“I lay down my life for the sheep,” said Jesus (Jn. 10:15). “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold (Jewish fold): them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice” (Jn. 10:16). “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” declared Christ (Matt: 15:24). There are saved sheep who have already heard His voice and to whom He has given eternal life (Jn. 10:27-29). There are lost sheep who have not heard His voice whom he must bring and they will hear His voice (Jn. 10:16). Then there are some (these were Jews) who are neither lost sheep nor saved sheep. “Ye believe not on me because ye are not of my sheep” (Jn. 10:26).
THOSE GIVEN BY THE FATHER
There are many places where the elect are simply referred to as the ones who were given to Christ by the Father to save. Of His sheep Jesus said: “My Father which gave them me,” (Jn. 10:29). Of His elect children Jesus said: “The children which thou hath given me” (Heb. 2:13). “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me,” declared Jesus. They were given to Him and that assured Him that all would come. They will all come, none of them will be lost and Christ will raise every one of them up at the last day (Jn. 6:39).
The Father “hast given him power over all flesh, that (note this clause of purpose) he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him” (Jn. 17:2).
“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world” (Jn. 17:6). “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me” (Jn 17:9). The whole human race, the world was not given to Christ to save therefore they are not prayed for in this high mediatorial prayer. Only those whom the Father had given to Him were the objects of His mediation.
CHOSEN AND ELECT
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians of their election in this manner: “Knowing, brethren beloved your election of God” (I Thes. 1:4). As to the time of their election he thanked God “because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (II Thes. 2:13).
The Ephesian brethren were also declared to have been chosen and predestinated unto the adoption of children “before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-5).
When Paul preached to the Gentiles in Antioch in Pisidia, “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).
ELECTION IS OF GRACE
We have set forth many Scriptures that show that salvation by grace was initiated for a particular people. Let us conclude by emphasizing that this election unto salvation is itself of grace and is not based on any good seen or foreseen in the elect. Before Jacob and Esau were ever born “neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to the election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth” (Rom. 9:11), Jacob was chosen and Esau was not chosen. Jacob was loved and Esau was hated. “There is a remnant according to the election of grace,” wrote Paul, “and if by grace, then it is no more of works” (Rom. 11:5-6).
This great salvation that is of grace was not an after-thought with God. It was initiated by God the Father before the world for our Glory. Every detail was settled and it was ordered and sure before its objects existed. He loved His elect and He loved Christ and Jesus said: “Thou lovest me before the foundation of the world” (Jn. 17:23-24). Praise God for His eternal, electing, effectual grace!
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AN ANSWER TO A CORRESPONDENT
By Wayne Camp
Occasionally I receive mail that I think deserves more than a mere comment. The following letter is an example.
Thanks you for exposing every sin to mankind. What would God do without you? Thanks for exhorting the saints and speaking the truth in love. You sound like a very happy person. It's people like you that inspire people like me to follow the Biblical commandment to love others the way Christ loves them.
P.S. Personally I would have stoned that harlot, Mary Magdalene, wouldn't you?
P.S.S. It's funny how you don't put names of the people that responded to your web-site, just the state. So I will not include mine!
P.S.S.S. The same internet that you pay to use has pornography on it. Jack Hyles won't even use it. Why are you supporting pornography? (You may be a stumbling block!!) I'm sure you have a good reason. Since Jack Hyles is your earthly god why don't you follow his foot steps.
P.S.S.S.S. I went to a PK event last weekend where 1,500 people came to know Christ in a Romans Road, KJV, repenting way, not one wrong doctrine cited. How many did your web-site lead to Christ last week?
Since you chose to not give me your name, I will just have to address you as I have. Your sarcasm comes through loud and clear. In fact, much louder and much clearer than the love you claim to have for people. It is obvious that you cannot scripturally answer my articles in which I show the error of the PKs so you resort to sarcasm and false statements, i. e., you feigned gratitude for my exposing “every sin to mankind.” I am not sure exactly what you mean when you say that I expose “every sin to mankind” but since it was said in sarcasm, not truth, I will not try to figure it out. If you had accused me of exposing “every sin OF mankind”, I would have understood what you meant, though I would deny that I have that ability or knowledge.
By the way, My Friend, what is wrong with exposing sin? Since when is that a forbidden area for preachers and teachers of God’s word? You must agree with Robert Hicks in The Masculine Journey, a book published in connection with PKs. They distributed at least 50,000 copies of this heretical book.
Promise Keepers, in approving, helping publish, promoting, and freely distributing The Masculine Journey by Robert Hicks has endorsed the celebration of sin rather than the denunciation and exposure of sin. On page 177 Hicks writes, “I'm sure many would balk at my thought of celebrating the experience of sin. I'm not sure how we could do it. But I do know we need to do it. For example, we usually give the teenagers in our churches such a massive dose of condemnation regarding their first experiences with sin that I sometimes wonder how any of them ever recover. Maybe we could take a different approach. Instead of jumping all over them when they have their first experience with the police, or their first drunk, or their first experience with sex or drugs, we could look upon this as a teachable moment and a rite of passage. Is this putting a benediction on sin? Of course not, but perhaps at this point the true elders could come forward and confess their own adolescent sins and congratulate the next generation for being human. Then they could move on to the all-important issues of forgiveness and restoration, but this time on common ground, with the young person as a fellow sinner!”
“I'm sure many would balk at my thought of celebrating the experience of sin. I'm not sure how we could do it. But I do know we need to do it.”Celebrate sin? Hicks admits he does not know who we should celebrate sin but he says, “I do know we need to do it.”
My Friend, this is a concept that is totally contradictory to Scripture and deserves the condemnation of all true, discerning Christians. I see you have been thoroughly duped by these folks. You apparently think sin should be celebrated, not denounced. How do you interpret this Scripture? 1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. How did Paul instruct Timothy to handle the matter of sin? 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. Friend, you can celebrate sin with Robert Hicks and PKs if you wish. I believe it incumbent upon me to expose their heresy.
You wrote, “P.S. Personally I would have stoned that harlot, Mary Magdalene, wouldn't you?” As a matter of fact, the tone of your letter is such that I suspect that you would have stoned Jesus after he preached to the scribes and Pharisees as he did in the 23rd chapter of Matthew. He exposed sin, denounced sin, and asked how they could escape the damnation of hell.
By the way, where in Scripture is Mary Magdalene called a Harlot? The description I read in Scripture is rather different. I have just read every Scripture (eleven of them) that mentions Mary Magdalene and I cannot find one that calls her a harlot. I do find that Jesus had cast some demons out of her. Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. Did they tell you at PKs that Mary Magdalene was a harlot? Surely you are not suggesting that all demon possessed persons were harlots. I would certainly like to read the Scripture that calls her a harlot. Is this some of that pure and totally Scriptural doctrine you heard at the recent PKs meeting you attended? I look forward to hearing from you with the Scripture that calls Mary Magdalene a harlot.
You further wrote, “P.S.S. It's funny how you don't put names of the people that responded to your web-site, just the state. So I will not include mine!” I don’t know why you would find it funny that I don’t put names of those who write. There are two or more reasons why I do not do this. First, if they agree with what I write, I don’t want them to become the objects of the same anger that is thrown my way by some readers. Second, if they do not explicitly give me permission to use their name I would be very reluctant to do so and could not contact everyone to get permission. I have edited this paper since February, 1985, and this has been my practice from the beginning. Prior to that I had edited three other papers and a weekly church bulletin and I followed the same practice. At least 99% of those who write give me their names and addresses or e-mail addresses. Some, especially bold, macho PKs like you, are cowardly and refuse to give me their names.
You further wrote, “P.S.S.S. The same internet that you pay to use has pornography on it. Jack Hyles won't even use it. Why are you supporting pornography? (You may be a stumbling block!!) I'm sure you have a good reason. Since Jack Hyles is your earthly god why don't you follow his foot steps.
Friend, I do not support pornography. By the way, you use the same Internet I do to send e-mail. If I am a supporter of pornography, so are you. I buy gasoline and pay highway tax and dope, whiskey, and porn magazines are hauled down those highways which I help pay for. Do you drive? Do you pay taxes that are used to build highways over which whiskey, beer, porn magazines, and dope are hauled? I would not be surprised if some prostitutes ride over those same highways. Homosexuals probably do so also. Do you help pay for them a highway? Do you have a bank account. If you maintain any kind of balance in that bank, or have CDs or savings in that bank, your money may be loaned out to a homosexual to build a saloon with nude dancers and prostitutes.
By the way, what Jack Hyles does or does not do, does not make it right or wrong. And, your statement—“ Since Jack Hyles is your earthly god why don't you follow his foot steps.”—I must classify as utterly stupid. Where in the world did you get the silly notion that Jack Hyles is my earthly god. I have about as much respect for Jack Hyles as I have for PKs and Robert Hicks. Forgive my bluntness but your PKs’ love is sure showing itself in such false accusations as this one. In fact, when you say, “Since Jack Hyles is your earthly god why don't you follow his foot steps,” you utterly lie, willfully lie. I would not walk across the street to here him preach, much less worship him as an earthly god. I am amazed that you would make such a statement without one scintilla of evidence to support it. You PKs certainly do show great love for the truth!!!!!
Finally, you wrote, “P.S.S.S.S. I went to a PK event last weekend where 1,500 people came to know Christ in a Romans Road, KJV, repenting way, not one wrong doctrine cited. How many did your web-site lead to Christ last week?” You say that at this meeting 1,500 people came to know Christ. Did you count them? Note that you did not say, “About 1,500” or “Approximately 1,500.” And, how do you know they came to know Christ? And, you say that they “came to know Christ in a Romans Road, KJV, repenting way.” Need I remind you that Jesus is the way. You say, “Not one wrong doctrine cited.” Where in Scripture do you read that the way to know Christ is “in a Romans Road, KJV, repenting way.” By the way, when did PKs start using the KJV only? How does this set with their Roman Catholic board member? How does it set with their Roman Catholic founder? Are you sure they used only the KJV in their preaching and teaching? I only ask this because you said that those who allegedly “came to know Christ” did so “in a Romans Road, KJV, repenting way.” I see you make no mention of their believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Was faith involved?
Promise keepers takes no doctrinal stand. They call on folks to break down the walls of doctrine, abandon doctrine, ignore doctrine, and denounce any who would take a stand for biblical doctrinal distinctives. An organization that stands for nothing will fall for anything. That is why there is such a mixture of folks in that organization.
Your own letter above reflects your lack of any moorings of biblical doctrine. It is no wonder that you saw “not one wrong doctrine cited.”
Friend, I have been rather blunt and lengthy in this letter. I did that because your letter is so typical of the thinking of those who are duped, seduced, and deceived by PKs and other para-church organizations. I mean you no ill will but have real concern for your unsoundness and lack of spiritual perception.
I trust that I will hear from you with the Scripture that says that Mary Magdalene was a harlot. I also hope that you will send me Scripture that says that the way to come to know Christ is the “Romans Road, KJV, repenting way.” I wonder how men came to Christ before there was a KJV.
I pray that you will come to know the truth for the truth will make you free.
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