Avoiding Error

The most necessary prerequisite to avoiding error is being born again by faith in Jesus Christ through God’s glorious grace and belief in the gospel of our salvation.  Apart from salvation any person is operating under the deceit and delusion of the devil, the flesh and this fallen world system.  As unredeemed sinners we have a heart that is primed for the lies of our sinful flesh and the deception of Satan.

1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  Ephesians 2:1-3

 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.  John 8:44

Added to this is the necessity of believing that the Bible is the Word of God and judging everything by what God says in His Word. Still, however, even as God’s beloved children we are capable of being led into error through ignorance of the wiles of the enemy and lack of the knowledge of God’s Word.

Sanctify them by the truth, Your word is truth.  John 17:17

 16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4:4

12For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4:12-13

 Since we can be easily led astray we must make it our aim to know the Word of God intimately and thoroughly.  Greater knowledge of God’s Word must result in a deeper love and reliance upon our Savior Jesus Christ, since the purpose of the Scriptures is to reveal Christ to us.  As we rely upon Him, He will lead us and guide us into all truth, His Word, by the Spirit of Truth.  Here are a number of verses that God has given to us in His Word that we can know to help us stay away from error.

First, what are the characteristics of a false teacher?  What type of behavior should we watch out for so that we can avoid the deception of the enemy through his chosen vessels of deceit?  Let’s look at the blatant signals that someone is a false teacher and must be avoided.

3If 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,4he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5useless 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

 False teachers contradict God’s Word for monetary gain.  They reject godliness and instead insist on centering on beliefs that have nothing to do with the Bible.  Instead of having a humble attitude they are arrogant and reactive, operating in the flesh and espousing the doctrines of the flesh.  Avoid those who are flashy, prideful, ready to argue, and always asking for money.  Avoid those who appeal to the greedy sinful nature in order to steal your money and wreak havoc on your finances.  These are evil workers who do not know Jesus Christ or His truth the Bible, but they will use the Scriptures to manipulate people for their own selfish ends.  There are numerous false teachers just like this throughout the US.  Think of those preachers who promote the Name it and Claim it false doctrine, or the Health and Wealth False Gospel like Kenneth Copeland and Joel Osteen.

1But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having a form of godliness but deny it power.  And from such people turn away!  6For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  2 Timothy 3:1-7

 These false teachers are preaching to the choir, so their behavior doesn’t seem aberrant because it blends in so well with the lives of all around them.  God’s power does not reside in their lives nor can it because they are not saved.  They have turned from God of the Scriptures to a false god after their own making.  They take advantage of those around them who are also bereft of the truth and use them for their own pleasures and purposes.  We must turn away from “churches” that are characterized by the flesh and led by men, who bereft of the Holy Spirit, regularly blaspheme God and His Son, and teach all manner of impiety from the dais.  Many leaders of religious institutions fit this description especially within the liberal false mainline denominations.

10For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.  Titus 1:10-11

 1But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  2And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.  3By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.  2 Peter 2:1-3

 Many, many “teachers” exist who make things up in order to exploit others.  Their lies destructively lead others astray and bring reproach upon the way of truth so that the gospel of Jesus Christ is blasphemed.  They can do this by their godless behavior of cynical exploitation or they can do this by rejecting the truth of the Scriptures and teaching lies about Jesus Christ.  One such enterprise is the Jesus Seminar which attempts to deconstruct the Bible in order to find the “true, historical Jesus”.  Unfortunately, because of their so-called religious and educational credentials, many are willing to listen to them and so are deceived by Satan’s lies.  Their destruction is assured and we must turn away from these evil workers.  Notice the emphasis upon those who do this in order to line their pockets.  What makes these wicked workers think that they will get away with it?  Oh, they are deluded and deceived thinking that God does not notice and will not hold them accountable.  They are in for a rude awakening!  Not all false teachers are in it for the money, however.

14Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation-as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him has written to you, 16as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.  2 Peter 3:14-16

 There are those who mishandle the Word of God.  Their number is legion.  Attend most any “church” any Sunday and you will find preachers, elders, etc.,  who are not able to rightly divide the Word of God but are promoting some doctrine that has its origins in the hearts and minds of men who are led awry by the devil.  They teach incorrect doctrine about Christ, about salvation, about the Word of God, about God the Father, about the Holy Spirit, about end times, about many different themes from the Word of God.  God’s Word commands that we also turn away from those who pervert the Word of truth.

17Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.  18For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.  19For your obedience has become known to all.  Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.  20And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Amen. 

 Their false teaching is evil and promotes divisions and offenses, think Calvinism and Arminianism.  Neither doctrine is faithful to the Word of God; they both have led to untold abuses, divisions and offenses.  Notice again that greed is a motivation for the dissemination of false doctrine.  Think of how many untold numbers of books have been sold which promote one or the other of these false doctrines.  Those who support error lead the simple astray by their fair speeches and smooth tongues.

13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.  14And no wonder!  For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.  2 Corinthians 11:13-15

There are some false teachers who craftily appear so good, so righteous, so well meaning that the only way to uncover their deceit is to compare their behavior and teaching with the Word of God.  Ultimately, all false teachers contradict God’s Word about Jesus Christ and His gospel of salvation, but these sly men will say the right thing most of the time, but do it to gain an audience, and then they slip in their error.  Think Billy Graham, who loves to “preach the gospel” all the while denying the gospel by joining forces with those who are enemies of the gospel and turning salvation inquirers over to wolves.  He seems to teach what is true, but he denies the necessity of the new birth through conscious faith in Jesus Christ and has taught this false doctrine since the 1960’s.  Many, many false teachers are just like Billy Graham, having an appearance of acceptability all the while proffering what is deadly and damnable.

Finally there are those who promote irreligious claptrap that spreads abroad blasphemous ideas about our God, His Son and the truth.  The book The Shack is just such an empty worthless work that increases ignorance about God and His love for us rather than enlightening hearts and minds to God’s gracious goodness.    William Paul Young did not rightly divide the Word of truth, he instead obscured it through his irreverent foolishness.

15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  16But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.  17And their message will spread like cancer.  Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.  2 Timothy 2:15-18

Another author who comes to mind is Peter Kreeft, who being influenced by the ecumenical false teachings of C. S. Lewis, left his Protestant denomination for the Catholic Church and wrote the book Ecumenical Jihad.   In his book he states that many are in heaven who never believed in Jesus Christ such as Confucius, Buddha and Muhammad.   This false teaching lines up perfectly with what Lewis also believed that Buddhists who followed certain teachings of Christianity and belong to Christ even though they don’t know it.  This ecumenical false teaching is spreading like cancer and will bring in the end time apostate church.  We must turn away from these false teachers for our spiritual health and the spiritual well-being of others!

“There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it.  For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position.” (page 209, Mere Christianity)

False teachers can have an appearance of “righteousness” but they will deny the truth of the Scriptures in their false teaching.  They will do this for monetary gain, for personal aggrandizement, for acclaim, for respectability, for many sinful and selfish reasons.  False teachers are in it for themselves, and despise Jesus Christ, His gospel and His sheep.  Believers are merely there for their own sinful uses and benefit.  Let us be as noble and wise as the Bereans and study the Scriptures to make sure that the ones we listen to and what they are saying are in line with the truth of the Word of God.  If they don’t measure up, then we must obey God’s command and turn away from these evil workers.  God bless you:)

These were ore fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.  Acts 17:11

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28 Responses to Avoiding Error

  1. Duane says:

    Right on target. Excellent essay. We should all ask ourselves….why does a false teaching sit so well with the religious masses? Why doesn’t it bite and cut and wound and hack and kill false religiosity? I can tell you why….because it’s not God’s Gospel! It’s not the sharp, two-edged sword that pierces hearts and slashes through false religious ideologies. It doesn’t wound the consciences of hardened sinners and cause them to cry out in godly sorrow, “What must I do to be saved?” It doesn’t tear away the false foundations and strip away their false hopes, and so it leaves us building on a faulty foundation that’s not going to stand when the floods of God’s just judgment come against it. There’s no digging deep in plowing up the hardened ground by preaching the offense of the cross and calling for deep repentance, so there’s not a solid foundation laid that will endure to life everlasting. The result is that multitudes are trusting in a false “gospel” that pampers the flesh and are blindly walking down the wide road that leads to destruction.

    Your essay was a true teaching…..thank you.

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  2. Eliza says:

    Thank you for your biblically sound comment. God bless you:)

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  3. Sherry says:

    Today’s Christians are not exercising discernment as they ought. I heard one time that there are more Scriptures in the NT on exercising discernment than there are of practicing love. Keeping the Truth pure is just that important! It does no good to follow a false “Jesus.” We need to know God’s Word and pray for wisdom and discernment. If we truly have a heart to please God He will answer this prayer through His Holy Spirit. He desires to lead us into all truth.

    Just a bit of historical information about Hebrews 4:12-13: Christians in the days of the apostles and in the first century of the Church referred to the Word of God as The Word (not just The Way) and they meant Christ Jesus, not the Scriptures (which they knew to be the OT writings). You can see this phrase from 1 John 1 in many letters (Apologies) of the early Christians. Today, many read Hebrews 4:12 as meaning Scriptures but when you see the close relation verse 13 has with 12 you will see it meant to mean Jesus, the Christ.

    God bless you, Eliza~

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  4. Eliza says:

    Yes, Jesus Christ uses His Word to discern our hearts and minds. This can’t just reference the Scriptures themselves without the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul is warning against rejecting the gospel and returning back to Judaism and he makes the point that the gospel was also preached to the rebels in the desert, but they disobediently did not believe what God told them. Then he uses this example to warn the believing Jews, and all of us, that we are all accountable to God and His word is used to reveal to us our true intentions and our thoughts. The Word of God is all about Jesus Christ, and our response to the testimony His Word gives about His Son shows us where we stand with Him. This is why it is so vital that we believe what God has said in His Word and we turn away from the traditions and teachings of men that oppose what God has said in His holy Word. The lies of the enemy lead to distrust of and disobedience to God’s Word God bless you:)

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  8. I followed this link over from a comment by you in Pastor Joe Quatrone’s blog and am very grateful for it, thank you!
    Anthony Gomez

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  9. Eliza says:

    Thank you Anthony for reading and commenting. I am thankful to the Lord that this exhortation ministered to you. God bless you:)

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  10. skaynopoyos says:

    Dear friend, I have printed off your essay and will read it with the heart of a Berean (I hate reading on a computer). I rarely follow other people’s blogs but I will check yours out and thank you for your encouragement on my post:

    http://skaynopoyos.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/apostasy-profiling/

    By His great mercies may the Lord help us to finish well in these last times. In Jesus’ Name.

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  11. Eliza says:

    Thank you for visiting and for your great words of encouragement. God bless you:)

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  12. Eliza,

    I was disappointed when you listed Calvinism as error. A better way to speak about the doctrine of election believed by Calvinists, or Reformed Christians, is to say that it is the doctrine of sovereign grace taught by the Lord Himself and Paul. See especially the Gospel of John and Romans 9.

    John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    That said, it’s obvious that there are false teachers among those who claim to be Reformed Christians. You have only to hear clips of John MacArthur contradicting the Word of God by saying that, during the Tribulation period, you can take the Mark of the Beast and still repent and be saved. (MacArthur’s staffers defend his position at his website, though he has also said the opposite thing. Some who study his teaching are upset. I don’t enjoy his teaching because I don’t believe that the gifts have ceased, but that they have been mimicked and abused.)

    The point is that there are false teachers everywhere, and the horrible result is that we who have been born again – His children through repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ – are becoming suspicious of one another.

    As you said, we must continue in the Word of God, testing everything by it as good Bereans, and so prove to be His disciples as He said!

    John 8:31-32
    Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    Maria

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  13. Eliza says:

    Dear Beloved Maria,
    The reason I listed Calvin is because he incorporated much error that contradicts both God’s Word and the gospel. His stand for infant baptism as a means of God’s grace to the child contradicts God’s Word and adds works to the gospel of God’s grace. One of the excuses used by the proponents of infant baptism to rationalize this doctrine of man is that God doesn’t forbid it in His Word. I just read a really good rebuttal to infant baptism from a brother in the Lord who made the point that Jesus Christ was baptized as an adult to fulfill all righteousness, and baptism for the believer represents repentance from sin and our identification with the work that Jesus Christ has accomplished for us. This is something an infant could never do.

    Calvin taught limited atonement which is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. On the contrary, Christ’s atonement on the cross is for all mankind, especially for those who believe.

    9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach. 1 Timothy 4:9-11

    3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle-I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying -a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-7

    1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2

    9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

    The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is clearly taught throughout the Scriptures. However, this godly doctrine is perverted beyond its application so that sinners barely have to exercise faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ for salvation.

    21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnesses by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, 26 to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is the boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Romans 3:21-28

    Additionally, God’s sovereignty in salvation is substituted as being the gospel by many proponents of Calvinism. I have witnessed this at least twice from two different pulpits by pastors who followed Calvin. Whereas God’s Word clearly declares the gospel:

    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are save, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

    Finally, Calvin received these aberrant doctrines from Augustine who was a heretic. He is considered to be the father of the Catholic church. Much Catholic doctrine finds its derivation from Augustine. If we think about it, this makes sense. Calvin was out to reform the Catholic church and so retained those doctrines he found acceptable, especially those doctrines proffered by his hero, Augustine. He wasn’t willing to throw off the vain doctrines of man and fully embrace the doctrines of the Scriptures. This is why dear gentle iconoclast I included Calvin as one who taught and spread error that has had a deadly effect upon the church today.

    13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:13-20

    If the root of the tree is corrupt, the fruit will also be corrupt. Augustine, a heretic, influenced much of Christian religion for evil and we see this evil effect within the church today. One of the greatest evil effects being the ready acceptance of heretics as true followers of Christ. God bless you:)

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    • Dear Eliza,

      True! Infant baptism isn’t taught in God’s Word. And there, Calvin and others were and are wrong. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that believing in this is heresy, but error.

      About the Gospel – yes, right! Election isn’t the Gospel! As you’ve proved, the Gospel is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised again, and that He was seen of many.

      About designating people who have demonstrated true faith in Jesus Christ, and who lived centuries ago as heretics, I think this is unhelpful and wrong. They affirmed the truth – the Father and the Son, and the Gospel. And bore good fruit, particularly in obeying the Great Commission. Everywhere we see that Christians get one or more things wrong (such as, infant baptism). That’s part of the reason why it is so WRONG and dangerous to follow men. Paul rebuked the Corinthians for this, for saying, “I am of Apollos.” It’s a kind of party spirit – a work of the flesh, and so destructive and unholy. People are Calvin fanatics and Spurgeon fanatics, etc. It’s good to appreciate teachers God gave to His Church, but foolish to follow them. Who is our Savior? The Lord Jesus Christ!

      You’ve given many Scriptures to teach that the Lord is the Savior of all mankind. But what about the Scriptures that teach that we love because He first loved us, that He chose us? That we belonged to the Father Who gave us to Christ? That no man can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him? What about the example of election seen in Paul’s life? He wasn’t seeking the Lord and he didn’t make a decision to follow Him. Should we dismiss all the verses and this example? We can’t. So how do we understand these things? It can be unsettling. David said that he didn’t concern or occupy himself with matters too high for him – I often think about this. I believe we should preach the Gospel, seek the Lord with all our hearts, and ask Him to and wait for Him to explain all things to us someday. Our understanding is imperfect, and we should constantly be correcting it according to His Word. We can help one another to do that.

      Thank you for taking the time to respond at length, my sister – it was good for me to be reminded and exhorted and to examine things. I will pray and think.

      Maria

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  14. Eliza says:

    Dearest Maria,
    You are so gentle and kind in your response, and I greatly appreciate that. I do know that God is sovereign over all including salvation. I believe He chooses, calls and saves because it is taught in the Bible. Throughout the New Testament Scriptures saints are referred to as the elect. God’s chosen ones are also called the elect in the Old Testament.

    21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat: For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. Isaiah 65:21-22

    28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30

    God’s election to salvation does not abrogate His call to all mankind to repent and believe the gospel, nor does it relieve the called from the responsibility and duty to repent and believe the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Additionally, the fact of God’s election for salvation does not limit the atonement of Jesus Christ to just the elect. How this all works out, I don’t have to determine or prove, I am only called to believe and obey what God has said in His Word, the Bible.

    The problem with Calvinism is that man’s intellect is brought to bear upon the Scriptures so that false doctrines are then taught and embraced. Calvin leaned greatly upon Augustine, who has corrupted the church with his many false doctrines. Here is a link to the error that he taught. Here is a link to a post that I wrote about his influence. You will be able to see his vast influence upon myriads and myriads of those who would follow Jesus Christ but have been led away from the simplicity that is in Christ to man-made belief systems that overthrow the clarity of godly doctrine written for our edification in the Holy Bible. God bless you dear sister:)

    http://www.wayoflife.org/database/church_fathers_a_door_to_rome.html

    https://holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/the-grid-3/

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    • Dear Eliza,
      Because you insist on designating the doctrine of election (sovereign grace) as Calvinism, and those who hold and teach it as heretics and false teachers, I’ll answer. Though I do sense in you some understanding that it is true in some sense.
      I don’t call this doctrine by the name of any man. It’s simply a Bible doctrine. I don’t follow Calvin, and only agree with him when he’s Biblical (and I don’t follow Augustine), and he was wrong about infant baptism.
      Simplicity of devotion to Christ is a precious truth to me too, and I keep coming back to it. About being intellectually gifted – or approaching the Bible intellectually – we are to love the Lord with all of our minds. Simply because teachers are gifted intellectually doesn’t mean they’re wrong or proud, or lack simplicity of devotion. They’re only wrong when they contradict God’s Word. When they’re right they should use all their gifts to help others understand the truth.
      Whenever a doctrine is Biblical I believe it. (We worship in a fundamentalist independent Baptist church, but aren’t members because we can’t affirm its statement of faith in every particular; two of the particulars are the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in election and a pretribulation rapture.)
      I feel it’s wrong to slander men, who translated and studied and preached the Bible, and suffered in their age for Christ, by calling them heretics. This would make the martyrs of the Reformation heretics, Spurgeon too, and most of the missionaries who opened up new fields in the 18th and 19th centuries heretics. This doctrine gave them a zeal for missions because they knew the truth of these verses and it motivated them:
      “And this spake he [Caiphas] not of himself: but being high priest that year, he 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.” (John 11:51-52)
      All these Christians believed in election to life. So did the Valdois, the Waldensians. When the Reformation happened, these primitive Christians found brothers in Reformation believers, and were like-minded about this doctrine which they themselves had held from earliest times.
      Also, we Christians often err in nonessential doctrines but this doesn’t make us heretics.
      I answered you a little more on the “Grid” post, so we can finish here. You’re harsh in your condemnation of just men, but you seem to think this is zeal. Separate yourself to the Word of God – I must too – we all need to.
      Maria

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  15. Eliza says:

    Dear Maria,
    Tulip is not the doctrine of sovereign grace since it undermines the teaching of Scripture. Calvin came up with this doctrine based upon the teaching of Augustine, not the clear doctrine of Scripture. That is the point that I am making. I do believe the biblical doctrine of God’s sovereign call upon those He has chosen for salvation. I dispute limited atonement, equating the gospel with God’s sovereign grace in salvation, stating that the gospel is not freely and truly offered to all, and minimizing the need for repentant faith required of all who are saved. These doctrines, taught by many in the Reformed camp, attack the Word of God by contradicting what is clearly taught in the Scriptures, and therefore attack the gospel of our salvation.

    I have seen many in leadership within the Reformed movement who claim to love the Scriptures accept as genuine those who hold to false doctrine. I have tried to understand why this is the case. This search led me back to Augustine who greatly influenced, not only the Catholic church, but Calvin and Luther as well; he was a false teacher. Those who accept Augustine as a genuine believer show a gross lack of discernment. If they are willing to accept such a heretic as genuine then they will easily accept anybody who appeals to them. They are using the discernment of men rather than the discernment of the Scriptures. This is contrary to God’s Word and His will.

    God commands us to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Loving Him with our mind entails loving His Word and understanding it as the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. This does not mean using intellectual gymnastics to smother the Word of God with foreign doctrine. That is what Calvin did with his teaching on infant baptism. Read what he said in his work The Institutes of the Christian Religion. His reasoning is used to fill the void the absence of this doctrine in the Scriptures gives.

    The Reformers did not go far enough by throwing off all of the error taught by Augustine, which was embraced by Catholicism, and subsequently furthered by the work and doctrine of both Calvin and Luther. The doctrine of infant baptism has filled the rolls of protestant churches with those who think they are safe but are not saved. They are deceived and being led to hell. The reformation has since devolved into greater heresy with most protestant denominations rejecting the inerrancy of the Scriptures and embracing modernity, and then many are also returning to the Catholic church. The Presbyterian church USA endorses homosexuality and allows their pastors to marry homosexual couples. I believe this gross heresy didn’t just suddenly appear, it has its genesis in the incomplete rejection of error the Catholic church embraced.

    18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went our from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 1 John 2:18-21

    Are we really willing to hold fast to lies, when God’s Word says that no lie is of the truth?

    27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. 1 John 2:27

    Are we really willing to support those who taught blatant lies when God’s Word tells us that the anointing we received from Him teaches us the truth and there is no lie in it? Calvin relying upon Augustine for his doctrine rather than the anointing of God and His holy Scripture led to the lies that are part of Calvin’s doctrines. The same thing happened to Luther.

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    • Yes, you are right, Eliza – we have this anointing of God by His Spirit and this leads us! It is given to us – it is indispensable! This is true and I am more than grateful.
      What I believe about men of the past is this, that all men err to some extent. This is why we can’t follow them, though Paul did say to imitate him – and we should and can. It is as the Kings of Judah – their obedience was incomplete, for the most part, but they were commended by God, even when they didn’t destroy all the shrines, e.g. How could it be otherwise with faulty sinful humans? Yes, the Reformers didn’t go far enough in some important matters. However, just as there are people depending on their baptism, there are people depending on their decision to follow Christ, instead of on Christ Himself. So to reject all who went before, and though they tried their best to be faithful, failed – to dismiss them is to dismiss our own faulty selves.
      People I call heretics are people like Ignatius of Loyola, etc.; apostates: John Cardinal Henry Newman and Peter Kreeft.
      Now, we must just keep steady on, leaving this kind of talk behind to go on to know the Lord according to His Word by His Spirit’s anointing.
      I’ve never worshipped for long in a Reformed church, except for about two years. The denomination was Associate Reformed Presbyterian – isn’t it much much truer and nicer to say I am a Christian – I belong to Jesus Christ? We’ve also been in Christian Missionary Alliance churches and now Baptist (non-reformed). The acronym tulip didn’t originate with Calvin by the way. And the five points were codified in the following century at the Synod of Dort. And yes, there is a command and call to all people everywhere to repent. It bothers me when I hear others say that the Lord is inviting people, when He is commanding them – I know you’ll agree. How this works together with God’s forming of vessels for honor and dishonor is way beyond me. I just want to believe the Bible, not other people who can err.
      In His love,
      Maria

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      • Eliza says:

        Amen! That is what we must do, choose God’s Word instead of man’s word. That is the main point of this blog, encourage and exhort any and all with the Word of God. What I have to say is of little consequence, what matters is what God’s Word says.
        Seeing the error and apostasy that are rampant today, I can’t be quite as charitable as you with regard to error. I do know that Christ delivered me from error, and for that I am grateful. I also know that not everyone who is erring is lost; if they belong to Christ He will deliver them from falsehood and stand them strong and steady upon the rock of His Word. However, I can only determine whether or not someone is worth listening to by what they teach and by their fruit. If what they teach contradicts God’s Word and/or the fruit of what they teach is further apostasy then I am commanded by God to turn away from them. I must obey God rather than man. God bless you and thank you for expressing what you believe in a spirit of gentleness and respect.

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      • Eliza says:

        Dear Pastor Joe,
        I deal with correct teaching in a number of my posts. You are welcome to read them when you have the time and inclination. Since the gist of Scripture is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, resurrected, ascended to the right hand of the Father being glorified and interceding for His beloved saints and His coming again to judge this world in righteousness, then proper correct teaching should be focused on Jesus Christ, Who He is and what He has done, wouldn’t you agree? From this then emanates our understanding of other doctrine that is taught in the Bible. Our doctrine about Christ comes solely from the Scriptures, and them rightly divided by understanding what God has said through looking at the immediate context of the Scriptures and then the broader context of the whole of the Bible. Isn’t that what we are called to do as we rely upon the Holy Spirit to make His interpretation known to us as we rightly divide the word of truth? Since there is one interpretation of the Scriptures, not many, we can therefore know the truth as God intends for us to know it. I’m sure that you would agree. We mustn’t confuse the correct interpretation with the many applications that God Himself can give us for a particular text.

        26″Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:26-27

        44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 24:44-45

        23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. Acts 28:23

        1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Romans 1:1-4

        25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith- 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen Romans 16:25-27

        God bless you Pastor Joe:) Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I would like to know what you think about the posts where I share what is proper and correct teaching.

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  16. This is a good discussion.

    I don’t believe in the TULIP or Calvinism. However, there are some Scriptures which need reconciling in this, particularly those having to do with election. I don’t fully understand all of the finer points of election and I’ve studied it for hours and months upon end. Of course, some in the past have devoted their entire lives to this question and it remains unanswered so that all the Scripture is reconciled.

    I sometimes wonder if it is part of the “secret things” of Deuteronomy 29:29?

    I’ve noticed that one place the false teachers love to congregate is where Scripture–for whatever reason God has chosen–remains unreconciled. Half the false teachers will take up one side and the other half will take up the other–and then, instead of harmonizing the scriptures, they seek to divide the Body of Christ.

    However, in the times in which we live, I believe that strong preaching of Scripture is needed. The problem isn’t (as some in the media like to portray) that there are Christians who are preaching the Word too harshly. The problem is that there are few Christians preaching the Word AT ALL.

    God bless you both.

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  18. Eliza says:

    Thank you Jeremiah, you are right. When a particular doctrine of Scripture is elevated so that it dwarfs other Scripture in regards to a particular teaching then there is the distinct danger of error entering into the church. We must embrace all of the teaching of the Bible regarding any particular doctrine.
    God is sovereign is His election of sinners to salvation. He gives His call to all to repent of their sin and put their faith in Christ. We are saved when we personally repent of our sin and believe in the gospel of Christ. I believe what God says in His Word. God commands that we believe what He has said in His Word and that we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to sinners. God graciously calls and saves all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t have to reconcile His sovereign call to sinners with the sinner’s responsibility to repent and believe the gospel. We just need to believe and preach the Word of God and trust the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of sinners to bring them to repent of their sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ.

    23 “From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior-Jesus- 24 after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’ 26 “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent…. 48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:23-26 & 48

    It is horribly sad that division within the visible church impedes the progress of the gospel because men have elevated their human reasoning over and above the clear teaching of God’s Word. Even more disastrous are the many different false teachings that so many in leadership within the church pass off as the truth and they overthrow the faith of some and cause the way of truth to be blasphemed. We must rally to the Scriptures and take our stand upon the Bible. We must fight the good fight of faith and ever hold forth the Word of God to all. Praise God that He saves and secures those who are His own.

    To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20

    15 …and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:15-18
    God bless you:)
    Love in Christ,
    Eliza

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  19. anitameg says:

    This is a very good treatise on this subject. I spent 15 years in a church which preached a false gospel. Because they taught that nobody was allowed to question the elders, and kept their congregation under tight control with no outside influences allowed, people stopped reading their bibles altogether. When my husband and I left this church, we were at our wits’ end. We were spiritually shipwrecked. Yet rather than blame the elders of this church who surely were false shepherds, false brethren and false friends, we ended up searching our own hearts to see how it was we could have come to such a terrible place.

    We realised that what happened was that we put men up in the place of Christ quite literally, thinking that it was godly to obey those whom God had placed over us, not realising that it is not godly to obey the flesh either in ourselves or in others. We forsook our relationship with God and allowed these men to control our lives.

    I would add to the things to look out for any excessive flattery or ‘love bombing’ which will tell you that these people are only interested in enlarging their tents at your expense. It took about twelve months before the noose began to tighten and we realised we were in a trap. Yet even then we weren’t able to see the trap for what it was.

    Error goes hand in hand with deception, and deception is not just a work of the enemy but works alongside our fleshly lusts and desires. Just as Eve saw the fruit to be good to look at, taste, and to make one wise, we tend to think that we know better when it comes to what is good for us.

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  20. Eliza says:

    Praise God that He delivered you from that shipwreck with your faith intact! He is so good and merciful to us. I am saddened that you and your husband experienced such a trial of your faith at the hands of false teachers. I remember the first time I was ensnared by deceitful workers, it was literally the worst time of my life, and I have had some serious hardships. Praise God He delights to deliver His children from the snares of the enemy and raise us up upon our Rock His glorious Son Jesus Christ and His glorious Word the Bible. Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your deliverance from error to truth. God bless you:)

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  22. I hardly write remarks, but I read a few of the comments
    on Avoiding Error | holdingforthhisword. I do have 2 questions for you if you do not mind.
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