Category Archives: B. Biblical Doctrine of “Church”

The Meaning and Results of Apostasy, the Final Outcome of Gospel Preaching, the Social Gospel, Emphasis on the Word of God, the Three Directions of Liberal Preaching, the Only Solution to Racism and all the Problems of Mankind, How Men Become Brothers no Matter Their Color, the Only Way to Transform Mankind

Modifications of Non-Copyrighted Comments of Dr. J. Vernon McGee
Published August 22, 2017

In 2 Timothy, an ominous dark cloud is seen on the horizon. It is the coming apostasy. Today, apostasy has broken like a storm, like a Texas tornado, on the world and in the churches. Webster defines apostasy as “total desertion of the principles of faith.” So apostasy is not due to ignorance; which results in heresy. Apostasy is deliberate error. It is intentional departure from the faith. An apostate is one who knows the truth of the gospel and the doctrines of the faith, but he has repudiated them.

Paul in 2 Timothy speaks of the ultimate outcome of gospel preaching. The final fruition will not be the total conversion of mankind, nor will it usher in the millennium. On the contrary, there will come about an apostasy which will well-nigh blot out the faith from the earth. In fact, there are two departures that will occur at the end of the age: One is the departure from the faith. Luke 18:8  “… Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” This, in context demands a negative answer. The other is the departure of believers, those who are members of the family of God, which is what we call the “rapture.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”).

This view is not in keeping with the social gospel today which expects to transform the world by tinkering with the social system. Such vain optimists have no patience with the doleful words of 2 Timothy. The cold and hard facts of history and the events of the present hour demonstrate the accuracy of Paul. We are now in the midst of an apostasy which is cut to the pattern of Paul’s words in remarkable detail.

Most churches have entered the orbit of an awful apostasy. A remnant of New Testament churches are not affected. All members of the family of God are on their way to glory. I believe that many true believers attend apostate churches, not knowing enough about Bible principles to know of the apostasies of the churches they attend. For example, many believers attend corporate 501c3 churches without understanding that such status grieves our Lord who “loved the church and gave himself for it.” Pastors, leaders, “Christian” lawyers, etc. of such churches are either apostates (know the truth but depart from it) or do not know the truth and are therefore heretics.

Because of the threat of apostasy, Paul emphasizes the Word of God here more than he does in any other epistle. In fact, both Paul and Peter agree. Each of them in his “swan song” (2 Timothy and 2 Peter) emphasizes the Word of God and the Gospel.

My friend, the gospel rests upon a tremendous fact, and that fact is the total depravity of man. In other words, man is  a lost sinner. Someone has put it like this:

  • “Where education assumes that the moral nature of man is capable of improvement, traditional Christianity assumes that the moral nature of man is corrupt and absolutely bad. Where it is assumed in education that an outside human agent may be instrumental in the moral improvement of men, in traditional Christianity it is assumed that the agent is God, and even so, the moral nature of man is not improved but exchanged for a new one.

Man is in such a state that he cannot be saved by perfect obedience—because he cannot render it.  Neither can he be saved by imperfect obedience—because God will not accept it.

Therefore, the only solution is the gospel of the grace of God which reaches down and saves the sinner on the basis of the death and resurrection of Christ. Faith in Christ transforms human life. We have a showcase today all over this land of a relatively small number of men and women who have been transformed by the gospel of the grace of God.

Liberal preaching, instead of presenting the grace of God to sinful man, goes out in three different directions. From some liberal pulpits we hear what is really popular psychology. It majors in topics such as this: “How to Overcome” or “How to Think Creatively” or “How to Think Affirmatively or Positively,” or “How to Drive Your Life Purposely.” It says we are on the way upward and onward forever! That is popular psychology, and it is not getting anyone anywhere.

A second type of liberal preaching involves ethics. It preaches a nice little sweet gospel—a sermonette preached by a preacherette to Christianettes. The message goes something like this: “Good is better than evil because it’s nicer and gets you into less trouble.” The picture of the average liberal church is that of a mild-mannered man standing before a group of mild-mannered people, and urging them to be more mild-mannered! There’s nothing quite as insipid as that. No wonder the Lord Jesus said to the church of Laodicea: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor how, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3.15, 16). That would make anybody sick to his tummy. That’s another reason I call these people Alka-Seltzer Christians. They’re not only fizz, foam, and groth, but they cause you to need an Alka-Seltzer.

Then there is the third type of liberal preaching which is called the social gospel. They preach better race relations, pacifism, social justice, the Christian social order, and union of church and state (church and state working with, over or under the other; church incorporation and 501c3 are two of many manifestations of this relationship). It is Christian socialism pure and simple.

In contrast, when the true gospel is preached and men come to Christ, they all become brothers. We don’t need all this talk about better race relations. You cannot create better relationships by forcing people together. Only the gospel of the grace of God will make a man into a brother of mine. When that happens, the color of a man’s skin makes no difference at all.

The solution of man’s problems can come only through the grace of God. We need to recognize that God creates out of nothing. Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing of him. The grace of God through Jesus Christ is the way to transform and save mankind. That is what 2 Timothy teaches, and that is why it is important to study 2 Timothy.

Click here to go to God’s Plan of Salvation.

For a Bible study of 2 Timothy, click here.

The Local Church: A Building or What?

Is this a church?
Is this a church?

Many call the building they meet in a “church.” According to the Bible, is that building really a church? Or is the church something else according to the word of God? What is a church? Read the Scriptures cited below then listen to the study which is partially quoted and linked to below for some answers.

Ephesians 2:19-22 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 11.3 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Hebrews 9:1-15:  “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.  For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.  And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

Thus, one can see that God does not dwell in a building and never has. He did not dwell in the Temple. See, e.g., 1 Kings 8.27. Today, the Holy Spirit dwells in believers. When they come together, they are a church (an assembly) who form a spiritual organism. See 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. When they leave the building, if indeed they are meeting in a building, when they turn off the lights and go home, the Holy Spirit (God) is not in that building and the church is no longer in that building. If they meet under a bridge, the church is under that bridge while they meet there. If none of those who come together are born again believers, baptized into that church, then they are not a Bible church since the Holy Spirit indwells none of them.

Some excerpts from a radio teaching by Dr. J. Vernon McGee on 1 Kings 5 (the complete teaching is linked to at the end):

“Man has been a builder from the beginning. In Genesis 4.17 we are told that Can “builded a city and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.” The face of the earth is scarred by great mounds that hide the ruins of great cities and splendid buildings of the past. The spade of the Archaeologist has penetrated into the depths, and you can judge each civilization by the height of the buildings. There are those who say that the cave men of the Stone Age (if they ever existed) were barbarians and uncivilized. They were not builders but sought refuge in caves. The Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans are all counted as civilized, and it is evidenced in their architecture. Modern man claims a high degree of culture because he has built subdivisions and shopping centers, apartment buildings, and tall office buildings. Today man is building his own cave in which to live and work—like a gopher. The rest of the time he crawls on the freeway like a worm. As long as he can push a button and turn a switch, he says he is living. That is modern man.

“The first buildings of impressive design were the temples. All pagan peoples had temples. Some temples were crude; others, such as the Parthenon in Greece, were the highest expression of beauty. All of this building stems from the Tower of Babel, which was a monument to man’s gargantuan resistance to God. Pagan temples have always been the highest architectural expression, but the pagans who have attended, both civilized and uncivilized, have been on the lowest spiritual level. These temples have been elaborate, large, ornate, rich, and impressive. The temples of the kings on the River Nile, Asshur of Ninevah, Marduk of Babylon, the ziggurats in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, Baal of the Phoenicians, Athena of the Greeks, and in Athens the Parthenon, Jupiter of the Romans, the Aztec temples of Mexico—all of them are manifestations of rebellion against God.

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). What did they do? They built temples, changing “the glory of uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1.23). Each made a house for his god to live in. They put their gods in a box like a jack-in-the box.

“The temple Solomon built was never considered in Scripture as a house in which God would live….

“The temple was complicated. The simplicity of the tabernacle was lost…. There is an application for us. We are living in a day when the emphasis in put on methods rather than on the word of God. The church is filled with new programs and new methods.

“When I first began my ministry I pastored a little white church on a red clay hill in Georgia, surrounded by a cotton patch….

“The second thing to notice about the Temple was that Solomon made little windows of narrow lights. There had been no windows in the tabernacle. … The people no longer depended upon divine light as they had in the tabernacle….

“ … The temple was more ornate and gaudy than the tabernacle, and there was more ceremony and ritual connected to it.

“Notice how complicated the temple is in comparison to the tabernacle. …”

For the full study go to the Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s teaching on 1 Kings 5 by clicking here.

For more on the misconception of the meaning of church, see “Sustaining Property Tax,” an article by Winnie Varghese which shows her complete misunderstanding of the meaning of “church.” Her type of church is a place of pagan worship.

For a more thorough study, see The Biblical Doctrine of the Church.

END

 

Expose And Reject The Teachings and Methods of Church Organization Con-Artists and Charlatans

Jerald Finney
May, 2016

This article concerns those who falsely claim legal expertise in the area of church/state relations and ends with Bible justification for standing against forces of darkness which invade the arena of church organization in America.

A remnant of believers in America seek to do all things the Bible way, God’s way. One perplexing and somewhat complex matter for those believers concerns the organization of a New Testament church. Believers who study and believe the New Testament quickly come across passages which make clear that Christ wants his churches to be under Him only. Some of those believers, including some of God’s good pastors, seek help in organizing churches. Tragically, many come in contact with and rely on charismatic pseudo-Biblical/legal experts.

Truly, a believer must be well-studied in both the relevant Bible and legal principles in order to intelligently and correctly organize a church such that she remains under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ (Scripture) only. Knowing the Bible without true legal competence is a recipe for disaster. For example, the Ecclesiastical Law Center alleges Bible as opposed to legal solutions to church organization, but due to legal incompetence organizes churches legally, not Scripturally.

Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies often stated that he wanted to be a brain surgeon. Some pastors are wannabe “lawyers,” some even going so far as to claim lawyer status even though they never produce any reliable proof of such and even though a diligent examination of their attempts to keep churches under the authority of God and the Scriptures only belie their claim. Of course, few if any believers have the time to check out what they are told about such matters and many follow people who are skilled “Christian” con-artists and charlatans. Most get to liking and even loving their misguided mentors and many lash out at anyone who would try to discredit them. It is hard to confront uncomfortable or damnable truths about those one loves.

Complicating the matter is the fact that many “Christian” lawyers either prove to be incompetent or are trained in the law but not studied in the Bible. Their standard for all matters in faith and practice is not the Bible. Their authority for all matters is the law. As they amass their earthly fortunes, they teach and apply legal, not Bible, principles. For example, David Gibbs relies on the Internal Revenue Service, not the Bible, definition of “church,” and instructs churches to become legal, not spiritual or New Testament entities. These spiritual/legal con-artists, while deceiving and being followed by multitudes, also cause some to distrust all lawyers without further examination.

For years, this lawyer shied away from confronting false teachers. For example, he knew for many years that the Ecclesiastical Law Center (“ELC”) was not qualified to deal with church and state matters even though they falsely claim to have “Bible” as opposed to “legal” solutions to church organization. His attitude was that it is up to believers seeking help to sort out and apply good versus bad advice; and, additionally, he did not wish to attack the ELC because he knew and liked one of their leaders who spoke at his church on the subject of church organization several years before he delved into an extended study of Bible (first), and historical (second), principles and methods of church organization. After completing that study, he studied law to assure that he correctly navigated around the legal landscape in a manner which did not inadvertently result in organization of a church as a legal, as opposed to spiritual only, entity.

However, after coming in contact with many of good men of God who were deceived and who parroted the ridiculous rhetoric, the false teachings, and the foolish and unlearned questions of the ELC and after witnessing relentless and untrue ELC attacks against others over a period of years, this author finally took the time to do an examination of the ELC and their teachings. The result was an online booklet, Ecclesiastical Law Center Exposed.

The corporation sole and Internal Revenue Code § 508 method of church organization is another scam used by skilled but unethical charlatans to deceive the unwary. Critique of “Church Freedom and the Corporation Sole” Website exposes that fraudulent deception.

So far the message of this article to believers and churches seeking help in organizing New Testament churches is, “Beware of false teachers and unskilled pseudo-lawyers.” Do your homework. Look at qualifications and testimonies. Seek truth and apply it, even if you must confront false methods and teachings of others you love. Base all conclusions on Bible precepts and verifiable facts.

Now to the question, “Why is this article justified, under God?” What is the Bible basis for exposing deceivers? As soldiers of the Lord, one is to contend against the forces of darkness, to fight the good spiritual fight of faith. Only a few of many verses which support this conclusion are quoted:

Speaking of deceptions within the churches, Jude wrote: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” Jude 3-4, 8.

Ep.6.10-12As to Christ’s relationship with his churches, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27. Speaking to the church at Corinth, he said: “For I am jealous over you  with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2-3.

Fight the good fight. Keep the faith. Expose false methods and teaching in all matters, including the preeminent  area of church organization. Make sure you get it right. Is not the Lamb of God worthy of your diligence efforts to keep his body pure and undefiled?

The Coming Universal Church Will Reign with the Lord


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 19, 2012


Click here to go to “Self-exam Questions: The Coming Universal Church Will Reign with the Lord

Click here to listen to and/or download Jerald Finney’s audio teaching on “The church will reign with the Lord. Note that this audio teaching was significantly revised by this revised article on January 29,2013.


The Biblical Doctrine of the Church has links to the audio teaching of Jerald Finney on this and other subjects related to the doctrine of the church.


Note. This is a significantly revised version of Section II, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. 


The Coming Universal Church Will Reign with the Lord

6Several so-called universal “churches” were instituted and built by those who did not honor the word of God. Those “churches” killed untold millions of what they deem to be heretics (many of whom were born-again believers who refused to bow down to the false religion-state) while leading multitudes to hell since the initiation of the first such “church” in the early fourth century. Nonetheless, true believers in Christ, even in martyrdom, have always rejoiced in exceeding gladness. They will become members of the universal visible church which will be established at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

1As explained in the last article, no universal church exists on earth. Rather, unbiblical “ universal” religious organizations were organized by the god of this world: first the Catholic “church,” then the Protestant “churches,” and many religious offshoots from biblical heresies and apostasies. Due to a lack of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, some believers join or continue alongside the lost members of those organizations. Those believers are out of order. God’s desire is for them to seek out a local, autonomous, New Testament Church—i.e., a church which orders herself according to the principles of the New Testament. Only in such churches is the service of God in biblical order; and properly ordered New Testament churches have continuously existed since Jesus Christ ordained the institution of the church. Jesus said to Peter, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18).

In spite of the steady movement toward the foretold end time political and religious Babylon, true Christians have the ultimate hope: they will reign with the Lord. This should be a cause for great rejoicing as well as incentive to be responsible members of the body of Christ, to make sure that every effort is made to glorify God, and  to assure that the individual, his family and the church he is a member of remains totally under Christ in every way.

The Holy Spirit is now calling out, not the subjects, but the co-heirs and co-rulers of the kingdom:

  • Mt5.10-122 Ti. 2.11-12: “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us;”
  • Re. 1.6: “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen;”
  • Re. 3.21: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne;”
  • Re. 5.10: “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth;”
  • Ro. 8.15-18: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us;”
  • 1 Co. 6.2-3: “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”

3“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Mt. 5.10-12).

“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (He. 12:22-24).

Apostasy at the End of the Church Age

Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 19, 2012

Click here to go to “Self-exam Questions: Apostasy at the End of the Church Age”

Click here to download and listen to Jerald Finney’s audio teaching on the “Apostasy at the end of the church age.”

The Biblical Doctrine of the Church has links to the audio teaching of Jerald Finney on this and other subjects related to the doctrine of the church.

Note. This is a modified version of Section II, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. 

Re.3.16

The Lord says to the church of the Laodiceans, at the end of the church age and at the final stage of the apostasy:

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Re. 3.15-19).

Many pastors believe that the saved will go to heaven but be without rewards should they not follow after Christ after salvation. Pastor Joey Faust states the following concerning the church at Laodicea:

“To fall from, one has to be in something first. I believe Laodicea is a church made up of TRUE (thus real) Christians, who nevertheless have fallen away from truth and fellowship with Jesus in their materialism, pride, etc. This church and its pastor (and all true churches in the last days who are Laodicean) will lose the right to reign and fellowship with Jesus when He appears—thus the Lord’s command to be zealous and repent” (See J.D. Faust, The Rod: Will God Spare It? (Hanesville, N.C.: Schoettle Publishing Co., Inc. 2002))!

Whether one agrees with Pastor Faust or not concerning this issue, the Bible shows that at the end of the church age, the Lord will be outside the Laodicean church (Re. 3.20). Nonetheless, He will still be there for the individual, just as He, while on earth as the second Adam, still appealed to the individual after the nation Israel rejected His rule over the nation: “If any man will hear my voice, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Ibid.).

UnionOfChurchAndStateThe final result of the apostasy will be the great ecclesiastical harlot spoken of in Revelation 17 and 18. In Revelation 17 is mystery Babylon, the apostate church (J. Vernon McGee, Revelation, Volume 1, p. 89). Dr. McGee states:

“… The church of Thyatira, described in Revelation 2.18-29, which permitted Jezebel to teach, will become the apostate church of the great tribulation. It will attain the goal of the present-day apostates of all the great systems of the world: Romanism, Protestantism, pagan religions, cults and isms. Even in our so-called independent Bible churches there will be those who are not believers, and during the tribulation they will join this great organization that may call itself a church but is not. The Bible calls it a harlot….  This is ecumenical ecclesiasticism of the one-world church….”

True believers will not go through the God’s wrath; they will be raptured out before the wrath of God begins. Keep in mind that tribulation is not the wrath of God. Professing believers who are not saved will be left here on this earth when authentic Christians are raptured. As Dr. George Gill used to say, some churches will meet the Sunday after the rapture and will not miss a member…. They are churches in earthly name only.  They are harlots. The last so-called church is a pseudo-religious system, which is hated by the political beast. The Beast will destroy the harlot in order to set up his own religion.”

1

True believers will be glorified (Mt. 13.36-43; Ro. 8.18-23). The Lord will rapture the dead in Christ: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Th. 4.16-17).

Universal Church Heresy
Universal Church Heresy

I believe Dr. McGee, C.I. Scofield, and many others—including many fundamental “Baptists” who should know better and would know better if they studied the Bible and their history on the issue–are wrong in their understanding of a “true or universal church.” See “C.I. Scofield’s ‘True Church’ Doctrine”. True believers, according to many Bible students and scholars, will not go through the great tribulation, but will not experience the wrath of God which follows. Some believers make a good argument for a mid-tribulation rapture and many for a post-tribulation rapture. Regardless, the Bible never mentions a “true church” or a “universal church.” “A church” or “the church” is mentioned. However, to go from there to a “true church” or a “universal church” prior to the marriage supper of the Lamb is a leap unsupported by Scripture. Only in the heavenly Jerusalem will a general assembly (what could be called a universal church) come into existence. The “true church” or “universal church” doctrine is responsible for totally disordered churches (which includes most fundamental and fundamental Baptist churches), many of whose doctrines are totally off-base according to biblical church doctrine.

rapturesThe author challenges anyone to take the Bible and prove him wrong; he believes that it cannot be done; but if he can be shown that Bible truth proves him wrong, he will repent publically and adjust his teachings accordingly. The author has been proven to be open minded. He has come to his conclusions based upon many years of study of the Bible, the only source which can give the correct answer. He had to abandon much of what he had been taught over twenty-five years of faithful church membership and attendance. Of course, over that period he had not been taught much, because most pastors do not get into the deeper things of God (such as the doctrine of the church, the doctrine of government, the doctrine of separation of church and state, etc.) with the church bodies they are entrusted with. As one pastor who will go unnamed said,” I don’t do that because many of the members of ____ Church would not bear it.” Most pastors learn their doctrine of the church from Bible College of from other Fundamentalists who have bought the traditional anti-scriptural teachings on this matter.

This alleged “true church” doctrine was used to justify the Protestant and Catholic doctrines of universal visible and universal invisible church. This in turn was a basis for the doctrine of union of church and state, the doctrine of sacraments, and will be used by the great spiritual harlot to establish spiritual Babylon in the end times. Of course, this was never an historical Baptist doctrine because it is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. Many or most so-called Baptists in America today have betrayed their roots and many biblical doctrines to one degree or another. Most are nothing more than Protestants and many fall so far that they are nothing more than “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Ecclesiastical Babylon (apostate Christendom, the harlot whom many biblical scholars logically conclude will be headed up under the Papacy and which will at that time condone every iniquity of the rich and will be corrupted to the core by commercialism, wealth, and luxury; the “universal church on earth”) will be destroyed by political Babylon, that is by the nations; and political Babylon, the nations, will be crushed by Christ when they come against Israel at the end of the tribulation (See Re. 17.15-18). All this will happen because men choose to succumb to Satan’s principles in order to satisfy their lusts.

13

Jesus proclaimed, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He was speaking of the institution of the church which was to be made up of local, autonomous, spiritual bodies. Paul, in his epistles laid out the doctrine of the church. The only “churches” one sees in the Bible on earth until the marriage supper of the lamb, are local, autonomous spiritual bodies. One can refer to the other chapters in this section on the biblical doctrine of the church for much more information on this matter.

There will one day be a “universal church.” “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (He. 12:22-23). That church will come into existence at the marriage of the Lamb: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Re. 19:7-8). “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” (Re. 21:9-10).

bridewaitingUntil the universal church is established by Jesus Christ, we should listen to Jesus and Paul on this matter. Jesus said, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish…. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” (Ep. 5:25-27, 30). Paul wrote, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Co. 11:2).

 

Heresy and Apostasy


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 19, 2012


Click here to go to “Self-Exam Questions: Heresy and Apostasy”


 Note. This is a modified version of Section II, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application.


Heresy and Apostasy

2Th2.3Prior to the return of the Lord, the visible churches, except for a remnant, will go into apostasy. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2.3-4).

1“Apostasy, ‘falling away,’ is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth (1) as to the deity of Jesus Christ, and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice (1 John 4.1-3 [‘Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.’]; Phil. 3.18 [‘For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:”]; 2 Pet. 2.1 [“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.’]). Apostasy truthdiffers therefore from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance (Acts 19.1-6 [‘And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake 7with tongues, and prophesied.’]), or heresy, which may be due to the snare of Satan (2 Tim. 2.25, 26 [‘In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.’]), both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in 2 Tim. 4.3, 4 [‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away theirears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.’]. Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity (2 Tim. 3.5 [‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.’]). Apostate teachers are described in 2 Tim. 4.3 [“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.]; 2 Pet. 2.1-19 [quoted here in part: ‘But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: … But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; …  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; ….These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live Balaamin error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.’]; Jude 4, 8, 11-13, 16 [‘For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…. Likewise also thesefilthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the Judgment3error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.’].  Apostasy in the church, as in Israel (Isa. 1.5, 6; 5.5-7), is irremediable, and awaits judgment (2 Thes. 2.10-12 [‘And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’]; 2 Pet. 2.17, 21 [‘These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever…. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.’]; Jude 11-15; Rev. 3.14-16)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to 2 Ti. 3.1, p. 1280). [Bold emphasis mine].

Inevitably, there is no remedy for apostasy but judgment. (Is. 1.2-7, 24, 25; He. 6.4-8; 10.26-31. For example, Noah preached for 120 years, won no converts, and the judgment predicted by his great-grandfather fell (Jude 14, 15; Ge. 7.11)).

Lk.18.8b“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Lu. 18.8b)?  The reference is not to personal faith, but to belief in the whole body of revealed truth (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to Lu. 18.8, p. 1101; see, e.g., Ro. 1.5; 1 Co. 16.13; 2 Co. 13.5; Col. 1.23, 2.7; Tit. 1.13; Jude 3). “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Ti. 4.1).

Ga.1.8-9In the New Testament, the apostasy was treated as having already set in. In fact, the Asian churches had not disbanded, nor ceased to call themselves Christian; but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul. Thus, even in the beginning of the church, the apostle Paul and Jude were concerned with the tendency to depart from the faith due to the influence of false teachers:

  • “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you; and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.6-8).
  • “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

Many of our churches today, even many of our independent Bible believing churches, have perverted the gospel of Christ and turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness (“Looseness; irregular indulgence of animal desires; wantonness; lustfulness; Tendency to excite lust, and promote irregular indulgences” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828) definition of “LASCIVIOUSNESS.”). even though perhaps they have not verbally denied our Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

19Gentile world apostasy comes in seven stages:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Ro. 1.21-23).

As a result of this worldwide Gentile apostasy, mankind sinks to the depths of depravity:

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents. Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them”  (Ro. 1.24-32).

Pope20The apostasy is usually introduced by ungodly men who will “wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Ti. 3.13).  Our Lord warned against false teachers:

  • “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt. 7.15).
  • “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt. 7.21-23).
  • “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.4-5).
  • “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.11).
  • “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13.22).
  • “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5.19).
  • “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mt. 15.9).

The Lord is obviously warning that many of His children will be deceived by the many false prophets which shall arise. With heresy and apostasy, the God-given doctrines and goal for churches and for Christians are left in the dust. The goal or purpose of most churches and “Christians” is the happiness of man and not the glory of God. They ask “What can God do for me,” not “What can I do for God?” Their purpose for giving, for doing, and for going to church is to get something back from God. Many believers today, many in allegedly independent Bible believing churches, are being deceived about many biblical doctrines, including the doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state. As a result, they are, among other things, incorporating, operating as unincorporated associations, and becoming 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations. Section VI of God Betrayed (PDFonline version) and Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches—Spiritual or Legal Entities (PDFonline version) discuss incorporation and tax exempt status of churches in some detail, and will explain ways that a church can hold property and also please God.

As a result, God is not glorified at all. Everything in the ultimate modern American church is for self—the headship, the “Bibles,” the doctrines taught, the preaching, the music, the dress, the goal, everything.

5Peter, Paul, and Jude traced the origin of apostasy to false teachers, explained their methods of operation, and warned the churches to beware of the apostasy:

  • “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing he flock: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Ac. 20.28-31).
  • “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.8-9).
  • “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you” (Ga. 3.1)?
  • “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Co. 11.19).
  • “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Co. 11.4).
  • “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision; Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1.10-11).
  • “Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Ti. 4.1-2).
  • “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Ti. 4.3-5).
  • “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not….  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage” (2 Pe. 2.1-3, 15-19. All of 2 Pe. 2 deals with false teachers.).
  • “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11).
  • “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pe. 3.3-4).
  • “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4. Jude predicts the apostasy of the professing churches and describes the cause and course of the apostasy. As in II Timothy and II Peter, the apostasy is treated as having already set in.).

LeavenOnly a little leaven can completely change and pervert the truth of the Gospel: “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Ga. 5.7-9).

False teachers deny redemption truth: “[False teachers] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pe. 2.1).  Others deny the truth concerning Christ’s person as Son of God, God himself.

“BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them” (1 Jn. 4.1-5; See also, 1 Jn. 2.18-28).

In Jude all phases of apostasy are seen. Jude mentions those who “ran after the error of Balaam for reward.” Many pastors and other Christians today, like Balaam, revert to human reasoning and, among other unbiblical practices, put God’s church under the state for reward—that is, for money, for popularity, or power. They may not have gone completely into apostasy, but heresy is the first step toward apostasy.

The tone of the New Testament writers when dealing with heresy and apostasy is never one of dejection or pessimism. God & His promises are still the resource of the believer. Although Paul as recorded in II Timothy and Peter as recorded in II Peter are aware that martyrdom is near (See 2 Ti. 4.6-8, 2 Pe. 1.14, and Jn. 21.18-19), both are apparently sustained and joyful: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finishedmy course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Ti. 4.7-8). The whole book of II Timothy reflects Paul’s joyful attitude as II Peter shows Peter to be likewise joyful and sustained.

1II Timothy, II Peter, Jude, and II & III John deal the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension. For example, Paul instructs the “good soldier” in the face of apostasy:

“[B]e strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier….  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: …  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: If we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself….  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And 2Ti.4.1-2their word will eat as doth a canker: …  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Ti. 2.1-4, 8, 11-13, 15-17a, 22-25).

Paul instructed Timothy, a preacher whom Paul called his “dearly beloved son (2 Ti. 1.2)” and his “own son in the faith” (1 Ti. 1.2).

“Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of the evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Ti. 4.2-5).

“The believer’s resources in a day of general declension and apostasy  are faith (2 Ti. 1.5), the spirit (2 Ti. 1.6-7), the Word of God (2 Ti. 1.13; 3.1-17; 4.3-4), the grace of Christ (2 Ti. 2.1), separation from vessels unto dishonor (2 Ti. 2.4, 20-21), the Lord’s sure reward (2 Ti. 4.7-8), and the Lord’s faithfulness and power (2 Ti. 2.13, 19)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to 2 Ti. 1.12, p. 1279).

 

Book Review: Outcome-Based Religion: Purpose, Apostasy, & the New Paradigm Church

Book Review:
Outcome-Based Religion: Purpose, Apostasy, & the New Paradigm Church
by Mac Dominick,
Cutting Edge Ministries, 2005

Jerald Finney
Copyright © March 28, 2011

Outcome Based Religion

Sometimes being honest with oneself is so difficult that even a believer will not face fact and admit that he has been wrong and sinned. Even if his sin was out of ignorance and even if he was following the leadership of others within the “Christian community,” his response in the event that he discovers his sin, according to our Lord, should be one of contrite repentance. That was and is my situation as to, among other things, my religious-political actions for over a twenty year period. In the late 1990s I began to see that the political work of me and millions of other “moral conservatives” had been counterproductive. Since we had neither proceeded according to knowledge nor followed God’s guidelines as laid out in His Word, our efforts have resulted in negative consequences for people, families, churches, and the nation. In fact, many families and individuals along with churches and the nation, have slid down the drain pipe into a moral cesspool. Far fewer people are being saved, and those who are usually end up in compromising churches who are either afraid to preach the whole counsel of God or have completely abandoned Bible preaching. Many men and women conduct their lives in accordance with Satan’s principles of sexual lust, ambition, greed, and/or selfishness. Biblical principles for family are honored by only a small remnant. Apostasy is running rampant. Dr. Bob Jones accurately observed: “the culture was not saved, the converts of the Super-aggressive churches disappeared, promises were not kept, and the majority became very disillusioned.’ As a result, many newly disenfranchised former Fundamentalists were ripe for the picking.” (All quotations are from the book, Outcome-Based Religion). Well-meaning believing activists have contributed to the religious, moral, and political decline of America. En1 (Statement of repentance).

Outcome-Based Religion, studied in conjunction with God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application, En1 (Information on previewing and/or ordering God Betrayed and Outcome-Based Religion) explains in detail why and how this happened. Studying these books will afford a born-again believer the facts, history, and biblical analysis he needs to understand why, in general, churches in America are apostate and America is now morally awful and politically tyrannical. My studies, experiences, and observations confirm much of what is written in Outcome-Based Religion. Additionally, the book includes insights and information that I never discovered and/or considered.

Outcome-Based Religion answers many questions including the following: “Why have none of the goals of the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition been met? What is the real impact of these conservative Christians upon American politics? Better yet, how has the Religious Right political machine impacted modern culture? Exactly what has been accomplished from 22 years of effort to ‘change America?’ Why have the well-funded Dominionists not transformed our Constitutional Republic into their ‘heaven-on-earth’ theocracy? Would the reaction to the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States result in a national religious revival, transform the culture, and result in the establishment of Robertson’s theocracy?”

Interwoven throughout the book is the theme of separation. Mr. Dominick correctly points out the two strategies for countering Satan’s attack on the true church: (1) Remain in the body and attempt to reform the body by exposing the error (as in the Protestant Reformation). (2) Separate. “Charles Spurgeon said:

‘Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it. It is our solemn conviction that where there can be no real spiritual communion there should be no pretense of fellowship. Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin. As soon as I saw, or thought I saw, that error had become firmly established, I did not deliberate, but quitted the body at once.  Since then my counsel has been, ‘Come out from among them.’ I felt that no protest could be equal to that of distinct separation from known evil. That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear from those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them.  Cost what it may to separate ourselves from those who separate themselves from the truth of God is not alone our liberty, but our duty.’”

Men, even saved men, have a hard time digesting the fact that “When engaging in God’s work, the end never justifies the means. Put simply, God’s work is to be performed God’s way.” “Furthermore, the ‘end justifies the means’ mindset is the certain path to a deepening apostasy. Once Scripture is ignored in one area, another departure will soon follow. The ‘snowball effect’ evidenced by history then leads one religious body after another from small compromises into a complete departure from the truth. This creeping departure is very subtle, and one must look at history and understand the battle for a pure, true church in order to combat apostasy’s deceptive nature.”

“The first six chapters of Outcome-Based Religion detail the movement of conservative Christianity in a steady slide to the left. No sooner had the quest for the truth gained momentum than another attack sought to strike at the heart of biblical truth. These attacks manifest themselves when the church loses the focus of its true mission, and digresses into areas outside of the commands and precepts of Scripture. The true mission of the church is the edification of the saints, reaching the lost for Christ, and to subsequently nurture those converts to spiritual maturity. As to the strategy of many fundamental churches starting in the 1950s, ‘the tragic results [was the production of] an entire generation of born-again individuals whose impact for the cause of Christ was virtually nullified due to the lack of Christian growth and maturity that comes only from sound biblical teaching, true Christian fellowship, and the expository preaching of the Word of God.’” “Yes, the motive was indeed, from a human perspective, noble. The stated outcome—mass evangelization—was praiseworthy. However, the methodology that contradicted the Word of God was seriously flawed. In the final analysis, evangelism in the absence of sound doctrine fails to perpetuate itself.” History proves this to be true. “The great tragedy of the second half of the Twentieth Century and the early Twenty-first Century is the fact that many of the Bible-believing churches organized in opposition to and as a direct result of Modernism in the 1960s and 1970s are now succumbing to New Evangelicalism and Outcome-Based Religion.” How this happened is the subject of the book.

“In order to fully grasp the sequence of events that birthed the New Paradigm Church, the subject of Outcome-Based Religion cannot merely be approached as a phenomenon of the last decade. It must instead be investigated from a complete historical perspective. Therefore, the study of this subject [is] approached from a historical perspective so as to lay the necessary foundation to enable a complete understanding of all aspects of that which is commonly termed the Church Growth Movement.” The book is in two parts. Part I delves into the historical events that contributed to the makeup and basis of the rise of Outcome-Based Religion and Part II discusses the details and components of the resulting organism of Outcome-Based Religion—the New Paradigm Church.

Part I addresses: church history from the first century on, the wedding of paganism and Christianity in the Catholic Church; the Protestant Reformation; the origins of modernism; the infiltration of modernism into American theological institutions and churches; the flaws in the methods of fundamentalist churches 1950-1975 and on which led to their decline; the ecumenical movement; Vatican II which brought a change in Catholic tactics and rescued the ecumenical movement and took a large step toward the establishment of the one world church and the one world political system; modernism and its effects within the Southern Baptist Convention; the Charismatic movement (basic concepts, origins, the three waves, and the results of); Calvary Chapel (a transitional hybrid between Fundamentalism and right wing Charismatic teachings); dominion theology; the rise and fall of the religious right; the attempt to establish the United States as a bona fide religious theocracy; Christian Reconstructionism versus Dispensational Fundamentalism; the Religious Right; the Moral Majority; the Christian Coalition; the death of the Religious Right; the absence of convictions along with the advance of the philosophy and the new definition of tolerance which now guides almost all Americans including those in church; George Bush as the new leader of the religious right; the relationship between the religious right and Outcome-Based Religion; and much more. In short, Part I covers most historical and factual matters which a discerning believer should at least have a working knowledge of in order to be an effective soldier in the spiritual warfare for the souls of men.

Part II explains and analyzes: the goals, motivation and methods of New Paradigm churches. Subjects addressed include a new way of playing church—by the numbers; the battle against Outcome-Based Religion; defining the terms: Purpose-Driven Church, New Paradigm Church; expository preaching; pragmatism; worship; seeker sensitive; doctrine; sin; evangelism; market strategy, change agent; felt needs, cultural relevance; Christian psychology, contemporary Christian music, the Gospel; the object of the game: (The complete transition of the Church from the traditional, Biblical, separatist position to become more aligned to and in tune with the dictates of the Postmodern Culture—thus initiating exponential church growth.); the rules of the New Paradigm Church (Change “Our Thinking of what God is Trying To Do,” Develop a Market Strategy, Build Relationships of Integrity with the Unchurched, Never Criticize What God is Blessing, Never Communicate God’s Word in an Outdated Style (which requires that the church should relate to the popular culture—no KJV—focusing on felt needs, utilizing psychology and counseling, forgetting theology and just loving Jesus, etc.), The music in the Church should be the Style the Target Market listens to on the Radio (the origins of rock and roll, the assertion the music is amoral, etc.), Those Who Oppose the Vision for Change Must be Marginalized or Eliminated); the forerunners of the New Paradigm church movement; the fathers of the church growth movement; the facilitators of the church growth movement; the facilities of the Church Growth Movement (Fuller Theological Seminary being the most influential); living in the time of the paradigm shift, defining the paradigm shift; Outcome-Based Education and Outcome-Based Religion; the Drucker/Demming connection; Drucker and Company in the New Paradigm Church, oaths, covenants, and faith promise; trickle-down church-o-nomics; paradigm shifting sands produce unstable foundations; the purpose-driven life; transformation and acceptance of postmodern, tolerance-based’ global ethics; an appeal  to pastors and an appeal to church members; a call to personal holiness; and more.

“Sadly, the ‘Christian population of western culture has forsaken the ‘old paths’ of the Word of God and  is blindly accepting any lie that sounds religious while not tampering with their lifestyle.” This book will prove very enlightening for those few who still have the ability and desire to seek truth:

1. Christians who still attend a remnant church (a church who still preaches biblical doctrine, loves the Lord and man, and attempts to honor the Great Commission) will gain great insights.
2. Those in mega churches (New Paradigm churches) who actually want to know what they have gotten themselves into and whether they should be there. They will not learn this from their church leaders.
3. Anyone in America who is seeking truth. Sadly, this will exclude a large percentage of Americans, including most who attend a “church.” Most Americans including almost all “Christians,” as pointed out in the book, are the products of Outcome-Based Education and have bought the concepts of the “New Tolerance” and Postmodernism. Such people cannot, as a general rule, seek truth. Truth is antithetical to their very mindset.

“The members of the Church of Jesus Christ must honestly ask the question, ‘How did we allow this to happen to us, and where did we all go so wrong?’ … In the final analysis, Fuller Theological Seminary, Christianity Today, the New and Young Evangelicals, Modernists, Charismatics, Reconstructionists, and Dominionists are to be sarcastically congratulated. They have successfully managed to blindly align themselves with the dark forces of Lucifer at a level sufficiently subtle to enamor the entire evangelical community from the Fundamentalists to the Charismatic Catholics into falling into the snare that has come to characterize Outcome-Based Religion.” “This alignment with Luciferic forces did not transpire overnight. The transition was so subtle and gradual that it can be compared to the proverbial frog in water brought to a slow but deadly boil.” “[T]he call for this new political paradigm known as the New World Order is based primarily on the ancient values of those early generations after the Flood of Noah and their demonically instigated desire for a return to the ungodly civilization that existed prior to the Flood.”

Endnotes

En 1 Writing this book review gives me an opportunity for public repentance. I first repent and ask forgiveness for my sins of ignorance from God; second, from my Christian brothers; and finally, from America and its citizens. I followed unbiblical, uninformed courses of action as to the above mentioned matters for many years after my salvation in 1982. My motive was honorable from a human point of view, but my goal and my methods were not according to the Word of God. That everything is falling into place as foretold in God’s Word and that the One-World government and religion will become a reality even had my actions been according to the Word of God does not nullify the reality that I sinned.

En2 Outcome-Based Religion can be ordered on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com; Jerald Finney has a limited number of copies for sale (click this link for contact information: contact page of churchandstatelaw.com). God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from amazon.com at the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.