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Last updated 11-25-05
From: "Brian Drake"
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 3:18 PM
Subject: Ray Comfort
What does Ray Comfort teach that is inconsistent with the Word of God?
You don't have an article linked to his name and I'm curious why he's listed as a false teacher.
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 5:29 PM
Subject: Re: Ray Comfort
We haven't written a report on him, but here are a few things.
Ray Comfort's ministry is an "interdenominational" ministry (www.livingwaters.com/m_about.shtml). He uses this term in the context of "God's people." Thus, it is evident that he is on the broad way (Matthew 7:13-14), because he believes there are many doctrinal forms of Christianity that are legitimate. He believes in many faiths (interdemoninational), not one faith (Ephesians 4:5; John 14:6). This is ecumenicalism and a denial of the way of truth (for more detail, see our article, "You Think You're Saved, But You're Not!").
His ecumenism is further revealed in his statement, "When people call and ask where I stand on the charismatic issue, prophecy, predestination, etc., I tell them that I don't have an opinion because I don't want to divide the Body of Christ." (www.livingwaters.com/helps/faq.shtml#9)
In other words, he won't take a stand on controversial Biblical issues. He does not love the truth. He does not love Christ (John 14:6). He does not hate every false way (Psalm 119:104, 128). He does not contend for the faith (Jude 3). He does not live out 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Yet, he is a spiritual leader.
On his bio page he writes, "I refer doctrinal and theological issues back to the local pastors, since my calling is to come alongside them, to win the lost and to encourage them to get into fellowship." (www.livingwaters.com/bio/index.shtml)
So, in other words, he supports a whole host of false doctrine, and sends people to be fed this false doctrine, because different denominations teach all kinds of different things regarding a wide variety of Biblical issues; and so false doctrine abounds; and he is not concerned about the truth one iota.
His ecumenism is further revealed in the statement, "17. How do you witness to a Roman Catholic? The problem is that he is most likely not born again." (www.livingwaters.com/helps/faq.shtml#9)
By saying "most likey" he leaves room for the possibility of the oxymoron of a "born again Catholic." The truth is, every single Catholic is lost, not born again, and on their way to hell, because they are caught in a false religion, are therefore idolaterers (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), and are not in the truth, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
His ecumenism is further revealed on his bio page in which is written, "Ray Comfort's ministry has been commended by Franklin Graham, Ravi Zacharias, John MacArthur, David Jeremiah, Josh McDowell, Dr. Norman Geisler, Bill Gothard, David Wilkerson, Joni Eareckson Tada, and many other Christian leaders. He has written for Billy Graham's Decision magazine and Bill Bright's Worldwide Challenge." (www.livingwaters.com/bio/index.shtml)
They write this as a good thing. These men are false teachers. See our reports on some of these men.
Ray Comfort also "is a regular platform speaker at Southern Baptist State Conferences" (www.livingwaters.com/bio/index.shtml). See our report on this denomination and our report on Charles Stanley.
His ecumism is further revealed in his love for Spurgeon. He has a book out condoning Spurgeon who is also a false teacher (www.livingwaters.com/newsletter/july2005.htm). See our report on Spurgeon.
I'm sorry I don't have more at this time. Hopefully we will in the future.
From: Chris Humphreys
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 7:56 AM
Subject: How true are you?
Anyone who claims to be a true church is probably not. They certainly don't have the true gift of humility. Besides that, you don't have all the facts regarding MacArthur's statements. He has repented from his son of God incarnational belief as he wrote in his Hebrews commentary. Of course, he is not as perfect as you, so he is not allowed to admit he was wrong in anything. You probably have not made a mistake in your theology in your entire life. But you have seriously departed from the truth since I see you subscribe to the man-made damnable heresy invented in 1830 by the likes of Edward Irving, Margaret Macdonald, and J.N. Darby, and hijacked by C.I. Scofield, a lawyer who divorced his wife and married another woman three months later, spent time in a St. Louis jail for a real estate scam taking his mother-in-law's life savings and then spending the rest of his life dodging phony I.O.U.s he gave to people. Dispensationalism is an ism along side Mormonism, Finneyism, secular humanism, etc. Anyone who believes in dispensationalism has no right to throw stones at others; take out that big Hal Lindsey log out of your own eye first. By the way, nearly all dispensationalists are staunch anti-Calvinists, so how do you reconcile that fact with your statement on predestination? You don't like Greg Laurie and Charles Stanley and James Dobson and Jack Hayford, etc. etc. Congratulations! You don't like fellow dispensationalists. Such hypocrisy and arrogance!
To: Chris Humphreys
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 2:41 PM
Subject: Re: How true are you?
You wrote, "Anyone who claims to be a true church is probably not. They certainly don't have the true gift of humility."
So, every church out there that claims they are a true church, rather than a false church (which is every church I have ever heard of), probably is not a true church (according to you), and "certainly don't have the true gift of humility"? Your standard (Matthew 7:13-14), is not God's (Hebrews 4:12-13). What kind of church would not believe they were a true church? The Luthern's, Catholic's, Wesleyian's, Calvary Chapel's, Reformed Churches, etc. don't think they are a true church? So, you condemn every church out there?
You wrote, "Besides that, you don't have all the facts regarding MacArthur's statements. He has repented from his son of God incarnational belief as he wrote in his Hebrews commentary."
You are the one without the facts and you don't read very well, because we point this out (that he "repented") in our articles on Mac, the very ones that mention his past false teaching on this matter (www.atruechurch.info/macarthur.html & www.atruechurch.info/macstudybible.html).
You wrote, "You probably have not made a mistake in your theology in your entire life."
You are wrong on this assumption as well (www.atruechurch.info/rejecttapes.html).
You claimed we hold to a "man-made damnable heresy" called dispensationalism, but prove it not. Moreover, MacArthur holds to dispensationalism. I can prove that, see www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/1301-N-6.htm. Will you hold him to task as you have with us and hold that he is teaching a "man-made damnable heresy"?
You wrote, "take out that big Hal Lindsey log out of your own eye first." We believe Hal Lindsey is a false teacher along with the rest of his TBN friends.
You asked, "By the way, nearly all dispensationalists are staunch anti-Calvinists, so how do you reconcile that fact with your statement on predestination?"
You could ask MacArthur this as well, who teaches an Unlimited Atonement, yet deny's reprobation (e.g. see our report on Mac's Study Bible, Romans 9:22).
If you want to call us dispensationalists, because we take the Bible literally, then fine; we stand "condemned" for believing God's word (Hebrews 4:12-13). Yet, we hold to no such term. Although, as far as those who claim to be Dispensationists are concerned, or Calvinists, and Arminians, we believe they are all on their way to hell, because they all (all that we know of) are on that broad way described in our report at www.atruechurch.info/savednot.html.
You accuse us of hypocrisy and arrogance but prove it not from the word of God (which helps us none). You will be judged by every careless word you speak (and so will I, Matthew 12:36-37), and if you keep speaking like you have in this email, you will be condemned (1 John 4:6).
From: email@example.com [Chris Humphreys]
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 6:18 PM
Subject: Re: How true are you?
You are sick.
From: m.cernovich [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, August 26, 2005 4:56 PM
Subject: watchman nee
Watchman nee I dont see this name on your list.Our home fellowship really enjoyed his works and based much of our work on his teachings.Do you know of his teachings and his commitment to the restoration of the local expression of the church.Do you obey the command of assembling together with each member ministering his gift.I read your site and agree with the mess of christianity but disagree with your statement of no other saints.If your interested I can send you the name of many faithful outside the reliogous system.We need first to know the living word before we are able to understand the written word.I came to life first by beliveing the living word of salvation in Jesus and then being lead by the Spirit to understand what was written as a testamony of Christ from those who saw and heard His teachings.Before I came to life I could not understand that what was written but after the new birth the light of understanding came to light.I continue to study and learn as the Spirit of truth continues to reveal the Word of God.I could reveal much more but could have already offended you.You are welcome to respond or just turn away.The Lord will reveal much to those who would learn and forsake all to follow Him.If I am considered a nonbeliver for enjoying the teachings of Watchman nee I feel honored to be called one.But I am confident of this one thing He that started this work of grace will be able to conplete it.Send your reply if you may ,maybe we can reason together and come to a greater understand of the one who deserse all our attention the Lord Jesus Christ.I consider this e mail as being faithful to the Lord to respond to you in love.There is much I would like to share but I do not know If you are willing to hear.If you are please reply.I will not be offended by what you say for I know in whom I believe. just a believer bro mike
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 12:38 AM
Subject: Re: watchman nee
Thank you for the email. I had a few questions for you.
Are your beliefs the same as Watchman Nee's ministry? His ministry chronicles his life with these words:
"He acquired a collection of more than 3,000 of the best Christian books, including nearly all the classical Christian writers from the first century on. He had a phenomenal ability to select, comprehend, discern, and memorize relevant material, and he could grasp and retain the main points of a book at a glance. Watchman Nee was thus able to glean all the profitable scriptural points and spiritual principles from throughout church history and synthesize them into his vision and practice of the Christian life and of the church life." (www.watchmannee.org/life-ministry.html)
So he was heavily influenced by the prevailing "Christian" world. Watchman Nee spoke good of popular men such as Moody, Finney, and Spurgeon. Nee says,
"A young person may not have the gift of Moody, Finney, or Spurgeon, but he can learn to be a M'Kendrick. A young brother may not necessarily have the gift of the gospel, but he must have the spirit of the gospel. In church history God raises up great evangelists only once in a long while. But every lover of the Lord should and must have a gospel spirit." (Collected Works of Watchman Nee,Vol. 61, ch. 2, p. 3, dated August 30th, 1949; www.ministrybooks.org/books.asp?id=692&chapterid=0§ionid=1&pageid=1)
Mr. Nee later in this same book called these three men "giants of the faith" (ch. 8, p. 2), so he clearly perceived them to be godly men. Do you agree that they were "giants of the faith"?
Also, "the classical Christian writers from the first century" were Catholics (see e.g. www.atruechurch.info/earlychurchfathers.html). Do you perceive these men to be godly men?
According to what was written above, Watchman Nee gleaned from these men "all the profitable scriptural points and spiritual principles." Do you believe these men were teachers who had water (John 7:37-39), or no water (2 Peter 2:17)?
Also, they say Watchman Nee was shepherded and taught by a woman by the name of Margaret Barber:
"Watchman Nee became familiar with many of these books through Margaret Barber, a former Anglican missionary. Early in his Christian life he received much spiritual edification and perfection from her. Primarily through his fellowship with Miss Barber, Watchman Nee realized that to be a Christian is altogether a matter of the divine life. Through her shepherding, he learned to pay more attention to life than to work and to live by Christ as his life." (www.watchmannee.org/life-ministry.html)
The Anglican Church is basically Englishenized Catholicism, or Catholicism with a different face (please see www.anglican.org/church/ChurchHistory.html). Do you believe this woman was one of Christ's sheep (John 10:4-5)?
In this biography, regarding the two points above, it is written,
"Through his fellowship with Miss Barber and others, along with his study of the Bible and numerous spiritual books, Watchman Nee received a wealth of revelation. He was truly a seer of the divine revelation."
So, Watchman Nee received a "wealth of revelation" from popular Christian men and a woman who was in the Anglican Church. Do you believe he received a "wealth of revelation" from these people, as his ministry writes?
Do you believe a person can be a Catholic and a true Christian at the same time? Nee did. He says of St. Francis of Assisi, who was a Catholic, that he was a true Christian:
"Thank the Lord, there has never been an interruption in the line of true Christians. First, we have St. Francis of Assisi. He was the son of a rich man, but he sold all of his possessions and gave to the poor. He began to practice a life of voluntary poverty." (Collected Works of Watchman Nee,Vol. 61, ch. 8, p. 2; www.ministrybooks.org/books.asp?id=692&chapterid=0§ionid=1&pageid=1). [If you question whether Francis was a Catholic, see www.newadvent.org/cathen/06221a.htm.]
Watchman Nee claims people need to give literally all they have to the church.
"Perhaps some will ask to what extent we have to offer ourselves before we can say that we have handed over our 'all.' Whatever we have, we should offer it and hand it over to the church. When we really feel the hurt, we have handed over our 'all.' When a man truly hurts from his giving, he enjoys the greatest joy in giving. A man laughs when he is happy, but he also weeps when he is happy. The greatest happiness is a happiness that makes a man weep. This happiness has a special taste." (ibid., ch. 8, p. 6)
Have you given all you have (money, material possessions) to the church? If so, how do you survive? Where do you live, etc.? Do you continue to give all you have to the church?
Watchman Nee claims God can be bought with money. Speaking in the context of Matthew 6:24 he writes,
"When the Lord says no man, He means no man. No man can serve two masters. If we want to serve God, our money has to go. I do not aspire to be anything in this world. I only aspire to gain God. Let me say this in a most respectful way: Our God can be bought with money. No one can accumulate mammon on earth yet have his heart in heaven. We should not fool ourselves." (ibid, ch. p. 6, bold added)
Do you believe God can be bought with money?
I would appreciate your answers. Thanks.
From: "Adam Wright"
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 11:16 AM
Subject: alarmingly hardcore
Dear Darwin Fish and A True Church,
Wow, you guys are alarmingly hardcore. I found your page on false teachers and was surprised to see David Cloud on there. Most of the others I was not surprised to see. Hinn, Graham, Laurie, Hayford, Dobson, Robertson, Warren, Jakes, Campolo are all easy ones. Most of which I found as false teachers from David Cloud's documentation. Spurgeon was a total shock to me. I'll have to read over your articles more thoroughly.
All of this is disheartening. I am 30 years old and it took me 27 years before I realized the false teachers and false teachers being preached. And the documentation that David Cloud provided (along with others) helped open my eyes to that. Not that he couldn't be a false teacher, but to shoot one of the barking watchdogs who got me to wake up, makes me want to trust no one. Not even you! It seems only a matter of time before you will have to turn the knife of judgement on yourself. Or I will have to turn the knife on myself.
If your fellowship of 40 is the only true christians around, God curse any man who even tries to teach someone else, because they are going to get it wrong on a sliver of doctrine and be damned to hell as a false teacher! How long before your fellowship has to split because of the false teachers that will surely creep in among you? How long until you must separate from your very self?
Why didn't Paul turn a knife on himself? "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
Are there any teachers you would recommend as not heretics? Any today or outside of recorded Bible history (like in the past)?
And If you can trust no one because they are all false teachers, how do you trust the Bible and Bible translations. I've seen NKNV and some other versions quoted throughout your site. If all teachers are false outside of your circle how can you trust scholars and translators which in all likelihood you would classify as false teachers if you interviewed them? Wouldn't their false thoughts and unbelieving natures corrupt the translation? How do you know which Greek and Hebrew Texts to trust?
I write all this with a bit of exasperation but not in mocking. If I can trust no teacher or "christian", how can I trust those who bring us the Bible? How can I trust you to be interpreting the Bible correctly? How can I trust myself?
Is there room for any disagreement among Christians? If I believe exactly like you on absolutely everything in the Bible, but didn't believe the 144,000 of Revelation was an exact number of souls to be saved, but rather a symbolic phrophecy of the completeness of the number of Jews to be saved from the twelve tribes (not that all Jews would be saved, just the completeness of the number of those saved), am I a false teacher damned to hell too?
To: Adam Wright
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 12:40 PM
Subject: Re: alarmingly hardcore
Thank you for the email.
You wrote, "All of this is disheartening."
Yep, when I first began to see it I didn't want to continue to live (as in 1 Kings 19:4), until the Lord rebuked me (via a trialsome circumstance).
You wrote, "It seems only a matter of time before you will have to turn the knife of judgement on yourself."
The "knife" (Hebrews 4:12-13) has been turned on me many times over (please see www.atruechurch.info/rejecttapes.html). This is the way of live (Proverbs 6:23).
You asked, "How long before your fellowship has to split because of the false teachers that will surely creep in among you?"
We've had this happen more than once (1 John 2:19). People leave because they turn from the truth, but it is never over a simple minor point. God takes the truth right out of their head (Luke 8:18) and we all watch with amazement. We have some of it documented (tape and written material).
You asked, "How long until you must separate from your very self?"
I do this daily (Luke 9:23-24).
You asked, "Why didn't Paul turn a knife on himself?" [Romans 7:19-20]
Because that is a state in which only the resurrection will resolve (Romans 7:25; 8:23). In the meantime, Paul fought the good fight (2 Timothy 4:7) over the truth of the word of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
You asked, "Are there any teachers you would recommend as not heretics? Any today or outside of recorded Bible history (like in the past)?"
Please see www.atruechurch.info/faq.html and www.atruechurch.info/believers.html (see the latter part of this article for history outside of Scripture).
You asked, "And If you can trust no one because they are all false teachers, how do you trust the Bible and Bible translations."
God has promised to preserve His word (e.g. Psalm 12:7), yet we do not just blankedly trust any Bible translation. I know Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and if there is any question, I look there.
You asked, "If all teachers are false outside of your circle how can you trust scholars and translators which in all likelihood you would classify as false teachers if you interviewed them?"
We do not claim to know that "all teachers are false outside of [our] circle" (see our FAQ), and we do not trust scholars and translators. We have no doubt that the translators were wicked, being on the broad way that prevails, yet it is no new thing that wicked men have their hands on God's holy word (Jeremiah 2:8).
You asked, "Wouldn't their false thoughts and unbelieving natures corrupt the translation?"
It certainly may. This is clearly apparent in some translations.
You asked, "How do you know which Greek and Hebrew Texts to trust?"
I suggest you read our report on the KJV only controversy (www.atruechurch.info/kjv.html) near the latter part of the article.
You asked, "If I can trust no teacher or "christian", how can I trust those who bring us the Bible?"
You should not trust men (Jeremiah 17:5). You should trust God to preserve His word, and live out Proverbs 2:1-12 to make sure you have His word.
You asked, "How can I trust you to be interpreting the Bible correctly?"
You should not do so (Jeremaih 17:5). God will hold you to His word and hold you accountable for whether you believed it or not (Hebrews 4:12-13).
You asked, "How can I trust myself?"
You should not do so (Proverbs 28:26).
You asked, "Is there room for any disagreement among Christians?"
Not when it comes to what the Bible says (e.g. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:3; 6:3-5; 1 John 2:3-5; 4:6; 2 John 9; etc.). Please see www.atruechurch.info/unity.html.
You asked, "If I believe exactly like you on absolutely everything in the Bible, but didn't believe the 144,000 of Revelation was an exact number of souls to be saved, but rather a symbolic phrophecy of the completeness of the number of Jews to be saved from the twelve tribes (not that all Jews would be saved, just the completeness of the number of those saved), am I a false teacher damned to hell too?"
It's never that simplistic. The fact you were so perverted on those Scriptures would simply reveal you are perverted on the rest (see 2 Peter 3:16).
May the Lord have mercy on you and direct you into His truth. Be very afraid of God (Luke 12:4-5), it is both the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) and is wisdom (Job 28:28).
From: "Brian Drake" email@example.com
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2005 2:57 AM
Subject: A few questions
Dear Mr. Fish,
I contacted you back in September regarding Ray Comfort. I see that you've included my inquiry and your subsequent response on your website.
I have a few questions which I would appreciate your response to whenever you have the chance.
1. Why do you believe the Bible is God's Word? Surely, all other religions make claims of truth. If the Bible is true, all of them are false. But why do you believe the Bible is true and not some other writing? I've searched your site and I've not found an article on this topic. If I've missed it, (or a discussion of this topic in some other article), please forgive my lack of thoroughness and kindly provide a link.
I watched both video sets on your website (The Call and Harvest Crusade). In the following questions, I will use "you" to refer to both yourself, and those associated with you on the videos, since I don't remember the individual names.
2. In several conversations with people, you repeatedly insist that the Bible does not require a person "understand" the entire Word of God to be saved, only that he must believe it entirely. When one person seemingly agreed to this, you asked him if he thought it was possible for someone to come to salvation without a list of "essentials" being presented to them (as though the correct answer was no, please correct me if I interpreted this wrong). Shortly following, you defined the "essentials" as the entire Word of God. Are you saying someone must be presented with the entire Word of God and believe that to be saved? The Bible is a large volume, how is that possible? Or is it simply sufficient to believe God's Word true in all things (even before reading it all) and begin the new life with the commitment to "test all things" and submit to the entire Bible as it is gradually explored? Could you please clarify what you believe scripture teaches regarding this? I would assume you think I Corinthians 15:1-5 is misused. What do you believe is the proper view of this passage in regards to salvation?
3. I see no contradiction with the Biblical definition of "love" and your general manner of presentation to the crowds at those events. People who do not love truth will always be offended by it and their reaction to your statements and signs was to be expected. But I'm a bit perplexed at the inconsistent attitude members of your group displayed on the video. The vain arguments of the mislead several times provoked mocking laughter from your camera man. There were a few "off the clock" moments where members of your group joked around (the Steve Irwin bit for example) and laughed. The occasional soundtrack was often a bit whimsical as well. Yet, as you demonstrate the Bible teaches, these people are en masse marching blindly to hell. Most of those shown, when confronted with scripture, retorted with vain, illogical rambling, demonstrating they do not even desire Truth. Watching them came very close to breaking my heart and I grieved as I saw them flounder apart from Truth. How can you and your group have such a nonchalant and even jovial attitude towards the lost? Did not Jesus weep over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41)? Paul was so troubled over his kinsmen, that he would have been willing to sacrifice his own salvation for their sake if it was possible (Romans 9:2-3). Is it "love" to display anything but deep concern and sorrow for those running towards damnation?
4. When told you should confront the false teachers privately as the Bible instructs, you said that those men (false teachers), were not your brothers and therefore the Biblical guidelines for reproof within the Body didn't apply. What is the criteria for determining a brother in error (who must be reproached) as opposed to a false teacher? As you admit on your page about tapes you no longer distribute, you have made errors of doctrine. I don't quite understand how 1 Timothy 6:3 answers the question of why you're not a false teacher. I would think that you are not a false teacher because you repented of error when it was shown to you. How do you decide who is afforded that same opportunity? Though not many, I know of several people that from all indication to me, regard the scriptures as the only authority and they desire Truth so they may worship God "in Spirit and in Truth". I consider myself one of them as well. If they are ignorant of an error in doctrine, are they instantly cut off from salvation and the follower of a "false teacher"? Or are they not also afforded God's grace if they repent and correct their belief when confronted?
5. According to 1 Corinthians 11:14, nature teaches a man's long hair is a shame unto him. Is this shame (atimia - gk.) a sin? What defines "long hair" on a man? I did a concordance search but could not find any definition of length. Do you believe this is a matter of conscience or there is a clear Biblical mandate here? In light of this verse, is the long hair of a nazarite a shame?
6. What do you believe Matt 9:37 and Luke 10:2 mean? Does the "harvest" indicate souls God has prepared for salvation? If so, and your fellowship are true "laborers", shouldn't it be "easy" for you to go out and gather the "crops"?
Again, if there is anything I've asked that is already addressed on your website, please forgive me for wasting your time and kindly direct me to the correct url.
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2005 9:08 AM
Subject: Re: A few questions
1. The Bible is self evident, just as God is self evident (e.g. Romans 1:18-21), and the Bible (the Scriptures) and God are one and the same (e.g. Galatians 3:8; Revelation 19:13). What is said, that is, not the physical paper, ink, or cover, but what is said is the Word, and the word is God (John 1:1).
Romans 1:18-21 reveals men are without excuse, because God is clearly seen in His creation (Romans 1:20). Since the Word of God (the Bible) is God, His Word is as well clearly seen (i.e. self evident) in creation, as it is written:
"The heavens declare the glory of God." (Psalm 19:1)
In other words, the heavens speak forth God's word, as Paul wrote, quoting Psalm 19:4,
"Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." (Romans 10:18)
Paul speaks in the context of the gospel being proclaimed, thus Paul reveals the gospel (God's word) is proclaimed in creation, in particular in the heavens.
But that's not the only place His word is being proclaimed. It is proclaimed in the outside, in the streets, in the open squares, at the gates of cities, on high hills, where paths met, to men everywhere, wisdom, who is Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 1:24), who is the word of God (Revelation 19:13), is being proclaimed to men (Proverbs 1:20-23; 8:1-7); but they refuse to listen (Proverbs 1:24; Romans 1:18-21). And God holds them to account for not taking heed (Proverbs 1:24-33).
This is another way you can see that the Bible (God's word) is self evident, via God's response to those who do not believe. It is judgment, eternal judgment, for not believing (e.g. John 3:36; Revelation 21:8).
For example, when a man who was a son of a prophet spoke the word of the Lord to his neighbor, "Strike me, please," and the man refused to strike him, God killed him for not hitting him, for not obeying His word (1 Kings 20:35-36). And so it is for everyone who does not believe the testimony God has given of His Son (the Bible). If you don't believe the Bible, no matter who you are, you make God a liar (1 John 5:10).
Everyone will be held accountable and be judged by His word (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Sadly, because men are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), they do not heed His word however it may come to them, and they are in the bondage of the devil (Acts 26:18) and in great darkness (Ephesians 4:17-18). The beginning of breaking out of this darkness is to literally fear God (Proverbs 9:10). As Jesus said, "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God . . ." (John 7:17). Salvation breaks the viscous cycle of sin and unbelief, and brings the knowledge of God and His word (Proverbs 2:1-12; John 8:47).
2. The question about the essentials is to get them to think about this man-made false doctrine. They believe and teach it in hypocrisy, because they do not usually give their list of essentials when presenting their gospel. Yet, they will declare a person saved, based on only a very few "essential" doctrines that were acknowledged. Yet, when asked what are the essentials, often (not always, because there are various lists of essentials) they will give a longer list than what was presented to their potential converts. Yet, they claim these matters must be believed in order to be saved (see, e.g. our report on MacArthur in the essentials section).
On the contrary, we state that all of the Bible is essential. There is no non-essential matters in Scripture, because salvation rests on the fact that a person believe what God says. That's what believing in Jesus means. Jesus is the word of God (the Bible), and so believing in Him equals believing in the entirety of Scripture. Moreover, Scripture reveals that those who do believe in Christ will believe all of it (e.g. John 8:47), not just parts of it.
You asked, "Are you saying someone must be presented with the entire Word of God and believe that to be saved?"
No, but their trust must be in all of it, and when confronted with it, any part of it, they will believe it (John 8:47).
You wrote, "I would assume you think I Corinthians 15:1-5 is misused. What do you believe is the proper view of this passage in regards to salvation?"
Yes, it is grossly misused. First of all, they usually stop at verse 4, and state that is all that is needed to be saved. In this, they speak in the context of false doctrine. Thus, they are saying that people can believe all kinds of error on the word, but as long as they believe these few concepts, that person is saved. This is a lie. No such teaching is found anywhere in Scripture, but rather just the opposite (Matthew 4:4; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 1 John 2:4; etc.).
Secondly, the text does not stop at verse 4. The gospel Paul states that he preached and they believed goes all the way to verse 11.
3. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:4). God both weeps over the lost (e.g. Jeremiah 9) and laughs/mocks (e.g. Psalm 2:4; Proverbs 1:26). We have God in us, and so we weep and laugh (e.g. Romans 9:1-2; Psalm 52:6). Near the end of the Harvest video David (red head guy) in his interview briefly expressed our sorrow (sadness) for these people. We no doubt are capable of laughing at the wrong time. That is a judgment call. But, if you knew us, you would know well both our sorrow (tears) for these who are lost, and our laughter towards their folly. Actually, the whole reason we are out there is because we are saddened for them and have a deep burden for their lost souls. Sadly, they are so often so foolish, it is comical. But, again, we have often reminded ourselves that we once were also foolish (Titus 3:3).
The Steve Irwin example was just a moment of fun. That, of course, was not a mock of false Christians.
Moreover, I think I should add that we are often in a "good mood" when we are out there, because we absolutely love proclaiming the truth; and we also love doing so together. So, it is a high time for us, but nonetheless, the sadness of their lost state is not forgotten. As I said, that's why we are there. In fact, this also brings joy, because we can actually do something about their lost state: warn them. Sadly though, most do not take heed.
4. You asked, "What is the criteria for determining a brother in error (who must be reproached) as opposed to a false teacher?"
Please see www.atruechurch.info/falseteachers.html. If one or more of these characteristics is already known, then you deal with them in knowledge, knowing they are false. If they are someone who is already accepted as part of the true body of Christ, you deal with them as a brother (until you find out otherwise). If they are someone outside claiming to be a brother, you test (1 John 4:1), and that is what you saw us doing on the video (at least, in part). The simple test is the word of God. Do they heed it or not (1 John 2:3-5)? Do they heed us as we speak it (1 John 4:6)?
You wrote, "I don't quite understand how 1 Timothy 6:3 answers the question of why you're not a false teacher." Then you wrote, "I would think that you are not a false teacher because you repented of error when it was shown to you." Correct, at least in part.
You asked, "If they are ignorant of an error in doctrine, are they instantly cut off from salvation and the follower of a "false teacher"?"
You asked, "Or are they not also afforded God's grace if they repent and correct their belief when confronted?"
Of course, but there is a bigger picture here. Please see www.atruechurch.info/savednot.html. If a person is involved in false Christianity, they are lost, period. It doesn't matter what they have or have not been confronted with.
5. No, there is nothing about long hair in and of itself that makes it a sin. Scripture just says nature tells us it is a dishonor.
As far as length goes, that is not specifically defined, but in the passage (1 Corinthians 11) long hair for a woman is hair that is at least long enough to cover her head (1 Corinthians 11:15). I think it is safe to say her jaw (the lowest part) is part of her head. So, long hair, from this passage, is at least as long as that. But, of course, perhaps nature tells us long hair is longer than that? Typically, it is understood long hair for a woman is judged usually to be down to her shoulders (or something like that), but for a guy it is typically viewed as getting long once it starts reaching down the neck or so.
Again, Scripture doesn't get so specific, so the standard should be 1 Corinthians 10:32; 2 Corinthians 6:3. And, no a Nazarite vow is not a problem, of course.
6. Those verses should be kept in their context. Jesus, speaking during that time, said the fields were ripe. Both Paul and Christ reveal just the opposite for our days (Luke 18:8; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 4:3).
From: Robbie Leib
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 11:07 AM
My brand new church of 7 weeks (www.thevineeastside.com) was recently vandalized by one of your “true followers”. They etched your web address and phone number on our front and side doors (recently painted by folks giving up their summer Saturdays to get the new church ready for Sunday worship). Do you condone this type of behavior? I assume you don’t, or at least, you don’t in public, but would you mind making it very clear on your website that you don’t want your followers to engage in this type of behavior (it reeks of a cult). I assume this was done by some local anarchist punk rocker that heard about your website, and not from one of your 40 true followers, being that we are up in Washington, but nonetheless…
Also, would you mind adding our pastor, and the pastor from the church we planted out of (Mars Hill Church in Seattle) in your list of “unsaved” pastors? It would really help out with our credibility!
To: Robbie Leib
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 2:17 PM
Subject: Re: vandalism
No, we do not condone such behavior. That is illegal, and we believe in obeying the law (Romans 13). This is not the first time we have been used as an excuse for someone's vandalistic behavior.
We may add your pastor (as requested). True, it just might add to your credibility in the eyes of the world (John 15:19).