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Subject: Thanks for website
I came across your website a few months ago and have been greatly encouraged. We have just recently had to leave a church that we had only been in for just under a year. At the time the Pastor that had been there for over 20 years was still serving. We had become close to a couple in the church who had been in there for about a year when we came along, he too is a pastor. We grew close very quickly because they seem to truly love the Lord and were always wanting to get together and talk. A long story short we started to notice he was saying things that seemed off and I was started to question some of her behaviours. They started a bible study in their home and we were doing the Kay Authur precept on precept book on Peter. As time went on and many discussions later he started to push calvanism, and was calling my husband “a confused calvanist”.Well months later they thought we were on board with them but we weren’t. The church had decided to make him pastor (apparently they prayed and God sent him to them) because the serving pastor was retiring. After some very alarming things he was starting to say to us and after trying to reason with him from the scriptures nothing sunk in and he just started to turn the bible study into a platform to push his rubbish. We stopped going to the study and he called (husband) one day and after some discussion he said to my husband “well I wont be able to change your mind and you wont be able to change mine so we will have to leave it at that”.He was taking over as Pastor at the beginning of the year so we decided to go and let the current pastor know our concerns and things he had been pushing at the bible study. The pastor knew full well how dangerous and divisive calvanism was and seemed to be concerned, and that he would hand it over to the elders and they would need to deal with the situation because he was retiring. He did hand it over and they apparently went to the pastor and spent hours with him and saw no problem with what he believed.I will say at this point this church we were in was so dead and immature it was extremely sad to see christians in this state. So it wasn’t hard for this pastor to convince the elders he was ok. This is a man that believed God died on the cross, that Diving Nature died, that babies go to hell because they have sin, John Piper is his hero, whenever subjects came up he and his wife would go to the books for the answers, never the bible. They also would use the fact that they went to seminary made them far more knowledgable that the rest of us mere christians.
There is much more to this story but we were thrown under the bus and have never heard from anyone except one person who told us that this pastor was in a church previously that he was in and they left that church because issues. After that he started up his own church and that lasted 2 years and fell apart and he admitted to us that it was because he was teaching calvanism and people didn’t stay. He also admitted to us that he knows people will leave this one but it’s because they are wrong not him.
I’m sure you have heard stories like this too many times, the good that is coming from this is we are fired up and in the word every day learning about this deception, we are not strangers to deception and have come across so much in our walk but it will make us closer to the Lord.
We are on our own now and hopefully we will find a fellowship or some christians but in the mean time I want to thank you for what you are doing on the website, we personally are very encouraged, keep up the fight brother. If you do know any kind of fellowship of know any like-minded christians over this way could you let us know.
Your brother and sister in Christ
Yes, I do hear stories like this, a few directly through personal contact including this website, many indirectly mostly through comments and posts on other websites. In general, very few people who get deeply into calvinism ever escape its clutches. It’s like a cult that works on convincing you that if you leave, then you’ve dropped out of the running for heaven. Calvinists will tell you that if you leave (even to run a home church), then that demonstrates that you are not one of the elect and therefore leaving them means you are leaving your hopes of heaven behind. Many that do manage to see some light of truth, enough to get them out of calvinism, like most cults, find themselves shunned by those with whom they used to have fellowship.
And there are many anecdotes online of churches that have appointed a new pastor who seemed to be on the ball and biblical, yet, once settled, started to mix in a bit of calvinism here, a little there, and slowly their church (most, anyway) accepted the new doctrines. They don’t usually push their contentious doctrines all at once, but will ease their beliefs in bit by bit, mixing them with the long-established biblical beliefs of the church members. The church members generally don’t pick up the little changes as they happen, and mostly become good little calvinists without realising it. Often the pastor will end up teaching straight calvinism, yet never call it calvinism. He might start using terms like “grace” or “doctrines of grace” or “reformed” or “biblical” to describe his doctrines, but if it is calvinist, then it is calvinism! By the way, a lot of calvinists like to call their churches Grace or Bible churches, in an effort to convince people that they are really on-the-ball Christians. But, like most of their doctrines, these church names are also a lie.
Of course, those who read their Bibles for themselves are far less likely to be taken in by calvinist sneakiness. This is the best antidote against all kinds of heresy: know your Bible and how to find out what it says for yourself. When faced with church members who dare use their Bibles to ask probing questions of the pastor, they will often be told that (a) the pastor is the teacher, not them (because he’s been to Bible school), or (b) certain great calvinist writers agree with the pastor, or (c) are you really one of the elect? or (d) it’s a mystery hidden within the secret counsels of sovereign God, or, as a last resort, (e) I won’t talk to you anymore!
Calvinist pastors taking over a non-calvinist church will often agree to differ in the early stages of take-over, but once they feel they have a firm footing, they will put pressure on those who disagree. They believe that only those qualified for ministry should be teachers of the Bible, and lesser beings who don’t have that qualification (usually given by themselves to each other, especially in USA) must listen to the overwhelming intellect and understanding of the pastor. He rules! If the church has deacon rule, then the pastor may introduce elders to govern the deacons. The elders are the teachers, while deacons are generally not permitted to be teachers. The pastor also will like to call himself a teaching elder. In a church that has elder rule, then they will be divided up into teaching and non-teaching elders, based on their perceived spirituality (read “agreement with and support for calvinistic principles). And beware of “Biblical Counselling”, a church counselling program introduced by calvinists to govern the behaviour of their members. It is widely used across many denominations.
I recommend that you (a) continue to read the Bible, even if it is just the two of you studying it each week. Calvinist pastors will try to bully you by telling you that you aren’t attending church and therefore must be non-elect. They don’t agree with home churches because home churches have a tendency to read the Bible for themselves. (And they can’t control home churches! It’s all about control!) Our previous pastor came to visit us after we started our home church and tried hard to get us to return to our respective churches, finally telling me that I was suffering from “the imaginations of an over-sensitive nature”, that is, I was deluded!
(b) If possible find a pastor who encourages belief in the Bible itself. Avoid a pastor who, rather than teach what the Bible says, instead teaches what he “knows” the Bible says. Don’t let any pastor take the responsibility for learning God’s truth out of your hands.
Subject: No subject offered
While I don’t agree with Calvinism, you have completely taken a lot out of context in regards to what Mr. Todd has said. He’s stated repeatedly that he doesn’t believe in works salvation. But, as the Bible states, faith is never alone. There will be fruit and a transformation. Just “saying a prayer” is not enough. Faith without works is dead. No. This does not mean works saves, but works/fruits are a BY PRODUCT of a genuine confession. We are saved and justified through grace, and Christ righteousness is imputed to us. Sanctification should be intentional and as the holy spirit makes us more into the image of Christ, we are growing. No, “the sinners prayer” is not in the Bible.
I am unsure just what I have said that you disagree with. What have I actually stated which you feel is incorrect? Please quote my words! I have repeatedly said that if anyone wishes to comment on what I have said, you must state clearly what it is that I have allegedly said. Unless, of course, you don’t really know what it is that I have said that you find out of context.
You say, “There will be fruit and a transformation. Just “saying a prayer” is not enough. Faith without works is dead.” Where have I said otherwise? In fact, I do not have any disagreement with these words. In fact, I agree with much (not all!) of what you have written. You seem to have misread what I have actually said!
Friel says (“Ten reasons to not ask Jesus into your heart” – also see The Heresy of Todd Friel) So, what must one do to be saved? Repent and trust. (Heb.6:1)
Yet Hebrews 6:1 (Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,) actually teaches that we should move on from the foundation of repentance and faith toward God. That is, to grow as a Christian instead of staying a Christian baby. (See the context in Hebrews 5:12-14 in your Bible.) Apparently Friel is teaching that we must do the works of our salvation in order to be saved. But the works should be a consequence of that salvation, not the cause. At the very least Friel seems to be mightily confused here.
I have quoted Todd Friel (with my comments added) in The Heresy of Todd Friel:
In order to be saved, a man must trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith. [I fail to see even one justification, here or anywhere else for that matter, how asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith! This is a ridiculous grasping at straws! It might be possible to leave out faith, but nothing says the sinners’ prayer cannot involve faith! It’s the person who has or hasn’t faith, not the sinners’ prayer!]
Are my comments out of context here? The mere praying of the sinners’ prayer cannot automatically assume faith, nor the lack of faith for that matter. And if you think faith is a gift of God, check it out properly, for faith is the response of man to the character of the God who makes such great and precious promises. (Try reading Hebrews 11 carefully.) Also, the gift of God in Ephesians2:8-9 cannot grammatically be faith. The word genders are wrong! The gift of God there is your salvation by the grace of God.
I also mention the sinners’ prayer in Calvinism is incompatible with Biblical doctrine: “This calvinist lack of free will leads directly to a serious problem between calvinists and non-calvinists. Calvinists cannot accept any notion at all of free will in your salvation. If you claim to be a Christian because of any decision of your will to repent and be saved, or pray the sinners’ prayer, or ask Jesus into your life as Lord and Saviour, or anything else that relates to choosing today whom you will serve, then calvinists have to reject your testimony as invalid.”
The point being made is that any decision made by one’s own free will is unacceptable to the calvinist because of that claim to have used free will to decide. It is not giving an unqualified tick of approval to the sinners’ prayer. However, if one has free will to decide to come to Christ for salvation, then one must pray to Him at some stage. (I assume you believe that it is acceptable and maybe probable even that a person may pray at this time?)
Todd Friel says: People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment. (“Ten reasons to not ask Jesus into your heart”)
Where does it say in the Bible – or even suggest it – that “people who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved”? Is it a sin to ask Jesus into your heart? And where does it say that it was because they asked Jesus into their hearts that caused Jesus to reject them? Read it carefully! Also note Matthew 7:21-23 – 21 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. 22Many 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? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
It is those who Jesus never knew (who didn’t do the will of the Father) who will be rejected. And the will of the Father is that all should call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13; 1 Timothy 2:3-4). There are many who profess to know Christ but never submitted to His authority.
You said, “No, “the sinners prayer” is not in the Bible.” However, as for the sinners’ prayer not being in the Bible, how else may one call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) if one cannot use prayer to do so? Calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved is the biblical requirement for salvation. Please tell me, how may someone call upon the name of the Lord to be saved without praying? And if someone calls upon the name of the Lord to be saved, then that is a prayer for salvation, that is, the sinners’ prayer. I do not claim that all who pray such a prayer will be saved, either. If a person’s life does not show the change of such a prayer, then that person’s salvation must be considered non-existent. I quote from my latest post: “Many do struggle with sin for a while after they are saved; as a rule sins such as addictions do not miraculously completely disappear when the person comes to Christ for salvation. If they do not disappear at all, ever, then that person’s salvation was probably non-existent.” (Just exactly what is the calvinist gospel?)
That is, if there is no transformation ever in a person’s life after praying to be saved, then it may be assumed that the person was never truly saved. Certainly faith without works is dead. Where have I stated (or even implied) that this is not so?
In Luke 18:10-14, Jesus gave the example of a sinner who prayed to God to be merciful to him a sinner (actually “to propitiate him a sinner”). This man prayed a prayer to God, “Lord be merciful to (propitiate) me a sinner!” He showed no works other than extreme repentance for his sins, yet Jesus declared him justified. Now, if the sinner had then made little or no effort to put this prayer into action (that is, continuing to live as he had previously), then it is clear his prayer may well have been false and his justification non-existent. Of course, this is just a parable that demonstrates the effective use of a sinners’ prayer. Because it is not necessarily a real situation, we are not told what happened after that. It was a parable, after all.
But it is an example of a sinners’ prayer. Is it not in your Bible?
One last thing to note: the only people who deny a sinners’ prayer in any shape or form are those who believe that man has no free will to choose his salvation. Thus the calvinists teach that only God alone may choose your salvation for you, and thus a sinners’ prayer cannot be acceptable to them regardless of whether it is genuine or not! You disagree with calvinism but you also appear to disagree with a salvation that requires a person to pray to God for salvation. Some sinners’ prayers may well be a waste of time, especially if not accompanied by godly sorrow and genuine repentance.
2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
However, some sinners’ prayers must be genuine. If man has free will to choose to accept or reject salvation, then in order to be saved he must pray a prayer at some stage to call upon the name of the Lord. (Unless no genuine Christians exist in the world today??)
By the way, did you make a decision to be saved at some point in time? That is, did you call upon the name of the Lord to be saved? Of course, calvinists don’t agree with this, because they don’t believe man has the free will to do so. “You don’t choose God; God chooses you!” they say. But you have said, “I don’t agree with Calvinism” which may assume you agree in the free will of man. Or do you? Free will requires a response to God, generally in the form of prayer, unless you have found another way?
You said, “No, “the sinners prayer” is not in the Bible.” Apparently the following verse may be missing from your Bible?
Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(This comment will also appear in my posts section.)
Subject: todd friel
asking Jesus into your heart without repentence does not change the fact that a person is still lost.
Yes, you are absolutely correct on that. Anyone who asks Jesus into their heart without repentance is certainly still lost, yet anyone who asks Jesus into their heart and does repent may be saved. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Note that not one single Christian could claim to be perfect before they die. Those who demand that a person repent of and forsake all their sin before they may claim to be Christian (as I believe such as Ray Comfort teach) are teaching a holy perfectionist belief, an ultra-puritanical life-style, that may impress those on earth, but simply being a puritan isn’t sufficient to save you. (That would surely be a works-based salvation!) It is the truly repentant sinner calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved that God will bless with eternal life. That is His promise, after all!
Also, asking Jesus into your heart is merely a manner of speech. Asking Him into your life as Lord and Saviour could also be acceptable, as might be a number of other prayer formats. There is no set sinners’ prayer format as such. A prayer without repentance won’t save you. It’s not the prayer on its own that saves you, but the repentant sinner calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved.
Subject: General question
What denomination or type of church is Hoppers Crossing? Did you express your concerns personally to the preachers that you are labeling as heretics prior to making public online statements about them?
Thank you for your comment. Our website does say that Hoppers Crossing Christian Church is a small home based church in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. Perhaps our website should state it more clearly, though. We do not claim a particular denomination, although my background is probably closest to Baptist. We accept that, where differences occur, the Bible overrules all church doctrinal statements. Our beliefs are therefore Biblical, so if anyone wishes to discuss our beliefs, they should firstly test all things according to Scripture and challenge accordingly. We rest on sola scriptura, something that calvinists love to claim yet they rarely defend doctrine on the basis of the Bible alone. We have had a number of people accusing us of misrepresenting or otherwise calvinist or reformed doctrine, yet not one up until now has been able to actually explain clearly from the Bible alone just what it is that we have stated incorrectly. In fact, not one has clearly quoted (verbatim) even one single offending statement of ours. I can only assume that they object to me not agreeing with them, but are unable to state exactly what it is that I have said that they disagree with!
As for expressing our concerns personally to various preachers, I’m not sure what exactly you are wanting to know. If you wish to discuss this further, please enlighten me as to your purpose for knowing this.
I thank you for your effort to make this comment.
Subject: Todd friel
Hello. Just wanted to make a comment on you criticism on the Jesus prayer and his thoughts. Although I agree with some of your thoughts, some of his are correct on this issue as well. I know Dozens, if not hundreds of people that think they are saved because they said a Jesus prayer, but go on to live their lives as before, NO change at all in their lifestyles. They think they are saved. Sorry, they are not. I believe this is what he is arguing against and warning about. I have not done an in-depth study on this, but that is my take away.
Thank you for your comment. I note that Friel condemns the praying of the sinners’ prayer in general. This is based upon his calvinist view that man has no free will to choose to be saved in any way, and therefore a sinners’ prayer for salvation is irrelevant. He believes that God makes the choice and you have absolutely no say in the matter! On the other hand, while I believe that a person may pray the sinners’ prayer in order to be saved (as per Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved), not all who pray such a prayer can automatically claim to be saved. This appears to be your view also. So, what have I said that you actually disagree with? What you are saying appears to be biblical truth!
In How may one be saved without praying, I make this very point, that the mere saying of a “sinners’ prayer” is not a guarantee of salvation. I quote from that document.
“The mere praying of the sinners’ prayer cannot automatically assume faith, nor the lack of faith for that matter.”
“I am not giving an unqualified tick of approval to every sinners’ prayer that is prayed.”
“I do not claim that all who pray such a prayer will be saved, either. If a person’s life does not show the change of such a prayer, then that person’s salvation must be considered non-existent.”
“That is, if there is no transformation ever in a person’s life after praying to be saved, then it may be assumed that the person was never truly saved. Certainly faith without works is dead.”
“In Luke 18:10-14, Jesus gave the example of a sinner who prayed to God to be merciful to him a sinner (actually “to propitiate him a sinner”). This man prayed a prayer to God, “Lord be merciful to (propitiate) me a sinner!” (And if a sinner prays to God like this, then how is it not a sinners’ prayer?) He showed no works other than extreme repentance for his sins, yet Jesus declared him justified. Now, if the sinner had then made little or no effort to put this prayer into action (that is, continuing to live as he had previously), then it is clear his prayer may well have been false and his justification non-existent. Of course, this is just a parable that demonstrates the effective use of a sinners’ prayer. Because it is not necessarily a real situation, we are not told what happened after that. It was a parable, after all.”
“Some sinners’ prayers may well be a waste of time, especially if not accompanied by godly sorrow and genuine repentance.
2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
However, some sinners’ prayers must be genuine. If man has free will to choose to accept or reject salvation, then in order to be saved he must pray a prayer at some stage to call upon the name of the Lord. (Unless no genuine Christians exist in the world today??)”
So let’s get to Friel’s problems here. Let me quote from him.
“Brace yourself for this one: with very few if any exceptions, anyone who asked Jesus into their hearts to be saved…is not. If you asked Jesus into your heart because you were told that is what you have to do to become a Christian, you were mis-informed.”
“People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment.”
(“Ten reasons NOT to ask Jesus into your heart” – By Todd Friel)
Friel’s problem is that he strongly advises people to not pray anything like the sinners’ prayer. This is based upon his calvinist belief that God has chosen unconditionally from the beginning of time those who would be saved (the elect of God), thereby condemning those who were not chosen to an eternity in hell. Calvinists believe that man has no free will to change God’s choice in this matter, and thus are either saved or lost for all eternity. This belief renders the sinners’ prayer obsolete, for what point is it to pray such a prayer if you can never change what God has chosen for you? Whatever the calvinist God chooses for you is your destiny for eternity, and no sinners’ prayer can ever change that!
(Of course, if you pray a sinners’ prayer and the calvinist God has already decided to “regenerate” you (make you born again), then your sinners’ prayer might be acceptable to the calvinist God. Calvinists believe that you must be born again before you may believe in Christ and be saved. Many won’t readily admit to this but if they are calvinist, then their God must make you alive before you can be saved.)
Note that according to the Bible God does choose those who are saved (the elect); however, this choice is according to His foreknowledge of their decision to be saved. This is what the Bible really teaches: that we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”. (1 Peter 1:2) Calvinists do not believe that we can choose to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, and therefore God doesn’t use foreknowledge to determine such decisions that they (calvinists) claim can never be made anyway. Instead, they teach that such a choice is always made by God alone and never by the person. This is Friel’s heresy.
While many who pray the sinners’ prayer may not actually be saved (easy-believism is a serious problem), there are also many who pray the sinners’ prayer and are saved to the uttermost. The one who genuinely prays the sinners’ prayer and means every bit of it should demonstrate his faith by his resultant works. If his works support his new-found faith in Christ, then we may assume that he is most likely the consequence of a genuine sinners’ prayer. If a person claims to be saved by having prayed the sinners’ prayer, yet shows no works to justify that claimed salvation, then we may assume that his sinners’ prayer was probably just so much hot air, that is, worthless.
While many who pray the sinners’ prayer are as lost as they were before they prayed it, Friel’s problem is that he denies those many who pray the sinners’ prayer who are genuinely saved. This is his heresy. He is half-right, but also half-wrong. And half the truth is not the truth, but a lie. And, as unclean put with clean renders the clean unclean and not the other way (Haggai 2:10-14), lies mixed with truth renders the truth lies and not the other way. A half-truth is always a lie!
Please feel free to comment further on this if you wish. I am always agreeable to discuss any reasonable and genuine comment.
Subject: Todd Friel
Have you gone to Todd Friel about your concerns following the guidelines in Galatians 6:1 and Matthew 18?
Firstly, what exactly is the point of this question? Are you really so concerned for Friel’s well-being, or are you merely trying desperately to find fault with what I do (probably because you cannot find scriptural fault with what I actually say)?
Note that both Galatians 6:1 and especially Matthew 18:15-17 refer to how we should approach a Christian brother (or sister) when a disagreement may disrupt our fellowship together. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee ….. (Matthew 18:15)
It does not have to apply in general to all mankind, especially those who are heretics and apostates.
Friel is clearly not my brother in Christ, for if he is Christian, then I am most certainly lost, and vice-versa. He has greatly offended me by informing me (via his website, of course) that because I prayed a sinners’ prayer to be saved, then I will perish on the day of judgment. He says clearly that “People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment”. Did Friel come personally to me about his concerns regarding my lost state as he obviously sees it?
In documents on my website, I have stated a number of times that calvinist doctrines are not compatible with biblical doctrines. Calvinists teach that you must be born again before you can believe in Christ and be saved, yet the Bible simply teaches that you must believe in Christ in order to be saved. These two “gospels” are diametrically opposed to each other and therefore cannot be compatible without a great deal of compromise. That is why calvinists teach that if you are not a calvinist, then you have a lesser understanding of the Bible. They know that there is indeed much conflict between the two belief systems.
For example, Calvinism is the Gospel and to teach Calvinism is in fact to preach the Gospel. It is questionable whether a dogmatic theology which is not Calvinistic is truly Christian. Arthur C. Custance, The Sovereignty of Grace (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1979), p. 302.
Or Al Mohler: If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured committed churches, your theology is just going end up basically being Reformed, basically something like this new Calvinism (http://www.newcalvinist.com/albert-mohler-and-hip-hop-culture/)
Or “any compromise of Calvinism is a step towards humanism.” Kenneth G. Talbot and W. Gary Crampton, Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism (Edmonton: Still Waters Revival Books, 1990), p. 3
Or Boettner: Some have declared—and rightly we believe—that there is no consistent middle ground between Calvinism and Atheism. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination P 244)
Or the comment passed on to me this morning where Person 1 says “I’m not calvinist or arminian. I just believe in the Bible.” Person 2 slaps him over the face and says, “You’re a calvinist, then!” Sounds just like the way calvinists evangelize the lost, doesn’t it!
Our church ministry seeks to expose the truth concerning the lies taught by heretics, especially calvinists. There is no requirement for a biblical Christian to personally express these views to heretics before exposing their lies. After all, many calvinists avow that because I’m not a calvinist, then at best I’m not biblical and at worst I’m going to hell. Not one calvinist has expressed a desire to discuss my “heresy” personally with me from a biblical point of view. (They do, however, quote all the calvinists they can think of, from MacArthur to Piper to Sproul and beyond, to “prove” that I’m not acceptable to calvinists.) Friel obviously believes I’m going to perish in hell because I dared ask Jesus Christ to save me to the uttermost.
So, as long as I am accurately portraying his beliefs (and I do that by quoting him word-for-word as much as possible), then I am entitled to do so. If you have a problem with the accuracy or truth of anything I have said, then please let me know. And keep it scriptural; remember sola scriptura – the Bible alone. If I have misrepresented Friel in any way, please let me know, but be both scriptural and logical. So far no-one has yet been able to challenge me on biblical grounds.
I trust that this answers your query satisfactorily. I thank you for your comment and request that if you have more discussion on this matter, please feel free to reply to this comment.
Subject: THE NOTION THAT “ASKING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST INTO YOUR HEART” AS BEING HERETICAL
In The Lord Jesus Christ, I greet you! I started reading your comments on Pastor Todd Friel and other’s error concerning “Asking The Lord Jesus to come into one’s heart”. I too KNOW that their denouncing the practice of the “Sinner’s Prayer” and the subject is in error. Didn’t THE LORD JESUS say in Luke 11:13 “…how much more will your Heavenly Father give The Holy Spirit to him that ASK?” Furthermore, doesn’t Romans 8:9 refer to The Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of Christ”? Apparently, when we repent and ask for forgiveness, using such verbiage as “Oh Lord Jesus, won’t you forgive me and come into my heart” FULFILLS THESE TWO PASSAGES! Now, I know that there is false teaching that is genuinely dangerous which lead people to act like a poly-parrot and repeat after the evangelist a particular sincere prayer, and then, “Wella’, you’re saved if you sincerely meant what you said. Not our prayers, remorse, or squeezing ourselves of every drop of faith we muster will save us, GOD SAVES! The Lord calls and draws us, we obediently respond accordingly, and HE saves us. Many a person have complied with what they thought was “the right” tap dance, only to become disgruntled later on and say, “it didn’t take”! So, we need a BIBLICAL balance in rightly dividing God’s Holy Word. May The Lord God bless you and thanks!!! (Interested in your feedback!)
Thank you for your encouraging comment. Yes, it is abundantly clear that we do have the free will to choose this day whom we will serve. And it is also just as clear that God does indeed call and draw us toward His salvation. But, John 12:32 says that Jesus drew all to Himself on the cross, which means that all may come if they choose to do so, yet many do not come. Therefore, there must be free will to resist the calling and drawing of God. Calvinists claim that John 6:44 proves their unconditional election, saying that all whom God draws will come in faith, yet that can only be true if man has no free will to resist God’s drawing. Otherwise, if all are drawn, then all must come if there is no free will. So, without free will, calvinists have locked themselves into a universalist salvation logic.
Todd Friel is merely teaching the calvinist line that says that man has no free will in salvation. If you take free will out of the equation, then man has no choice in accepting or rejecting God’s salvation. Free will requires God to foreknow from the start all decisions of all mankind from beginning to end. And the biblical predestination of man is according to an election (choosing) of God based upon His foreknowledge of man’s decisions. This is what 1 Peter 2:1 clearly teaches – Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.
But without free will, foreknowledge becomes unnecessary. The calvinist God then just chooses his elect people to be predestinated for heaven, and the rest he predestines for hell. This is the calvinist gospel in a nutshell. You are either going to heaven or you’re going to hell; one or the other is your destiny and you will go where the calvinist God tells you to go. And he decided who would be on each list from the beginning; you literally have no say in the matter! The calvinist God’s will is the only will in the universe – this is their definition of his sovereignty.
Of course, many who do pray the sinners’ prayer are not saved because they didn’t believe in their hearts that it was true. Romans 10:9 makes it clear: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. It must be a decision of the heart as well. If it is just parroted words to save you without the heart to believe in it, then that person is not saved at all. On the other hand, it is hard to see how we may call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) without praying something like the sinners’ prayer.
Being saved is not an easy way out; in fact, it is the hard road, the tough road of suffering that we are called to, according to 1 Peter 2:21 – For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. And, it is the measure of the godly Christian that he or she suffer tribulation for their belief in Christ (2 Timothy 3:12). This is not salvation for the faint-hearted. We must take up our own crosses and follow Jesus or else we cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:27), nor are we worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38). Many parrot-off the sinners’ prayer but refuse to take up their crosses. Many refuse to let go of the world; like Demas, their love for the world is too great (2 Timothy 4:10). So I’d agree with you that for many the gospel “didn’t take” because, as you so rightly point out, “we need a BIBLICAL balance in rightly dividing God’s Holy Word.” (as per 2 Timothy 2:15)
But a simple sinners’ prayer can bring salvation to the uttermost, as long as it involves genuine repentance and a desire for forgiveness (as you have rightly pointed out). For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Also note that when we pray the sinners’ prayer, the final decision still rests with God to accept our plea for forgiveness. This is what faith is all about, our trust in the One who makes such great promises. Yes, God will save to the uttermost all who call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him (Hebrews 7:25). So when we call out to Him for salvation, He will answer and He will save us, for our faith trusted in God who promises this when we cry out to Him.
So yes, the sinners’ prayer can save to the uttermost but only if we believe it in our hearts as well as our mouths. And, as long as our works support our faith, for James 2:17 says that faith without works is dead. If we believe in Christ for salvation, then our lives will demonstrate that. We are not saved by works, but our works should show that we are saved.
May God bless you as you seek to serve Him through rightly dividing the word of truth.