20/10/19 – Freewill even by deception? (Or Deception even by freewill?)
Many Christians today seem to be far too sympathetic to calvinism, especially considering that calvinism is so unbiblical. Why do God’s people not see the problems of calvinism? (Or with any other of the countless heresies available today?) I do know that many of these sympathetic “Christians” are probably not genuine Christians; in fact, the vast majority of those who declare themselves to be Christian today are most likely not! However, while these wannabe “Christians” are easily deceived (not having any truth to begin with!), why are allegedly Spirit-filled Christians so often deceived by doctrines that can be easily proved wrong by the Bible? It begs the question: are Christians today choosing deception because they have the freewill to do so? Do Christians today think that they have so much freedom that they can pick and choose what they want to believe? That perhaps they are free to interpret anything to do with the Bible in such a way to suit one’s belief in whatever point one is trying to get across. That is, you may interpret biblical doctrine so that it supports your belief!
This appears to be what calvinists believe, according to a calvinist from Living Springs church who wrote this to me after I informed him of MacArthur’s incorrect usage of the Granville Sharp rule to “justify” his heresy..
I must admit I am not too familiar with the Granville sharp rule and you have certainly done your research which I thank you for.
I should do some researching myself when I get the opportunity, I’m thinking perhaps the rule itself can be interpreted in a way to suit one’s belief in whatever point one is trying to get across. There is one thing I am certain of and I have no reason to think otherwise and that is that I see no evidence that Macarthur would purposely mis-interpret anything to make his point. I have read and listened to probably six or so different teachings from Macarthur and I see no error in his sermons or lectures, he is a widely respected scholar theologian world wide the only criticism seems to come from free will believing Christians which is fine but some of the criticism is out of line and I know we will find out the truth one day. But until someone can show me hard facts about some of the things Macarthur has supposedly said or done I will dismiss them. For some reason the thought of God sovoreignly choosing his elect before the foundation of the world and therefore man having nothing to do with his own salvation seems to really rile a lot of Christians, I wonder if it’s not man’s pride sticking out it’s ugly head without realizing it (subconciuosly), I know that I was like that, thinking hang on I’m the who chose God, it was me, me, me God gave me that privaledge, where I now see that it is all of God’s doing and none of mine, I hope you get my point. (20/01/17) Where did he get all his propaganda? Sounds too much like someone’s been feeding him a big dose of MacArthur heresy! Gracewest church?
He even seems to believe that what he is saying is logical and correct! Yet even a child with little education and minimal Bible knowledge could see that there’s a problem here somewhere. It is clear that he is applying his freewill decision-making a bit too freely (especially for a calvinist who must see freewill as a nasty word!). Instead of his god being more sovereign, he is depicting a less-sovereign god whose truth may be manipulated according to whatever point one is trying to get across! (And note that he blames all this disagreement on those Christians such as me who believe in free will! You see, calvinists can never be wrong, so the first thing they always do is to find some way of blaming the opposition.)
This does indicate that someone who did once appear to be a genuine Christian could actually choose to believe something that is so anti-Christian. Yet, how can this be if the Christian is allegedly led by the Holy Spirit? Unless, of course, the Christian has the free will to resist the Holy Spirit (which is another problem for the calvinists who claim that the will of God’s Spirit cannot be resisted). In order to check this out, we need to observe responses by those whom we would consider to be genuine Christians. This confused calvinist may not have been a genuine Christian, and tares do exist. Tares, in order to be tares, must be so similar to real Christians that it is difficult, maybe impossible, to clearly tell the difference (unless their fruit may be identified). It is possible that he was/is a tare. But then, there must have been genuine Christians somewhere at Living Springs? But who? Was the whole church comprised of tares and the lost? This seems a bit hard to believe, as there is at least one person at Living Springs that I would be reasonably assured is a Christian. Yet, if he isn’t a tare, then why does he, along with the whole church, appear to have supported the heretical calvinist push by Gracewest?
I know that the church leadership at Living Springs, in general, is apparently full of tares; who among their leadership could be seen as genuine Christians? This above-mentioned “guaranteed” Christian was one of the leaders, but he apparently didn’t last long in leadership capacity once Gracewest made their push. Another person might also have been seen as definitely Christian but did try to put a stumbling block in the way of the truth being at least checked out by the members; this is not a good thing for a Christian to do! But it is indeed hard to accept that there was not one single genuine Christian among the whole church membership. Personally I believe that there were at least a few genuine Christians among the members there.
So let us assume that there were a few Christians among that whole sorry mob there. Maybe even the afore-mentioned convert to calvinism was one! (I had truly thought he was a genuine Christian until I found out the extent of his non-biblical doctrines that he was trying to convert us to. Talk about false teachers!) So why did they all seem to be taken in by the calvinist lies of that church of tares, Gracewest? That would have to assume that Christians can be deceived by satan’s lies, even in matters of biblical doctrine. If they can be deceived, then they must be somehow reprogramming incoming lies as truth, something that you would like to believe that Christians cannot do (or should not do). But surely God would ensure that His people could see such lies and deceptions, wouldn’t He? The whole matter here has to be seen in the light of man’s freewill to choose. Does God permit His people to choose wrong, even permitting them to choose to think that it is right to do so, when He also says that it is sin? In order to do that, Christians would have to be able to choose evil while considering it to be good, or else they would know that they themselves were disobedient. And yet they seem to think that they are more genuinely serving and obeying God via these heresies.
This would then assume that Christians could be deceived to believe those things that are opposed to God, things that are opposed to the truth of the Bible, yet at the same time thinking that they are actually truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says that there will be a great apostasy (Greek “apostasia“) before the end-times and the man of perdition is revealed. Will this happen because God’s people are so deluded that they will (of their own free will) believe the lies of false teachers? It does seem likely. It is one thing to be disobedient; it is another thing to disobey while thinking that you are actually obeying God! Can Christians disobey God yet think they are fully committed to serving and obeying Him? If so, then this opens a can of worms: how can Christians ever be certain that what they fully believe to be right is indeed right, if, by their own freewill, they may choose to do evil yet declaring it good in God’s eyes?
If Christians can have the free will to choose to do evil while considering it to be good, then they must have chosen at some stage (again by their free will) to be deceived concerning the truth. And there’s really only one way this can happen: that lies may come in disguised as the truth and they haven’t seen through the disguise. However, if Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (who promises to lead them into all truth), then why are they not seeing the lies through the disguise? Is there a fundamental issue here that is effectively putting blinkers on their spiritual eyes? It is as if the lies come in and are interpreted as truth for some reason. This implies a reprogramming of their thinking such that incoming lies can be interpreted as truth, and for Christians that means truth as they “perceive” the Bible to teach. You’d think that they’d then be able to read the Bible and see clearly for themselves the problem here, yet they seem to read the Bible and not see that what they claim to believe to be truth is just not the same as the truth taught in the Bible. The reprogramming might be subtle in some cases, but far too many “reprogrammed” Christians just cannot seem to see serious conflict between some false beliefs and the Bible. (Probably far too many are just not testing all things against biblical truth, so how can they know the truth when they rely on man to tell them instead of reading it for themselves in the Bible?)
Can a Christian, then, believe something to be true even when it consequently causes a basic biblical doctrine to be interpreted as false? For example, can a Christian accept that a belief in the lack of free will for man in salvation is somehow compatible with the biblical doctrine of whosoever will may come for salvation as taught in Romans 10:13? These two doctrines are incompatible in the extreme. The one denies the other. Which one you believe in determines the gospel you believe in. It’s as if churches today are full of blind people following blind leaders. Are the churches today so empty of genuine Christians? Or are the genuine Christians so deceived?
Clearly such Christians would have to be susceptible to deception; that is, they do not realise they have been deceived, or else they’d understand evil as being evil. But they shouldn’t “understand” evil as being good! (Note the twisted thinking of calvinist A.W.Pink who said: though God does not esteem evil to be good, yet He accounts it good that evil should be.) This assumes that their thinking has been taken over to some degree by influences that can significantly influence how they perceive the world around them. (I’m not talking about demon-possession, for Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. However, demonic influence does exist for Christians who sin. It is impossible to accept that Christians can sin and yet not have to pay the cost at any time! You are the servant of whomever you serve!) No longer is it black and white, good and evil. Now there are shades of good and evil. There is no absolute evil anymore; it’s all comparative! Christians no longer seem to make a stand on “This is what the Bible teaches! – end of story!” It’s as if they add the caveat: “as long as it agrees with what I want to believe.”
This means that even if someone literally preaches the Bible to them, they may understand something different to what the Bible seems to be clearly saying. It’s like talking two different languages; what some might mean by eternal life, salvation, born again, etc, is not the same as the Bible teaches. They say that if you put on the glasses of Calvin or of any calvinist hero, you’ll understand it better. That is, without such glasses you cannot understand fully what the Bible teaches.
As one comment to our website says: Calvinism simply quantifies many passages of the bible, and the doctrines of Calvin or doctrines of the Bible. He merely helps to magnify theology. (8/07/18) In other words, calvinism makes the Bible more organised such that you can understand it better; biblical theology is “magnified”. Calvinism promises so many things, including having a higher view of God’s sovereignty, a greater appreciation of God’s grace, in fact, it’s a wonder anyone was able to understand any of the Bible properly until Calvin came along!! “Calvin, the saviour of all that believe in his Institutes!”
If someone comes in with another gospel such as calvinism, why don’t churches like Living Springs (who are allegedly so biblical and fundamentalist; at least that is what they claim) recognise the conflict with biblical truth? One answer is that we have been conditioned today to not vilify the views and beliefs of others. Instead of condemning outright such blatant heresies, we listen politely to their rhetoric and promise to think it over. We are afraid of being seen as divisive, that is, using the Bible to divide the people of God. And if someone comes in highly recommended by a local church leader (read here the calvinist pastor of an allegedly “Christian” church), then people might be afraid to offend that church leader by declaring his opinion to be unbiblical. (Or are afraid to dig too deeply in case they find something unsavoury. “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” they cry!) The trouble is that if that recommending person is a calvinist, then that person generally won’t come out into the open and declare what he truly believes, even if you did ask the hard questions. If they did declare the whole truth at once, others might see the truth clearly, but by declaring it bit by bit, building lies upon established common ground all the time, it becomes difficult to define lies from truth. This is typical calvinist evangelistic behaviour! For many Christians, by the time they know much of the calvinism heresy, they have absorbed enough to cloud their judgment on it. This is how cults work: introduce lies slowly, based upon agreed common ground, and in occult manner (secret, hidden) until enough has soaked into their thinking to affect (that is, reprogram) what they hear.
The big question is: can Christians be affected like this, and, if so, why hasn’t God prevented such heresy from being absorbed by those whom He indwells? It does come back to freedom of will, however. Even when God saves someone, He doesn’t take away their free will. Even those who have sacrificed their whole life on the altar (as per Romans 12:1) still retain some measure of free will. But, even though by this stage God does control your eternal future, you are still able to slip and fall into sin, yet not able to be utterly cast down (Psalm 37:23-24). Even when God controls your life, you still may choose but not “utterly”. It is probable that someone who has given themselves to God as a living sacrifice would not (should not!) be very susceptible to heretical pressures from outside. But in today’s world with its emphasis upon comparative truth and a refusal to be absolute in condemnation of others regarding beliefs, we have been hobbled in our ability to declare absolute truth to still be absolute truth. No longer is the gospel God’s outright condemnation of man. Instead it has to be watered down so that it doesn’t offend someone else who might take you to court if you declare them to be unacceptable to God in any way. These days we choose what we say so carefully so that we may live to see another day of declaring the watered-down truth. We have become anaemic preachers of the truth of the Bible, and we are more willing to accept others who are likewise not too judgmental. After all, we are all different, aren’t we? (“More mature” now? Hardly!)
However, the Bible says that if we preach the word truthfully, we are going to greatly offend those who disagree with us.
2 Corinthians 2:15-17 – 15For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16To the one [we are] the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who [is] sufficient for these things? 17For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
For fear of giving offense, churches today have given over their right to speak openly and honestly concerning biblical truth. Some might risk losing so much, including their jobs, especially if the one who pays your wages is vehemently opposed to the Bible!
So let’s look at Living Springs. If what I have said already is true, then how did they get to this sorry state? If Christians had to decide by their free wills to accept deception, thus turning lies into truth, then what might cause this? What deception might they accept as “normal”? There are a number of ways a Christian might, of their own free will, accept deception, and many of these may be found in the majority of “Christian” churches today. They include the ubiquitous rock band with its heavy drum rhythms which were originally to be found in African voodoo ceremonies; this on its own is destroying the discernment of so many Christians today. However, the list of demonic deceptions also includes martial arts, yoga, tai chi, astrology, freemasonry (all found in many churches today), plus a widespread acceptance of the sleeping-around drugged-up life-style. In fact, there are so many doorways to deception in churches today that it is difficult to avoid. And it is apparent that Living Springs has offended in more than one of these ways.
So what can be done to assist them to see the truth. Those at Living Springs do seem to be unable to discern biblical truth from the calvinist lies they have been hit with. They are either reprogrammed Christians or else, as non-Christians, they are without even a hint of guidance from God. If we assume that there are some Christians there, then what must be done to rescue them? We could pray for them to change their minds, yet if they have chosen by their own free wills, then it is unlikely that God would overrule such free will decisions. This should apply even if they have been deceived into choosing unwisely, for even such deception would have to be the consequence of their free will decisions somewhere in the past. It has to be true that God will not generally overrule the free will of others in order to answer our prayers for them.
We cannot pray that God save someone else and expect it to happen because ultimately that person himself must make a free will decision to be saved. (And even calvinists with their non-free-will heresy cannot ask the calvinist god to save someone because nothing can be changed from what their god has ordained from the beginning of time!) All we as genuine Christians can do is to ask God to reveal His gospel to that person, take away his blindness, allowing him to see the truth. But that person must freely decide to take that step (of calling upon the name of the Lord); no-one else can take that step for him. With Living Springs, we cannot ask and expect that God would make people (even His people) reject the false teachings of calvinism, for if these false teachings are there by the free will of those people, then God cannot be expected to overrule their free will. You can’t make people obey; they have to choose to obey! But we can ask God to open their eyes to the enormity of their rebellion. If they then continue to choose heresy while knowing that God opposes it, then it is on their heads. But, knowing the truth cannot guarantee that they’ll respond correctly, especially if they are reprogramming everything they hear and read.
However, we can ask God to deal with the enemy which here is Gracewest. Like Jehoshaphat laid the enemy problem before God to receive His answer, others may lay this battle down before God. How God answers is up to Him, but if Gracewest is actively attacking God’s people with calvinist heresy (as certainly appears to be the case here), then they may be opposed spiritually. Their free will doesn’t protect their decision-making here. They have already determined to oppose God and His truth, so have already declared war against the church. Christians may oppose such as Gracewest by placing it in God’s hands, and He may decide to overrule Gracewest’s free will (to attack Living Springs) and destroy their efforts, if their opposition to God’s people breaks God’s rules for man’s dominion.
The land at Living Springs is the biggest headache that Gracewest faces (as does Living Springs also). That land was effectively given to God, not by Living Springs but by a group of churches; it is therefore spiritually independent of Living Springs’ jurisdiction. Like Ananias and Sapphira, they will have to leave it there or it will destroy them. You can’t take back from God what has been given (or promised) to Him. Man’s free will can no longer apply when man has given that right over to God. Just as a Christian who gives himself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) has handed over that free will to God, the land given to God can no longer be manipulated by man. While any Christians at Living Springs may decide (by their free wills) to believe in calvinism, or to give control of their church to Gracewest, or to put a false teacher in the pulpit, they have no freedom of will to permit the enemy to control that which has been given to God.
So how is the battle to be fought? It cannot overrule free will decisions of Christians at Living Springs without their support in the matter, unless they have overstepped the boundaries set by God (and this in particular includes the use of the land at Living Springs). But the spiritual battle can be brought to bear fully against Gracewest as their free will decision to take over some measure of control of Living Springs is clearly rebellion against God, and He has the right to overrule free will when it comes to such rebellion. Man has overstepped his dominion in such cases. In particular, if Gracewest makes moves to take over control of the land at Living Springs, then it is likely that God will take steps to oppose them, or to seek their ruin. Man’s dominion does not include open opposition to sovereign God!
The enemy has not only involved his church of tares, Gracewest, in this battle against God’s people, but two local allegedly fundamentalist churches (Living Springs & another one at Melton) have also been infiltrated, with their leadership teams significantly influenced by calvinist heresies. It is obvious that the Living Springs pastor was set up in his position with significant backing from Gracewest; without Gracewest, it is unlikely that he would have achieved his goal of having the responsibility of misleading God’s people! Add to this the apparently antichristian influence of some family members of those in leadership, and the demonic influence of the rock band playing Hillsong garbage, and you have a full house, stacked in favour of satan and his demons. Calvinists can (and do) thrive in such a “positive and welcoming” environment. Haggai 2:10-14 clearly teaches that unclean mixed with clean always produces unclean, and this has happened here.
As for that church at Melton, I never believed that the pastor there had a calling from God. Even his calling acceptance vote was not 100% in favour. I know, for the two of us put in “Abstain” votes when it was put to the church members. We did not vote to call him! We didn’t vote against him either as we were not fully aware of the problems we were to experience after he arrived to take up the position. Soon after he arrived, we left to commence a home church following the commencement of calvinist disintegration of sound teaching at Living Springs. A few months later the Melton pastor visited us to “persuade” us to send our son back to Living Springs to place himself under the authority of the pastor whom we had already observed to be a false shepherd. We refused his offer of mediation! (I was told during that visit that I was suffering from the imaginations of an over-sensitive nature! Why couldn’t he just stop playing with word gymnastics and call me deluded or mad? But then, calvinists love to play verbal gymnastics when defending their heresies!) Soon after this we resigned, no longer willing to trust a pastor who apparently thought so little of our needs as members of his church.
In 2016 we were informed that the Melton church were using Paul Tripp materials in Sunday School; I was reliably informed that he claimed that it was on the advice of Steven Mock, a pastor at Trinity Baptist, Cairns. Then, one or two years later, they had appointed a Biblical Counsellor, who had probably been trained using Paul Tripp materials. Paul Tripp is a new calvinist with much influence in Biblical Counselling training from Westminster Theological Seminary, USA, which is often claimed to be where modern new calvinism developed. (And Biblical Counselling, as well.) We also noted that the pastor of Gracewest has a Master of Arts in Biblical Counselling from MacArthur’s university, and most likely would have studied Paul Tripp materials to get this qualification. He is also qualified, it seems, to train other church leaders to become accredited Biblical Counsellors. (There are so many dots to be joined here connecting bits of this puzzle together.) The battle lines were being drawn up with Living Springs as the centre of battle operations. If genuine Christians do not fight this battle now, then biblically fundamentalist churches in this area will cease to exist soon.
Of course, the church where the Melton pastor came from, which I believe was Trinity Baptist Church, Cairns, has Rob Ham as a pastor. As far as I know, he bears some relationship to Ken Ham of AiG, who grew up in Cairns. It is likely that Trinity’s doctrine has strong calvinist leanings, even though they do not claim to be calvinist, for
(a) they do not acknowledge anywhere that the atonement is unlimited.
(b) while they claim to have no part with various apostasies, this does not include calvinism in any way.
(c) they claim that new birth is necessary for salvation (Point 7); their statement In the total depravity of human nature as a result of the fall of man (Genesis 3) and the necessity of the new birth for salvation, “the new birth” could be rewritten as “regeneration” (which means “born again”), thus “In the total depravity of human nature as a result of the fall of man (Genesis 3) and the necessity of regeneration for salvation. Note that point 5 of their doctrinal statement states that a work of the Holy Spirit is to accomplish regeneration.” (“regeneration” is often a sign of calvinist thinking somewhere.)
(d) Their doctrinal statement also says (Point 3) that The Father knows all things infinitely and infallibly because He has ordained them to be. This is merely a paraphrasing of what Calvin taught: since he (God) foresees the things which are to happen, simply because he has decreed that they are so to happen, it is vain to debate about prescience (that is, “before-knowledge” or foreknowledge), while it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment. (Institutes Bk 3, Ch. 23, Section 6) This is an open denial of God’s foreknowledge as His perfect knowledge of the future, in order that He may know the free will decisions of people to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. As calvinist Piper says: God does not foreknow the free decisions of people to believe in him because there aren’t any such free decisions to know. (“What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism” 1998 revision) These and other evidences demonstrate the calvinist doctrine of Trinity Baptist Church, Cairns.
Thus it is likely that the Melton church pastor is closet calvinist, hiding it until a suitable time.
A bit more research shows Ken Ham to be a bit too involved with The Way of the Master calvinist heresies as taught by Todd Friel, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. The Answers in Genesis website freely advertises Todd Friel books and materials, and Ken Ham has a special webpage on the AiG website advertising special speakers at the 2012 AiG conference. I quote from Ken Ham on this page: Joining me will be a great line-up of speakers, including Todd Friel who is host of Wretched Radio and Wretched TV, Mark Spence of Living Waters Ministry (and dean of Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort’s School of Biblical Evangelism)
Obviously Ken Ham considers Todd Friel to be doctrinally sound. However, Todd Friel, unbiblical and heretical, teaches a demonic calvinist gospel that denies the biblical gospel. He says that anyone who asks Jesus into their heart is still lost and heading for hell! (“Ten Reasons Not to Ask Jesus into Your Heart” Todd Friel) If you associate with heresy, you are probably a heretic!
The AiG doctrinal statement also says: The Holy Spirit enables the sinner to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. This is not biblical at all.
“enable” – to provide (someone) with adequate power, means, opportunity, or authority (to do something) (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/enable)
The Holy Spirit does not enable repentance and faith; He makes it possible by opening people’s eyes to the truth, prompting them to consider choosing repentance and faith as a response to the revealed truth. The Holy Spirit enables a person to respond to the gospel, either positively or negatively! This and other statements (which do not deny limited atonement) appear to be calvinist. And if Ken Ham is so taken with the calvinist heresies of Todd Friel, Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, it is unlikely that he would also be significantly opposed to their heresies.
Truly the church today is rapidly falling away from the truth of the Bible. We very much appear to be in the end times apostasy as spoken of clearly in:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 – 1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, 2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away (apostasia – a falling away; defection; apostasy) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4Who 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.