An Offender For a Word (What I Said And What They Made of What I Said)…

For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:  That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.( Isaiah 29:20-21)

And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying,  We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.  But neither so did their witness agree together.  And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?  But he held his peace, and answered nothing  (Mark 15:57-61)

I often teach people that there is no concept of “unconditional love” taught in scripture. The term is not biblical, it comes from the field of humanistic psychology, and has seeped into virtually all of the evangelical church, diluting discipleship, counseling and evangelism.

Don’t get me wrong. By denying “unconditional love” I am not saying that there was or is anything I could ever do to merit God’s love. There was nothing in me or you that  compelled God to love us, He loved us “freely, without a cause” and Jesus died for our sins before we were even born.  God’s love is a profound mystery, it is powerfully and truly amazing to me.

We can only receive the Love of God, and abide in it. It is always true that “We love him because He loved us first…” . Loving God is always a response to his initiative.

But it is not true that God’s love is unconditional. Divine love is not “love without limits and boundaries”. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but do we not all agree that any person who spurns the offer of salvation will never experience the Love of God?

A Christian who denies that personal sin alters the relationship with God is living in deception, and presumption, as John’s epistle warned us ,

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.( I John 1:5-10)

The basic precondition for fellowship with God is “walking in the light”. It is not the attainment of perfection, rather it is the willingness to be known as you truly are before God, and to come into the basic moral agreement with God, that sin is transgression and is odious.

What a wonder that sinners came come to God and find forgiveness and acceptance!

But the psychologized teaching that would remove all conditions and boundaries leads men to presumption. A good many evangelicals are dangerously close to the outlook of the dying French atheist, who when asked “What if you find out you were wrong about God?”, He answered, “God will forgive me, thats his business!”.

See what I am saying ? This kind of “Unconditional love”was never emphasized and taught by the Apostles, it is very much a part of the invasion of humanistic psychology into the church which commenced in the late 1960s and has virtually taken over Christian counseling and even seeped into preaching as common wisdom.

That is what I have long taught, and that is in a nutshell why I have emphasized it, to deflect deception and presumption and to encourage a healthy Love, which is mixed with reverent fear of God.

But recently it came to my attention that such teachings of mine have deeply disturbed people, they now have to be helped to overcome my teaching, it took them a long time to be able to get to the point where they could trust God and feel loved by Him, because of their exposure to this teaching. One fellow Pastor thinks I should leave the ministry and prays for the demise of my church. I am considered a “legalist”. another minister and Bible teacher told me that “I scare him” !

What I said was simply this,”there is no such thing as the unconditional love of God… those who spurn Gods offer of salvation,based upon Grace(Love unearned) will never be able to experience God’s love, and that there are limits and boundaries to it.”

What has been made of what I said? That salvation is by works?  That one can never be secure or have assurance of salvation? Is that what I taught over the years?

Jesus experienced this at his own trial. His own words were twisted and distorted , as though he profaned the Holy Temple, when he said “Destroy this Temple and I will Raise it up again in three days”, referring to his own body. No one asked him to explain it at his trial, they simply rushed to the conclusion that He had blasphemed…they made him into a serious offender for a Word.

Even though they couldn’t get the story straight, the High Priest of Israel gave the twisters of Jesus Word full credibility, because the narrative pleased their own Agenda. This is very much in keeping with the Spirit of this Age, the cynical Word Twisting Post Modern Spirit which demonizes good people by willing distortion of their own Words.

People are doing it in the secular world as well; good men’s careers are ruined when words or phrases are misinterpreted and distorted to make them racists or homophobes or mysogynists.

Isaiah says they do it to silence him who “reproves in the gate”,because reproof of any kind is seen as “judgment;l and legalistic” so  they reprove the reprover and strip away all legitimate authority, by playing “gotcha!” Jesus lived in such times and so do we now.

Another thing I have taught that has lent itself to very much distortion, is the fact that all sin is a form of denying Christ. 

It seemed pretty strait forward and simple to me, because denying Christ simply means saying “No” to Christ himself.

There is almost little or no attempt these days to truly define sin in all of its hideous deformity, in the current evangelical church. Sin is truly the ‘Evil of evils”, something to be recognized in its true nature and feared as well as shunned. Secret sins especially are dangerous cankers, tumors capable of sapping all life and killing Christians, cutting them off from Christ. One could spend a lot of time teaching on the nature of sin from a lot of different angles.

But what some one heard me say was “If you sin, you have denied Chrit and there is no salvation for you from then on…you are like a person put in a position of martyrdom that succumbed and denied your Saviour”. 

Obviously anyone who would teach that would be guilty of heresy and would have denied Christ themselves. I have never taught anything like that, the thought is odious to me.

No one came and asked me if I taught that, (All of my teachings are publicly available and I have written ten books and never taught any such thing). In thirty plus years of teaching I have emphasized justification and substitution by Jesus.

The folly in this is in the definition of denying Christ. What does it mean to deny Christ? Is it always a “once and final ” renunciation?  Or does it simply mean to say “No” to the one who loved you and bought you from your sins?

But for some, it fits the narrative, that I am a “false teacher…a legalist, and hurtful to those of a sensitive conscience”.

I do not bring this up for any other reason than to make of this a teachable moment. I am able to explain my self in a non hostile environment, (So far the Key board doesn’t interrupt me or talk back to me!) and also to warn that this is one of the ways Satan is currently attacking true Christians.

We Win, through the One who won for us! Maranatha!

 

 

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14 Responses to An Offender For a Word (What I Said And What They Made of What I Said)…

  1. Mellany McKenzie says:

    wow!
    I do not really know much at all, but I was caught up in the lies and deceptions of the New Apostolic Reformation. It was a disaster and I walked away from God but b/c of His mercy and grace I came back.
    We truly live in perilous times.
    The God of the Hebrew Bible is the same as the God of the New Testament.
    I eagerly await His return, maybe even today.
    I share your bible teachings with family and friends, b/c to me, they resonate to my spirit and comfort me.
    They always seem to come when I need encouragement.
    Most of my life I walked as a carnal Christian but my most reverent prayer is to finish well.
    I cannot change my past but I can walk in obedience with Christ today.
    It is a relief for me to realize that the Bible is about Christ and not me.
    Written for His glory not mine.
    It is not mystical but literal and therefore I repent just like the Bible tells me to do so.
    I am a child of God but my God is a consuming fire and those who serve Him must do with reverence and awe.
    Kind of like the whole earth is silent and waiting for the other shoe to drop
    Personally I hope it is the Rapture and that I have a crown to lay at His feet:)
    blessings in Christ
    Maranatha!
    Mellany

  2. standingfirm says:

    Pastor Bill you are in good company. Brother Dave Hunt was also attacked at times for teaching the truth. The whole counsel of God with no “psychological spin” on it. I was always considered to have a sensitive conscience and not one of any of your sermons caused me to be scared or offended in any way. I have been reading and or listening to your sermons for many, many years. There are many pastors now a days that are guilty of “psychoheresy”. They mix psychology with biblical truth and serve it up on a platter to please the listeners itching ears. This blog post you wrote spoke the whole truth to me. You are one hundred percent correct on “unconditional love”. We meet God’s condition to be saved. Believe on Jesus that he came to save us and confess our sins. John 14:6 pretty well sums it up. The whole world would be saved if they did not meet God’s condition to believe that He sent His only begotten Son and confess their sins. The world does not want to be accountable to their creator. Martin & Deidre Bobgan’s ministry “psychoHeresy Awareness Ministries” shows how psychology has crept into the church the past thirty years. Churches are teaching people to “meditate” with all kinds of different techniques draped in Christian terminology. Perhaps the folks attacking your sermons have passed through that paradigm shift and view the biblical truth you teach as “dangerous”. I have seen in my twenty five year walk with the Lord, the sheep who always hold fast to the truth in the bible, always are the ones who are attacked and slandered including myself. I always remember Dr. Joseph Chambers of Paw Creek Ministries saying that in the end days we will be hated with a vicious hatred. I love your sermons and know that you preach the Lord’s truth. Keep up the awesome work for Jesus! Much love in Christ.

  3. Dave Stewart says:

    Mr Randles thank you. People often get caught up in the distractions of this world, this psychologised world. Deception, the war in heavenly places obviously hasn’t relented, but satan is continuing to rage against Truth in Christ. People focussing on this present journey seem to forget this is not their destination, we are meant to be children of the living God and our home is in Christ, in heaven. A destination sanctification is working in concert with the purpose and will of God. I thank God for your ministry. I am based in Scotland, your teaching is Christ centred and is food for me as I seek to grow in the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my salvation. Maranatha!

  4. Twisting our words to attack is something that the devils are so adept at doing.
    All that preach and teach the Real Gospel of Christ get slammed.

  5. marika sullivan says:

    I read your blog for the truth that is hard to find elsewhere. I don’t want my ears tickled, I want life eternal! Thank you.

  6. ali says:

    I will only add a heartfelt AMEN to these comments. Sadly the church today, for the most part, has twisted the gospel until few know or care to know The Truth. Preach own dear brother, preach on!

  7. Well said, Bill, well said!

  8. Maureen Leigh says:

    Amen marika; I don’t want my ears tickled either; what is the point of that? There are some ( I know some of them) who want a nice tidy message with no challenges or upsetting ideas that we are sinners.
    I was told one of my husbands’ friends was very ill, close to death. I went to see him and his wife and prayed with them, taking some Christian literature for them to read. Later on I took something else, his wife came running after me saying “we don’t want this kind of thing, we will do it our way”
    Later that year I went to the church near where I live as I had left another church. The wife was part of the church hierarchy, dressed in a long gown ( I think it’s called a surplice or similar) She wouldn’t meet my eyes. How safe in your sin if you don’t truly follow the Lord !

    Pastor Bill, thank you for being a true shepherd, you help and bless us all. May the Lord bless you and your ministry .

  9. Patricia Hanna says:

    This begs the question: why are people desperate to believe that God’s love is unconditional?
    While it is true that the gospel invitation is OPEN to everyone (Revelation 22:17 “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”), there are nevertheless CONDITIONS set forth for entering into a saving relationship with God (“repentance unto life” Acts 11:18, faith in the person and work of our Lord and public profession of that faith-Romans 10:9-10). There are also serious and repeated warnings in the New Testament that we are to abide in Christ, be faithful unto death, and to beware lest there be found in any of us an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. In other words, CONDITIONS for our continued walk with Him.
    In what sense does God love a person who willfully rejects His offer of eternal life? In what sense does God love one who has departed from fellowship with Him to pursue a life of depravity, ensnaring others by his sin and inflicting spiritual damage to the souls of others who follow his sinful example? Is His love for such people unconditional? Will they receive the inheritance reserved in heaven for the saints (1 Peter 1:4)? If not, then how can it be said that His love is “unconditional?”

    • Patricia Hanna says:

      My questions are not merely rhetorical. I want to understand why some churchgoers define saving faith as a one-time assent to a gospel invitation, which confers eternal life as an irrevocable commodity now owned by the individual; and other churchgoers define faith as an abiding relationship with Christ, wherein we enter into eternal life because the life is in the Son and we are in Him (1 John 5:11-12). If we reject the Son, aren’t we rejecting the love of God? If we depart from the Son, aren’t we departing from the love of God?

      • Dmarie says:

        Amen, amen, amen!!!!!!

        And, if we are wrong to believe in ‘conditional eternal security’ (based upon whether or not we continue to abide/remain in Jesus and His goodness)…. what harm is that to us? We are just encouraged to stay on the Narrow Road.
        However, the result of those who believe in unconditional eternal security is the temptation to ‘turn God’s grace into a license for sin’, believing that ‘all is forgiven’ in the end. This, to me, sounds like the enemy at work. “Did God REALLY say/warn???…”
        Let the Word of God be our Authority!
        Jesus has TOLD us – why would we choose to ignore His warnings?

        And, Bill:
        “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Galatians 4:16
        Do not grow WEARY in the work He has given for you to do…
        so precious for those of us who desire the Bread of The Word 🙂

  10. jonahzsong says:

    Be encouraged in trials. Continue to walk in the Faith received by the Sealing of the Spirit. L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine upon you and yours.

  11. Pastor Randle: RC Sproul agrees with you:

    “It has become fashionable in evangelical circles to speak somewhat glibly of the unconditional love of God. It is certainly a pleasing message for people to hear and conforms to a certain kind of political correctness. In our desire to communicate to people the sweetness of the gospel, the readiness of God to cover our sins with forgiveness, and the incredible depth of His love displayed on the cross, we indulge in a hyperbolic expression of the scope and extent of His love.

    Where in Scripture do we find this notion of the unconditional love of God? If God’s love is absolutely unconditional, why do we tell people that they have to repent and have faith in order to be saved? God sets forth clear conditions for a person to be saved. It may be true that in some sense God loves even those who fail to meet the conditions of salvation, but that subtlety is often missed by the hearer when the preacher declares the unconditional love of God. People hear that God will continue to love them and accept them, no matter what they do or how they live. We might as well declare an unabashed universalism as to declare the unconditional love of God without a clear and careful qualification of what that means.

    An interesting contrast can be seen by comparing the preaching of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century evangelists with modern evangelists. The stress in earlier centuries was on the wrath of God directed toward impenitent sinners. Indeed, Jonathan Edwards’s preaching has been described as evangelistic preaching that employed a “scare theology.” That approach has given way to a more positive emphasis on God’s love. Of course, Edwards also declared the love of God, but not without reminding sinners that as long as they remained impenitent, they were exposed to the wrath of God and were in fact heaping up wrath against the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5).

    Edwards warned his people that they were more repugnant to God in their sin than rebellious subjects were to their princes. This was part and parcel of proclaiming the gospel of reconciliation. There can be no talk of reconciliation without first establishing that there is some prior alienation or estrangement. Parties who are not estranged do not need reconciliation. The biblical concept of reconciliation presupposes a condition of estrangement between God and man.” (RC Sproul, An interesting contrast can be seen by comparing the preaching of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century evangelists with modern evangelists. The stress in earlier centuries was on the wrath of God directed toward impenitent sinners. Indeed, Jonathan Edwards’s preaching has been described as evangelistic preaching that employed a “scare theology.” That approach has given way to a more positive emphasis on God’s love. Of course, Edwards also declared the love of God, but not without reminding sinners that as long as they remained impenitent, they were exposed to the wrath of God and were in fact heaping up wrath against the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5).

    Edwards warned his people that they were more repugnant to God in their sin than rebellious subjects were to their princes. This was part and parcel of proclaiming the gospel of reconciliation. There can be no talk of reconciliation without first establishing that there is some prior alienation or estrangement. Parties who are not estranged do not need reconciliation. The biblical concept of reconciliation presupposes a condition of estrangement between God and man.” RC Sproul, Is God’s Love Unconditional? Ligonier Ministries

  12. Julie says:

    I agree with you Pastor Bill. Not that my agreement means anything but I believe what you have said here is true and can withstand intense Scriptural examination and the fruits being borne by those subscribing to these false misleading idolatrous views of Lord Jesus also speak for themselves and testify of Scripture. As one of the least of the flock I see this same thing growing rapidly among believers surrounding me and its wicked fruit. It’s very hard to bear these days and encouraging for me just to draw ever closer to my Lord as the path gets lonelier. Keep on doing what you do in the Lord – holding fast His Truth and expounding it to the scattered sheep like myself and many others I’m sure who so value and appreciate the fresh breath of real Biblical teaching and hungry for this real bread. God bless and keep you.

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