The Biblical Examiner 
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand 

Summer, 2000

Full Page

In this issue:

In Memory of My Godly Wife, Carol Need
Elections 2000
Antinomianism Illustrated (a letter defending Antinomianism, and condemning a web artical by Pastor Need, "Grace and Law, Is there a conflict."
Errors, Heresies and Sovereignty
Errors and Heresies
Conflicts and Strife (Identifying and Avoiding the Heretic)
The Heretic (defined by Mr. Thomas Taylor, c. 1619)
Bill Gothard and Booklet 52, or Law Resource F
Gothard's Homeschoolers, By Pastor Bob Cosby
Letters &c.
Online Bible
The Death of Victory

Added to Web edition - Gore picks an antichrist as running mate.

Memory of Carol

Jessica, Christina, Ovid, Carol

This EXAMINER is in Memory of my godly wife, Carol Need, who went to be with the Lord at 11:40 AM, June 20, 2000.

This issue (hard copy) was paid for by funds given in memory of Carol. She loved to read, and her heart was in the printing ministry.

(This issue is quite late - spring was spent in the hospital, and after Carol's going home, our youngest daughter and I took a three week "vacation." The Lord willing and if he supplies the funds, we will now publish more frequently.)

The following notes describe Carol better than I can. She was everything mentioned below, and then some. She was the perfect pastor's wife, who spent many hours in prayer and with her children, passing along the Christian faith to them. The following notes, along with her husband, praise her - she was a Godly woman who loved people, and who feared the Lord. (Pro. 31:20.)

From Tim Nash, a man who went to school with Carol:

I remember Carol back in High School as one of the kindest, most gentle and good people I had ever known. She was an angel.

From Pastor Larry Lilly, a man who knew Carol in college before I met her:

In the last two weeks I have walked in the valley of the shadow of death with three families of my dearest friends...
Another was Carol Need the godly wife of a pastor. I have known Carol for almost 30 years. She walked with God raised her family, and stuck by her man through thick and thin. A pastor friend called to make sure that I knew of Carol's homegoing. He told me that just prior to her call she had told her husband, "you are not to preach my funeral". Ovid passed on that task to long time friend Dr. Gene Riker. When Gene called me we talked over things for a while and then in a voice choked with grief Gene said, "Larry, Carol was the finest Christian I have ever known". I know of no one who would dispute that statement.

From Pastor Tom and Jeanette Berry, under whom we served for three years:

Dear Ovid,

Jeanette and I just read your letter to Brother Larry Lilly telling about the homegoing of Carol. He had emailed a copy to us so that we would know. As my title indicates the first impact was one of sadness. Carol was one of the sweetest ladies it has ever been our privilege to know. To that we could add the words "sacrificial" and "dedicated." We also have a pretty good idea of how much you loved her and what a huge part of your life she was. She will be greatly missed by all who had the opportunity of really getting to know her.

Her homegoing is also glorious because her reward is great and she has been received and presented to the heavenly Father by Jesus her Savior and Lord. You alluded to this in your letter and I am sure that this fact ,along with the prospect of a coming glorious reunion is where you are drawing a great deal of your strength in a time of justified grief.

Jeanette and I send our deepest sympathy. We also lift our prayers to "the God of all comfort" to minister His comfort to your heart and the hearts of all who feel the pain of her lost presence the most.

Thank God Jesus came,

From Eva Voshell, a fellow church staff member under Tom Berry:

Ovid, Jessica, Christina,

Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

I've been thinking of this verse all morning. It's a great comfort to know that Carol is with Jesus - but my heart aches for your loss.

Carol was one of a kind. I know her testimony will live on as a legacy to her Lord, her family, and her friends.
So good to know Gene and Dody Riker are there. I'm sure their love and support is invaluable.

Our sympathy and prayers

From Louis Cradduck, who, for seven years, was a lay person where I served as an associate pastor for seven years:

Dearest Brother Need and girls,

Precious Memories, how they linger, how they EVER flood my soul. The memories that we have so many years ago (over 18) of you and Carol do linger within our hearts. We've talked of the two of you so very many times with great fondness. How much we learned from you and your precious wife.

I received your e-mail that you sent out Tuesday morning after Carol 'stepped into the arms of Jesus'. Actually Vicki Moehring sent it on to me here at work and I wept as I began reading it. I loved her so. She was a precious, wonderful friend, and I learned so much from her. We grieve with you and your girls. {We remember Jessica (that little dark-haired beauty with the impish little grin) but I guess I don't (old age ya know) remember
Christina.[Christina was not born then, ed.]} Our hearts are heavy and will remember you in our prayers...

(A reply to my answer to the above.)

I printed off your 'journal' of the last few weeks Carol was alive and have read it over and over. The Lord truly sustains us doesn't he...

From Pastor Greg Wilson, whom we have known for about 15 years:

Bro. Ovid,

I cannot tell you how I felt when I found out that Carol went home. I was broken hearted for you and wept, in fact Debbie and I both. We love you much. She was such a grand lady for God. I can only say that words cannot speak of how I would try, if possible to lighten your sorrow, but I know your faith rests not in the temporal, but in the God of all comfort and I know that He shall sustain you. Remember by His hand, He has promised that we shall not go down but through, Is 43:2.
We did not know about her passing or I assure you I would have been there. I am very sorry. Please advise me if we can be of any help to you, even in the way of financial, if you still have needs from the funeral or anything from the hospital. God keep you my brother.

Because He Came To Me

From Rick and Ann Miller, a couple I married several years ago:

I have been praying for you all week. I was so touched with the poise of your daughter and the scripture and poem you had lovingly prepared in honor of Carol.

Your wife was very special. She touched so many people while she was on Earth; I am sure she is with the Lord in heaven watching over you now. I got a call from her about a year ago... out of the blue. I was so overwhelmed with her kindness to think of me after so many years.

Rick and I will continue to pray for you in the days to come.

My note:

When the cancer first came up last year, I offered to resign the Linden Baptist Church, so I could take care of my wife. They said that would not be necessary, and they stuck with me, and supported us during the long months when we were unable to do anything other than show up on Sunday to preach. I want to thank the good people of the Linden Baptist Church for their faithful support for the last many months.

I also want to publically thank Pastor Gene and his wife Dody Riker. We met while I was layman on the staff of Lifegate Baptist Church (under Dr. Ford Porter, author of "God's Simple Plan of Salvation") in about 1970. The church had a college, Indiana Bible (latter "Baptist") College where Bro. Riker was a student, as was Carol Love - they were in the same freshman class. Carol and I were married in 71, and I went full time on the staff in 72. In 73, the Rikers went to Maryland under Dr. Tom Berry. Shortly after Bro. Riker went to Elkton, he recommended me for a position there. Carol and I remained there for three years as a staff member alone with Bro. Riker. Carol and I then went to Merrywoods Baptist Church in Haughton Louisiana, where we remained for seven years. Bro Riker went to Indiana, and in 1982 he recommended me to the Linden Baptist Church, where we have been since. Thought we live about 100 miles apart, Dody and Carol were closer than sisters, much like Johnathan and David. Bro Gene and Dody were invaluable during the days immediately following Carol's death and through the funeral.

Another invaluable help was Bro Dan and his wife, Brinda Aldrich, and his church, the Freemont Street Baptist Church (Jessica graduated from the Academy, and Christina presently goes there; it is about 30 minutes from us). Bro Dan and his wife have been a real encouragement through the whole situation, starting last November. The Freemont Baptist Church helped greatly for the meal after the funeral, for the crowd was so large that our small group would not have been able to accommodate it properly.


At the end of October, 1999, I had a heart attack the night before Carol was scheduled to see the doctor about the lump in her right breast. Needless to say, her appointment was put off for a couple of weeks. At that time, the doctor sent her right to another who did a biopsy. The biopsy came back malignant. The doctor did not even call with the news, but had his receptionist call and tell Carol it was too large for surgery, and she must start chemotherapy right away. This was the first of November.

Carol was a woman of prayer. She loved to pray, and was greatly distressed in the pastorate because she felt she no longer had the time to pray as in the past. The expectations of a pastor's wife were more than she (or I, for that matter) ever dreamed of. I left the treatment decision up to her, and she spent a lot of time in prayer about the situation. She told me many times over that she felt the Lord would have her use non traditional means to deal with the cancer (Inflammatory Breast Cancer), so we did. (I do not know how many times she told me, and every one who visited her in the hospital, "No regrets; don't look back.")

As time progressed, she continued to pray about how the Lord would have us deal with the matter, and we did not go the chemotherapy route until her lungs started filling up with fluid, which was about 6 months from the initial diagnosis.

During this time, we spent many hours on the road to the dentist (mercury fillings and root canals) and the doctor (chelation for mercury poisoning). We spoke many times of what was going on, and the continual conclusion we both reached was the that the Lord was in control, and he was working his plan. (Eph. 1:11, 3:11, 2 Tim. 1:9.) We both agreed every time we spoke about the matter that he was preparing us for a larger and better ministry.

Carol went into the hospital May 8th. We brought her in 6 days previous for fluid in her right lung cavity, then we had to come back again in three days, then in two. The last time we came in, they had to keep her. They placed two chest tubes in to remove the fluid, and left them in for a week. We were then placed between a rock and a hard place, with no choice but chemotherapy - the infection makes the body "leak." They took out the tubes, and two days later, gave the first chemotherapy treatment. The tumor dissolved so quickly that her kidneys almost failed, and she came very close to death. (Her doctor called us that night, and insisted we make life support decisions.) She made it through that night with a lot of prayer and encouragement.

For her final three weeks, Carol was in a "suite" - a private room with an attached family room. The connecting doors of the family room could be left open, and the patient watched. As I watched her deteriorate day by day for the last three weeks, the thing that keep it all in proper perspective was the faith that the we were both walking the path the Lord ordained for us to walk. Both of us agreed continually that the Lord was directing our paths (the way the Lord has supplied all our needs to this point has confirmed many times that he indeed is in charge, and this is indeed the path he has chosen):

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10.)

1 I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. 2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. 3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.(Ps. 142.)

As I watched her, the thought kept going through my mind: "We are walking the path God has determined that we must walk."

Obviously, things did not work out as we had hoped and prayed for - the Lord called Carol home. But does that mean that the Lord hates us, and he is out to beat down his people? Does that mean that the Lord is through with those remaining? Does that mean that the Lord sent those remaining down the wrong path? Or does that mean that those remaining are to look forward with great expectation and anticipation to what lies ahead for them in God's kingdom work on earth? Either God works all things according to his sovereign purpose preparing the living for more effective for him, or he does not.

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Eph. 1.)

We preach Romans 8:28ff. freely, and we should. V. 29 tells us that the purpose of the Lord's work in the lives of the living is to form Christ in them. The purpose of Christ being formed is to make those left in the land of the living more effective for his kingdom work here on earth. Therefore, the future holds "bigger and better" things for those left here on this earth, if they will continue in faithful service to him.

I know an eighty two year old man who lost his wife back in the 60s. For the past several years, he has been anxiously awaiting the day he can see her again - and the older he gets, the more he looks forward to death, to where now he is praying that he will die, so he can go be with her (as he longingly looks at an old family picture). I really do not know any place in Scripture that tells us to look forward to death, so we can be with loved ones. Rather, we are to look forward to life and more effective service to our Lord. I am looking forward to what the Lord has in store in his kingdom work here on earth. And this is the attitude Carol would want, for her continual desire was the same - to be more effective for the Lord; those who knew her will gladly testify to this fact that this was her sincere desire.

A dear pastor friend sent the following to me some time ago:

Brother Ovid and Carol:

I found the following to be a source of blessing and encouragement. I trust it will do the same for you.

The following is taken from Streams in The Desert, A devotional for July 19

"The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18: 11)

This was a greater thing to say and do than to calm the seas or raise the dead. Prophets and apostles could work wondrous miracles, but they could not always do and suffer the will of God. To do and suffer God's will is still the highest form of faith, the most sublime Christian achievement. To have the bright aspirations of a young life forever blasted; to bear a daily burden never congenial and to see no relief; to be pinched by poverty when you only desire a competency for the good and comfort of loved ones; to be fettered by some incurable physical disability; to be stripped bare of loved ones until you stand alone to meet the shocks of life; to be able to say in such a school of discipline, "The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?" this is faith at its highest and spiritual success at the crowning point. Great faith is exhibited not so much in ability to do as to suffer.

We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. We who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would be a savior must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross; and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in helping others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.

The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you (if surrendered to Christ), is the best shaped tool in the Father's hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.

Strange and difficult indeed
We may find it,
But the blessing that we need
Is behind it.

The school of suffering graduated rare scholars. Isaiah 49:2 says, "He made me into a polished arrow." Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to shape us to it. And since He knows what work we are to do, let us trust Him to grind us so we will be properly prepared

O blows that strike! O hurts that pierce this fainting heart of mine! What are you but the Master's tools forming a work Divine.

So here I am with the best legacy Carol could leave behind: two lovely Christian daughters with whom she spent multiplied hours with in prayer and in personal instruction, one 15 and at home, and the other 23 and married. We have been left looking forward, by faith, to what our Lord has in store for the three of us (four, counting Jessica's husband, Corey).

Thank you for your concern and for your prayers.

Elections 2000

Our thoughts again are turned to the presidential elections. It seems to me that the "feeling in the air" is that if we can get the right man in the White House, then our ills will be over in these united States. Certainly, I would like to see a godly person in every place of civil authority, but even if there were, our country would still be on the fast road to destruction. How many times has godly leadership resulted in a godly nation? It is a rear exception that godly leaders result in a godly nation. Far and away more common is that God gives leaders after the general consensus of the people.

We all know the situation with Old Testament Israel, and Israel's rejection of God as its King. Instead of God, Israel wanted a human king "like all the nations around it." (1 Samuel 8.) Even after Samuel warned God's people what kind of rulers they would have when they rejected the Lord, they still wanted a king. The Lord answered Israel's cry, and gave a king - Saul. Through a series of events, Israel's new king led Israel in a great victory over Israel's enemies. After the victory, the people want to follow Saul, and they establish him as the king as they should have done after he was "elected."

Apparently, there was the thought that since now they had a king after the manner of the pagans, they could live after the manner of the pagans, and still have safety in the land. So, after the great victory, Samuel warned the people of some dire consequences if they did not follow the Lord.

Samuel's message to God's Israel in 1 Samuel chapter 8 is a well known passage concerning the actions of civil government when God is rejected. A not so well-known passage is Samuel's message to God's Israel after they got their king, and after their victory under that king's leadership, 1 Samuel 12. This section also contains very applicable instructions concerning God's people and civil authority today, unless one is antinomian; then Samuel's recorded message is little more than a good speech with no warnings for our day (see e-mail below). The chapter easily divides into three sections: vv. 1-5, 6-15 and 16-24.


Vv. 1-5, Samuel tells them that he had made himself servant to the people, and had tried to set a good example for them. They agreed that they could make no claim of wrong doing against him.

V. 6, Samuel, rather than rebuking the people for rejection of God as their king, urges them to continue in their duties toward God and his word. The natural inclination would be distress over the people's rejection of the just and righteous rule of God under godly judges, e.g., Samuel. Samuel reminds the people that God is the one who advanced Moses and Aaron, and who brought the people up out of Egypt.

V. 7, stand still, and let me reason with you. Samuel reasons with the people of the righteous acts of God, both past and present.

V. 8, when the people cried out to God, he sent Moses and Aaron, who brought them to their present good land, Canaan.

V. 9, though in the "promised land," when they forgot the Lord (i.e., ignored his laws), the Lord sold theminto the hands of their many enemies. And he was righteous when he did so as he gave his people what they deserved. Being in the "promised land" did not exempt them from God's just judgment for sin.

Vv. 10, 11, in their bondage to their enemies, they cried to the Lord and confessed their sins, and the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hands of their enemies. Their enemies were on every side, yet they dwelt safely in the land under the judges.

V. 12, despite the deliverance by the mighty hand of God, they lusted after a king, so they could be like the pagan nations around them (nations they were told to destroy). In doing so, they rebelled against their legitimate King, the Lord their Deliverer.

V. 13, Samuel reminds them of the king whom they chose, and that the Lord established him because they wanted him.

V. 14, though they chose their king in rejection of the Lord's kingship, they can still have God's blessings upon them, IF they will fear the Lord - that is, serve him, obey his voice and keep his commandments.

V. 15, But if ye will not obey... The purpose of Samuel's reasoning is to remind them of their fathers errors, the just judgments of God for their errors and God's deliverance; thus Samuel shows them that they cannot avoid the results of righteousness or the results of sin no matter how hard they try. (See Lev. 26:14-30, Isa. 1:20, Rom. 2:8, 9.)


First, v. 7, the ministers' work is to reason with people, not only to exhort and direct, but to persuade, to convince of sin and of judgment to come, and so to gain their wills and affections. (MH. See Isaiah 1:18, Acts 24:25.)

However, even with all the labor saving devices - e.g., computers, microwaves, fast food and fast cars - few people have time to stand still, so a minister can reason with them concerning righteousness and judgment. Moreover, even those who might have time to stand still do not really want to be reasoned with aboutrighteousness (public character, justice and right between God and man and fellow men), temperance (self-control, morality), and judgment (the account of all our deeds done in this body) to come. Rather they desire to be made to feel good about God, about themselves and, so it seems, even about the devil. And fewer yet have the inclination to stand still so they can be reasoned with from Scripture, but they do have time for recreational activities.

In addition, we need ministers with the Bible knowledge, wisdom and boldness to reason of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come without fear of the loss of money and people. "Reason" includes well-grounded, thought out, sound arguments. In other words, reasoning speakers uses well studied and researched Scriptural arguments, not loud argumentative words, nor what they have been taught by men. (I know some who depend upon their ability to out argue their opponents, rather than depend upon their own sound Biblical research; without the notes put together by someone else, they have no arguments.)

Second, v. 14 is worded strangely - it says that those who fear the Lord and desire to serve him and obey his voice without rebellion against him, they will continue to follow the Lord. In other words, the Lord will keep faithful to himself those who sincerely fear him and want to serve him. Thus one does not keep himself, but the Lord keeps those who sincerely want to follow him.

SALVATION IS OF THE LORD was a lesson Jonah learned in the belly of the big fish (Jonah 2:9), and we can add, "It is all of the Lord." Even in the Old Testament, we find grace abounding. (Samuel was a "Sovereign Grace" preacher, Ph. 2:13.) It was the Lord who gave Abraham both the call and the power to follow his word. V. 14 seems to say that man's free will decides to follow the Lord, and then the Lord enables him to do that. However, we also know that no man has the desire within himself to follow the Lord (Ps. 14); accordingly, from the very start, those who have a desire to seek after the Lord, their desire had to be from the Lord, even in the Old Testament. (Ps. 14 is in the O.T., long before Paul wrote Ph. 2:13.)

Third, Samuel tells them that though they are now under a human king after their own choosing in rejection of the Lord, the same conditions still apply. Deuteronomy chapters 28 and 29 apply no matter what kind of government the people are under. In other words, though the people desired a king as the pagans around them had, they could not live as the pagans did - knowing human nature as I do (I have one), there may well have been a hidden desire that a king would exempt them from God's laws. In other words, did the people think they could avoid God's judgment if they chose a king other than the Lord? (The god of a people is determined by whose laws they obey, the Lord God [the Ten Commandments], or the surrounding pagan gods [man-mad and antichrist laws].)

Many people today seem to think that because a nation has civil rulers, that nation is exempt from obeying the command word of God; and if the right kind of rulers are in a nation, then that nation will be the right kind of a nation.

Samuel makes it very clear that having a man as their king will NOT free them from the blessings and curses according to their obedience to the word of God. The human king could not stand between them and the Lord, and protect them from the results of their disobedience against their rightful king. Their choice of a king did not relieve them of their responsibility to obey God and his command-word. Their prosperity in the land and under a king still depended upon their obedience to God and his law-word - v. 15, IF YOU WILL and IF YOU WILL NOT...

As the reader will see from the letter below, there are professed Christians who feel that because they are in the "promised land," - i.e., Christ (Heb. 4) - they are exempt from having to obey the laws established by God - the Ten Commandments.

Note: "Historic Covenant Theology" accepts that God requires obedience to the Old Testament teachings unless specifically abrogated by the new Testament (e.g., Col. 2:14). On the other hand, "Dispensational Theology" rejects the Old Testament teachings unless they are specifically reaffirmed in the New Testament. However, not all dispensationalists hold to this radical antinomian (lawless) view. Accordingly, the true dispensationalist can easily justify every man doing what is right in his own eyes; he also rejects the teaching that the Lord himself gives his people over to the hands of the wicked as just retribution for their rejection of him (rejecting his laws and commandments rejects the Lord God). The above is developed much more in detail in my book, "Identifying Identity."

Fourth, note where Samuel places the responsibility for God's blessings upon the nation - upon the people. Thus a king (human, civil ruler) could not exempt them from the commandments of God. Civil laws cannot override God's laws. In other words, God's blessings upon a nation are dependant upon the people's relationship to the Lord and his commandments, not upon the "king's" relationship to the Lord. (This point will be further developed below, vv. 16-24.)

The fall elections are coming, and one of three men (Gore, Bush, Buchanan) will be elected. But God's hand will continue against this nation because of the ungodliness of the people of the nation.

Antinomianism Illustrated

Below is an e-letter I received in response to an article I have on our web site. Those who wonder what Antinomianism stands for will find it well defined in this letter. The writer quotes from my article, and makes his comments. (He quotes some from the "Law vs Grace" article posted, and makes comments. Emp. his.) Quoting:

Dear brother Need,

In reference to your e-mail dated April 15, 2000, I read the following sermon of yours: Law vs Grace: Is there a conflict? What follows is my response.


The Lord promises to freely give us all things because of Christ, Rom 8:32, but the context of the chapter places conditions upon v. 32, i.e.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, *who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (8:3, 4.)

*Note: This is not the reason why the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, rather it's a description of those who are in Christ. Compare Rom. 8:1, again, this is not the reason why we are not condemned but is adescription of those who are in Christ. If you will read Rom. 8:1-17 you will see that Paul describes those who 'walk after the flesh' as being void of the Spirit, i.e., unbelievers (Rom. 8:9), and those who 'walk after the Spirit' as sons of God (Rom. 8:14).

Namely, the law could not give the power to fulfill its righteous requirements so one could inherit God's temporal blessings, but the Spirit of God's grace given through faith in His Son certainly *enables one to fulfill its righteous requirements. The righteous requirements of the Law are 'absolute perfection'. For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all (James 2:10). There is only one who has met these requirements and that one is Christ. But now because of His perfect obedience and our being 'in Christ', that very obedience is credited to our account (Rom. 5:19). Notice again, the only condition is our being in Christ!

Furthermore, the blessings in Eph 1:3 were promised to those living above the desires of the flesh by the power of the Spirit of Grace, Eph 2:2. The blessings of Rom 8:32 and Eph 2:2 cannot be construed asunconditional unless one calls Christ a liar, for He clearly required obedience to His command-word, e.g. He that hath my commandments, and *keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him, John 14:21. See all of John 14 & 15.

*Note: First of all the context of Ephesians chp.1 speaks of the blessings that belong to us who are 'in Christ'. All these blessings are freely bestowed on us for one reason alone, because we are in the Beloved!

Our obedience to Christ is simply the evidence of love for Christ. But our love and obedience to Christ is not the cause or condition of the Father's love for us his people, for 'we love Him because He first loved us' (1 John 4:10). So it is not our obedience that gains for us the favor of God and the blessings of the New Covenant, for that is the gift of His grace through Christ. (Editor's note: his definition of grace evidently is "God's unmerited favor" rather than "God working in us both to will and to do his good pleasure," Ph. 2:13. The corrupt definition, "God's unmerited favor" leads to corrupt thinking - "God's people have God's favor though they live ungodly lives.")

Also note that Eph. 2:2 is speaking of what the Ephesians were before they were in Christ and therefore has nothing to do with blessings based upon meeting certain conditions.

Exodus 19:5,6 "What about the `if...then' promise of Ex 19:5?" Obviously, it was given to OT Israel after his redemption from Egypt; but equally obvious is that vv. 5 & 6 are quoted by Peter for application to God's people of all time:

Note: Israel's redemption from Egypt was a physical redemption not a spiritual one. We must always keep this in mind, that God was dealing with a people who were unbelievers for the most part, except for a small remnant.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Pet. 2:9.)

Peter continues, holding God's people to His standard of "good and evil" established for them by the Lord; he also warns against using Christian liberty to cloak maliciousness, vv. 10-16. *Not only did Peter bring forth the "if...then" covenant to the church, but so did the Apostle John: And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight, 1 John 3:22. The "if...then" covenant cannot be voided by unbelief, for God continually presents the choice between the ways of life and death as presented in His Word, De 5:33; Gal 6:7-9.

* Now concerning Peter's quote of Exodus 19:5,6. Notice, Peter did not quote the first part of vs. 5, "…if you will indeed obey my voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be"…Why didn't he? Because Christ Himself has already met every condition in our place! Here in 1 Pet. 2:9, Peter is telling them who they already are in Christ, not who they would be if only they met some condition. Notice also in vss. 11-16, Peter is simply exhorting them to live out what they already are in Christ. In Christ they are A CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD'S OWN POSSESSION.

Look at Colossians 3:1-5. In vs. 5, Paul says: "Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, evil desire and greed, which amounts to idolatry" Notice, Paul is not exhorting them to be obedient in these things in order that they may receive God's blessings, but rather because of who they already were in Christ, i.e., they have been raised up with Christ, they have died with Christ, their life is hidden with Christ in God (vss. 1-4).

So you see, no twisting of Scripture can change the fact that God blesses us because of Christ's faithfulness and obedience, not because of ours. After reading the Scripture passages you site in there context, one can't help but see that the N.T. Scriptures never instruct us to obey in order that God might bless us. They always exhort us to obey because He has blessed us. The message of the N.T. Scripture is twofold: (1) See what you are in Christ, and (2) Be what you are in Christ. If we are to be free from legalism, we must stop trying to earn, by our obedience, those blessings God has already granted us in Christ! (Thus the Christian Adulterer and murderer can have God's blessings, according to this line of thinking. No wonder it is so appealing to the natural man.Ed.)

The issue is not godliness or ungodliness. The issue is not what a believer does. The issue is the 'motive' of the heart. (Is he not saying that "I can do whatever I desire as long as my motive is right," or "My standard of right and wrong is my motive," ed.) Those under the old covenant (Law Covenant) were motivated by fear of punishment and desire for reward. Believers under the New Covenant (Grace Covenant) are motivated by Christ's love for them (2 Cor.5:14, 15). Notice it is Christ's love for us that controls us, not our love for Him. Our love for Him is the result of His love for us. It is our faith in realizing the overwhelming love of Christ for us that purifies our hearts and motivates us to godly living! It is not looking to the Law (or any list of Do's and Don't's) that purifies our hearts, but rather faith in Christ alone.

Also, remember Paul in writing to Titus said; "For the grace of God has appeared…instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11,12). Notice, it [sic] Grace not Law that instructs us to deny ungodliness. Grace alone has the power.

I want to leave you with one other passage of Scripture, Hebrews 8:6. "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted onbetter promises (that is unconditional promises). This New Covenant is so much "better" than the Old Covenant" that it replaced, simply because the New Covenant is based on "better promises" than the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant said, "If you obey, then you will be blessed" (Exodus 19:5,6), but the New Covenant says, I Have obeyed for you, believe and live (Heb. 10:14-22).

The writer of Hebrews compares two different "ministries", two different "covenants", and two different "promises". His whole point is to show that a New Covenant believer's position is so much greater than the position of an Old Covenant believer simply because Christ brought in a New Covenant based on better promises.

My prayer brother Need, is that you would prayerfully consider what the LORD has laid upon my heart for you and those over whom you have influence.

Remember, There is no room for Hagar in Sarah's house! You cannot rest on Zion's hill of grace until you quit trying to climb Sinai's dark, high mountain. Ishmael shall never be heir with Isaac.

(End of letter.)

Editor's (Bro. Need's) Comments:

The above letter is so obviously antinomian (anti-law) that most of those reading it can see what is being offered by the writer. The antinomian, lawless attitude reflected above came in thanks to J. N. Darby's tireless efforts in the 1800s to destroy the Ten Commandments as man's continuing standards of life and thought. His lawless attitude was carried on by C. I. Scofield. (See The Death of Victory, by this pastor.)

First, antinomianism separates the word of God into two parts, Old and New Testaments, and thus it serves two gods, an Old Testament god and a New Testament god.

Paul wrote to those that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor. 1:2.) That is, he wrote to everyone who claims the name of Christ throughout all generations from Christ to the end. To these saints, Paul later wrote,

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (1 Cor. 10:1-8.)

Thus the New Testament saints are the heirs of the Old Testament fathers who were in Egypt, and were delivered by the mighty hand of God. (For a much more in-depth study on this subject, see "Identifying Identity" by this pastor.)

Relationship between Israel and the Church - Historic Covenant Theology holds that the church is spiritual Israel, in continuity with true Israel of the Old Testament. Historic Dispensational Theology holds that the church is the spiritual people of God, distinct from Israel, the physical people of God.

Second, antinomianism changes the God who changes not into a god that will allow man to go his own way and still have the blessings of their god. Antinomianism's god is not the God of the Scripture, for the Christian God, the Lord Jesus Christ, did not change the requirements of God's moral commands from his people. (Comp. Deut. 30:16 & Jn. 14:15.)

Third, antinomianism's god offers blessings for his people regardless of their actions, removing Romans 13:8-14 from the word of God.

Note the writer above referred to Hebrews, but he did not refer to Hebrews 10, for there we are told that God's people since Christ who despise Moses' law are worthy of much sorer punishment than were God's people of old, for today we trod under foot the Blood of Christ (because the new covenant has with it the Spirit of Grace to enable us to keep the law) when we ignore Moses' law. (Heb. 10:25-31; note that the vengeance andjudgment of vv. 30, 31 is addressed to those who have been sanctified and sealed with the blood of the new covenant, not to the unsaved. Moreover, Heb. 12:28, 29, is addressed to God's new Israel also. This pastor does not see how anyone can read passages like Hebrews 10 and 12 and even imagine that they can have the blessings of God just because they are sanctified regardless of how they live. I am convinced that it is a supernatural, i.e., judicial, blindness as was the blindness when Christ himself walked among men; it is a blindness that must lead to God's righteous vengeance and just judgment against his people, 12:30.)

Fourth, antinomianism removes passages from their context, saying that the New Testament authors did not use the context of the Old Testament passages they quoted, e.g., Peter, q.v.

Fifth, antinomianism offers a god that judges motives not actions. I would ask how motives and actions can be separated? It appears that if the antinomian adulterer's motives are right, then the adultery is overlooked by his god. Notice that Paul passed harsh judgment against those who did evil deeds in the body, making no mention of their motives, and he defined evil by God's everlasting law. (1 Cor. 5:3. See also Rom. 14:12, Ecc. 12:14, 2 Cor. 5:10, &c.)

Sixth, antinomianism has no definition of sin nor does it have a righteous standard by which its followers are judged by their god. (1 Jn. 3:4.)

Accordingly, an antinomian nation, such as the united States today, will have antinomian leaders, whether Clinton, Gore, Bush or whomever the Lord sees fit to exalt. For even God's professed people, missing 1 John 3:4 from their Bibles, have no firm standard by which to judge their leaders.

Samuel was clear - the temporal blessings of God upon a nation are according to its relationship to God's laws and commandments, and all man's efforts to separate the righteous and holy Lord God from his laws and commandments will fail.

A final word for this section: Antinomianism has no standard for God's people other than one's motive; therefore, it has no standard to which to hold national leaders -- antinomian "Christians" have no grounds to condemn Clinton for his evil actions.

1 Samuel 12, continued.

Vv. 16-25

We have two main points in this section:

First, vv. 16-19, Samuel convinces the people of their great wickedness in the sight of the Lord in asking for a king. Second, vv. 20-25, though they sinned in their desire for a king, if they will follow the Lord, they can still have his blessings upon them.

Vv. 16-19, Samuel calls down fearful thunder and rain upon the people at a most unusual and a very bad time of the year (harvest). Though there had been a great victory under their new king, that did not change the fact that they had sinned in asking for a king. The fearful storm at this unusual time showed that the victory was not a sign of God's approval of their request; rather, it reinforced God's displeasure over their sin.

V. 16, stand and see. In v. 7, Samuel said, Stand still that I may reason with you. Now he sais Stand and see.

V. 18, Samuel prayed, and the Lord answered him out of heaven. The thunder and rain proved that Samuel was indeed speaking for the Lord when he tried to reason with them.

Vv. 18, 19, though Samuel's actions startled the people, causing them to admit, we have sinned in asking for a king, they did not repent, for they did not "send the king back." Rather they ask that Samuel pray for them. Did they want to continue to prosper in their sin?

First, though we may get out of the right and lawful way of God (take the wrong fork at a critical point in our lives, e.g., marry the "wrong" person), we can still have God's blessings upon us if we will be obedient to his word from that point on.

Second, though we may "prosper" in the way of wickedness, that prosperity does not mean God has changed his mind nor that we should think more favorably of what we did. In other words, prosperity is not necessarily God's stamp of approval upon an action. Only his word can give that approval.

Third, stand and see - if we will not stand still and let the Lord reason with us, if the Lord cannot reason with us, then we will stand still when we see the results of our sin. It is far better to let the Lord teach us from his word than to be taught from his voice and hand of judgment. This terrible storm in the time of harvest was not a pleasant thing to see, nor was it easy on the pocketbook.

It is far better to hear the reasonings of the Lord from his word (the still small voice), than to have to see the hand of the Lord. Too bad we cannot be taught from his word rather than from his hand of power.

Fourth, God, at a moment's notice, can send his answer to prayer - he can change the clear sky to storm, and he can change the storm to a clear sky, both literally and spiritually:

There is a limit to affliction. God sends it, and removes it. Do you sigh and say, "When will the end be?" Let us quietly wait and patiently endure the will of the Lord till He cometh. Our Father takes away the rod when His design in using it is fully served.
If the affliction is sent for testing us, that our graces may glorify God, it will end with the Lord has made us bear witness to His praise.
We would not wish the affliction to depart until God has gotten out of us all the honor which we can possibly yield Him. There may be today "a great calm." Who knows how soon those raging billows will give place to a sea of glass, and the sea birds sit on the gentle waves?
After long tribulation, the flail is hung up, and the wheat rests in the garner. We may, before many hours are past, be just as happy as now were are sorrowful.
It is not hard for the Lord to turn night into day. He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the skies. Let us be of good cheer. It is better farther on. Let us sing Hallelujah by anticipation.--C.H. Spurgeon.
The great Husbandman is not always threshing. Trial is only for a season. The showers soon pass. Weeping may terry only for the few hours of the short summer night; it must be gone at daybreak. Our light affliction is but for a moment. Trial is for a purpose, "If needs be."
The very fact of trial proves that there is something in us very precious to or Lord; else He would not spend so much pains and time on us. Christ would not test us if He did not see the precious ore of faith mingled in the rocky matrix of our nature; and it is to bring this out into purity and beauty that He forces us through the fiery ordeal.
Be patient, O sufferer! The result will more than compensate for all our trials, when we see how they wrought out the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. To have one word of God's commendation; to be honored before the holy angels; to be glorified in Christ, so as to be better able to flash His glory on Himself-ah! That will be more than repay for all. - Tried by Fire. (Streams in the Desert, 2/14.)

Fifth, Samuel still had his prayers answered, though he may have failed as a father. The Lord hears and answers prayer for his Son's sake and for his great name's sake, not for any righteousness on our own.

Sixth, the Lord thundered upon the Philistines in his displeasure (7:10), and now he thunders upon his own people in his displeasure. Whey do we think we can ignore the Lord and follow after the manner of the heathen (they asked for a king like the pagans around then), yet avoid the Lord's actions against paganism?

What foolishness to desire a king to save them rather than the Lord God when they knew that the Lord could and would thunder out of heaven against their enemies (he had in the past, Jud. 5:20; see also Ps. 18:6ff). So now they, rather than the pagans, inherit the thunder. Could their king command the heavens as could their prophet by prayer? (MH)

Seventh, most of us will not own up to sin just from the word of God - Samuel reasoned with them. Rather, it takes some serious thunders from heaven to make us admit to our evil deeds. Moreover, Samuel did not extract this confession from them before they chose a king; he did not want to make it appear that he was forcing himself or his boys upon the people. (MH)

Eighth, they asked Samuel to pray to HIS God for them:

... Now they see their need of him whom awhile ago they slighted. Thus many that will not have Christ to reign over them would yet be glad to have him intercede for them, to turn away the wrath of God. And the time may come when those that have despised and ridiculed praying people will value their prayers, and desire a share in them. (MH)

Vv. 20-25

The second point from the last half portion of this chapter. Samuel tells then that though they sinned in their desire for a king, if they will follow the Lord, they can still have his blessings upon them. Two points:

First, even in our wrong decisions, we can still have the Lord's blessings, if we will follow his word.

Second, we must follow the Lord regardless of the "king." They did not. God's people do the same today. The warning is to follow the Lord regardless of which direction human leadership goes, but most people do not.

V. 20, fear not... The terrors of the Lord should "frighten" people to serve the Lord, not "frighten" them away from the Lord.

Vv. 20, 21, twice Samuel tells them turn not aside from following the Lord, warning them against turning to the gods of the heathens around them. They had asked for a king like the surrounding nations, and they had a victory under their king. So Samuel continually reminds them that the victory under Saul did not mean God's approval of Saul, nor that they could depart from following the Lord. The victory under Saul would be very tempting to say that God now approved their sin, and they could go even further away from God.

The false gods (including the antinomian's god) are broken cisterns:

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me {t} the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (Jer. 2:13.)

(t) Signifying that when men forsake God's word, which is the fountain of life, they reject God himself, and so fall to their own inventions, and vain confidence, and procure to themselves destruction, #Jon 2:8, Zec 10:2. (Geneva, Online Bible.)

The Old Testament calls the idols broken cisterns - that is, they offer something they cannot produce, nor can they hold the water of life. Peter calls the false teachers, those who operate under the name of Christ yet have not the truth, wells without water, clouds that offer rain for a thirsty land, but have none. (2 Peter 2:10-21.)

I have dealt with Peter's words elsewhere, so I will not again here. But I will say that Peter's warning is obviously based upon Jeremiah's, for both warn against God's people seeking after wells that have no water - that is, they follow after teachers who, in the name of the Lord, sound good, yet have very little if any of the water of life in them or in their messages. Furthermore, both Peter and Jeremiah speak with amazement that God's people would rather have "fluff & stuff" than they would have the meat of God's word, a sad fact that I have found to be true. (See Heb. 6.) When I try to really get into serious teaching, people who have been Christians for years "choke."

And turn ye not aside... Thus the natural tendency is to turn aside from the serious words of the Lord that require commitment to an easy believeism that requires little or no effort on the individual's part.

V. 22, Samuel's purpose is to confirm the people in their religion, and he does this with a fear not:

"despair not, fear not with amazement, the weather will clear up after the storm. Fear not; for, though God will frown upon his people, yet he will not forsake them (#1Sa 12:22) for his great name's sake; do not you forsake him then." (MH)

There is an end to the storm, though we may not see it. We can rejoice in the end results after the storm passes. (See Streams in the Desert quote above. Also, see Heb. 12.)
Fear not, though the Lord may frown and thunder upon his people for their sins, he will not forsake them, for they are still his people.
V. 22 presents us with three unknowable, yet foundational, doctrines which cannot be comprehend with our finite mind - Divine Sovereignty, Sovereign Election and the Divine Perseverance of the Saints:

For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.

First, the Lord is the one who makes his people his people. Second, the Lord is the one who keeps his people his people. Though they many times sin and come short of his glory, he will not forsake them, for his great name is at stake. And third, the reason he makes them his people - because it hath pleased him to make them so; that is to say, Divine Sovereignty chose to make certain people his saints while overlooking other people, leaving them in their sins.

Every transgression in the covenant, though it displease the Lord, yet does not throw us out of covenant, and therefore God's just rebukes must not drive us from our hope in his mercy. The fixedness of God's choice is owing to the freeness of it; we may therefore hope he will not forsake his people, because it haspleased him to make them his people. Had he chosen them for their good merits, we might fear he would cast them off for their bad merits; but, choosing them for his name's sake, for his name's sake he will not leave them. (MH)

I suppose the third point is the most difficult for the natural man to accept, for it must be accepted by faith - why does God chose some while leaving others behind? (I was sent a lengthy study to review - the study was put together by a pastor, and someone he gave it to sent it to me. The entire study was a tome against the Biblical fact that God chooses some people to come to himself while leaving others happy in their sins. That pastor just could not understand how God could leave some behind, so he spent many pages and empty words trying to reduce the everlasting, infinite God to his own finite understanding.)

V. 23, they desire him to pray for them, v. 19, and Samuel assures them he will. The natural inclination would have been to tell the people to go ask the king whom they desired so greatly to pray for them - that is, kind of rub their noses in what they did. But Samuel assures them he will continue to pray without ceasing for them despite the fact they rejected him. In fact, he sais it would be sin to allow personal feelings to interfere with sincerely praying for them.

Note, It is a sin against God not to pray for the Israel of God, especially for those of them that are under our charge: and good men are afraid of the guilt of omissions. (MH)

How easy it is to allow personal feelings to inter in; if someone "rejects" us or does us wrong, we are tempted to no longer pray for them. Though they rejected Samuel, he still cares for them as he assures them he will continue to teach them the good and right way, v. 23.

It is the minister's responsibility is not only to pray for the Israel of God, but he must teach them the good and right way. Then they are responsible for what they do with that teaching. It is sin on the minister's part not to teach, and it is sin on the people's part not to heed and do the right way.

Samuel concludes this charge to the people:

24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. 25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.

1) Only fear the Lord:

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28.)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Ps. 111:10.)

Those who fear the Lord depart from evil, and follow his commandments.
2) Serve him in truth with all your heart:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (Mk. 12:30.)

3) Consider how great things he hath done for you.

Samuel warns them not to forget what God has done for them; it was not the king who did the great things, but God. If nothing else, gratitude for God's past mercies should bind us to serve him only, and not the heathen gods around us.

Note that past memories of God's goodness should lead us to righteous living.

4) ye shall be consumed.

He ends with a negative reminder - if they do wickedly, then they will be consumed. God only does righteous acts, and his judgment against sin is righteous, v. 7. He did them good in bringing them out of Egypt, and he will also do righteously in consuming them for their evil.

5) if ye do wickedly, both you and your king will be consumed.

Note that Samuel did not say that if your king does wickedly, you will be consumed; rather, he said if you do wickedly. He places the responsibility squarely on the people - a nation falls not because of wicked leaders but because of wicked people.

A favorite theme today is that America is going to the devil because of wickedness in high places, and there is plenty of it. But the word of God is clear - America is going to the devil because of wickedness in low places:

if ye do wickedly, both you and your king (civil rulers) will be consumed.

Of course, blaming the leaders for the nation's ills relieves one from the feeding of guilt before God, e.g.,"America is in the shape it is in because of corrupt leaders." And people will pay good money to hear someone justify blaming the wickedness in high places for the consumption of our nation. America is in the shape it is in because of corrupt people who name the name of Christ.

V. 25 is almost identical with vv. 14, 15. So the conclusion of the matter is:

1) The people are responsible to follow the Lord whether or not the civil rulers follow the Lord.
2) Though they sinned, they can still have God's blessings if they will follow the word of the Lord.
3) The success of a nation before the Lord depends upon the people, not on the leaders.

No doubt Solomon was referring to vv. 24, 25 when he said,

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecc. 12.)

Errors, Heresies and Sovereignty


Several times, Paul warns Timothy about the false teachers who would creep into the church with their clamorous, cancerous words - words that undermine the gospel and overthrow the faith of some. (2 Tim. 2, Acts 20:29.) The answer Paul gives Timothy to counter the grievous wolves is serious, prayerful study of God's word, and avoidance of vain men - teachers - and their babblings. He warns Timothy that those teachers wouldincrease unto more ungodliness, which probably refers primarily to the increase in the pleasant sounding, erroneous teachers (e.g., Hymenaeus and Philetus; see 2 Tim. 3:13); however, it could refer to the increase of erroneous doctrines. If Timothy did not depart from those vain men, operating under the name of Christ, Paul warned that he too would be in danger of being carried away with their babble and errors.

Note that if Paul needed to warn his son in he faith, Timothy, of the danger of getting swept away with the errors of the profane and vain babblings, then how much more serious must preachers and teachers today take the warning.

Paul's warning in 2 Timothy 2 primarily concerns respected Christian leaders who speak in the name of the Lord. Paul's warning also applies to Christians in general. The danger to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is from within -- the danger is from false teachers who speak pleasant words in the name of Christ. The danger is to sincere Christians who, though desiring to serve the Lord, get caught in the smooth words. Paul concluded on a hopeful note, telling how to rescue those leaders who are in the devil's snare. (2 Tim. 2:22-26.)

There are several good points worth pursuing from 2 Timothy 2:16 through the end of the chapter. One has to do with Errors and Heresies - the major heresy being the replacement of God's Holy Spirit with human wisdom and knowledge (an extremely prevalent heresy in our day, but it is not new). Another has to do with the common grounds for fellowship among Believers, Required Peace. Another has to do with God's sovereignty and man's "free will," Divine Sovereignty & Free Will. Though each will stand on its own as a separate study, I will leave them all together for convince and space's sake. As the following follows the context of the rest of the chapter, the first point seems to be a little misplaced.

Errors and Heresies

A prevalent error of our day, as it has been since Eve, is exalting knowledge over the calling of God. (See quotes from William Law at the end of this study.) Paul warned Timothy concerning this error:

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (2 Tim. 2.)

Study the truth; shun the error. The context of v. 16, v. 17, shows that Paul is telling Timothy to stay away from ("stand above," because Paul expects better of Timothy; see JFB) the babblers -- the teachers of profane babbling, i.e., empty discussions of useless matters:

The ministry of false teachers is mere babbling; a voice, and nothing else, as the man said of his nightingale; a sound of words, but no solid matter in them; great swelling words of vanity, like large bubbles of water, look big, and make a great noise, but have nothing in them; contain nothing but vain, empty, idle, and trifling stuff; what is unprofitable and unedifying, yea, what is profane, contrary to the nature and perfections of God, and not agreeable to the doctrine which is according to godliness; and being palmed upon the Holy Scriptures, is a profanation of them. And all such wicked and empty prate, and babbling, is to be shunned, avoided, and discouraged, refused, and rejected; and, as much as can be, a stop should be put to it, both by ministers and hearers of the word. (Gill)

Ver. 17. And their word will eat as doth a cancer:

Or "gangrene", which gnaws and feeds upon the flesh, inflames and mortifies as it goes, and spreads swiftly, and endangers the whole body; and is therefore to be speedily taken notice of, and stopped. It is better rendered "gangrene", as in the marginal reading, than "cancer".

``The word "gangrene" is Greek {g}, and is derived by some authors from the Paphlagonian "gangra", a goat; it being the character of a goat to browse the grass all around without shifting. It is more correct, perhaps, to derive it from the Greek word graw, grainw, "manduco", "consumo", I eat, I consume. The "gangrene" is a disease in the flesh of the part which it corrupts, consumes, and turns black, spreading and seizing itself of the adjoining parts, and is rarely cured without amputation. By the microscope, a gangrene has been discovered to contain an infinite number of little worms engendered in the morbid flesh; and which continually producing new broods, they swarm, and overrun the adjacent parts: if the gangrene proceed to an utter sphacelation (or mortification), and be seated in any of the limbs, or extreme parts, recourse must be had to the operation of amputation'' ({g} See Chambers's Cyclopedia in the word "Gangrene".)
And so the errors and heresies of false teachers worm and spread, and feed upon the souls of men, and eat up the vitals of religion, or what seemed to be such, and even destroy the very form of godliness; and bring destruction and death, wherever they come; and when they get into Christian churches, threaten the ruin of them; and therefore are to be opposed in time, and those infected with them to be cut off. (Gill.)

Though Gill's definition of gangrene is old, it fits well with the context of Paul's words. Paul warns many times against errors and heresies of false teachers. Barnes' makes the same application:

So it is with erroneous doctrines. They will not merely eat out the truth in the particular matter to which they refer, but they will also spread over and corrupt other truths. The doctrines of religion are closely connected, and are dependent on each other--like the different parts of the human body. One cannot be corrupted without affecting those adjacent to it, and unless checked, the corruption will soon spread over the whole. (Barnes')

The babblings of false teachers and their erroneous doctrines will corrupt the whole Christian body of local believers if the teachers are not dealt with as required by God. Thus Paul's warning is not only on a personal level, but it must also be seen as a warning concerning the church in general.

"Erroneous doctrines" include emphasizing the importance of knowledge over the calling of God; it has eaten as a canker; it HAS robbed the church of its power that was so evident in the first century, a point we will develop later in this mailing.

V. 18, Who concerning the truth have erred... "No man can safely hold to a single error, any more than he can safely have one part of his body in a state of mortification." (Barnes') Gangrene will set in if the error is not dealt with.

The resurrection is past already... They may have thought that the dead passing on to their eternal reward was all the resurrection there was. (Barnes'.) They may have held the resurrection to be already past, a spiritual thing, "a quickening merely of the soul's activities to newness of life; and thus, by their excess in spiritualizing, the loosened the very foundations of the Christian system; for the position they assumed involved by necessary inference the denial of Christ's resurrection, and the saving efficacy of His death (1 Cor. xv. 12-19)." (Fairbairn.)

The error of a few will overthrow the faith of many.


There are at least three views of the resurrection:

1) one view involves at least three resurrections: A) of the righteous at the time of a "rapture"; B) of the unrighteous; and C) of the righteous again at the end of all things.

2) another view says that the resurrection is all spiritual, an idea referred to by both Barnes and Fairbairn -- that is, no resurrection but that which occurs in the soul; and with this I must disagree. (Acts 1:9-11, a cloud received him..., and in like manner he will return, is seen by this second group as referring to his coming against Jerusalem in judgment, 70AD.)

3) another view of the resurrection is of one general resurrection, which was the orthodox view until 150 years ago. The weight of Scriptural evidence holds that the "new birth" is the first resurrection (Eph. 2:1-6, &c., which we will only mention in this present study), and then there will be the general resurrection of the just and unjust at the end. For the first resurrection, being a spiritual resurrection, does not void the second resurrection when we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:15, 17.)

One of the better known resurrection passages is the one commonly used at a grave side -- it calls for one general resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; note v. 52, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. Here Paul speaks of only one general resurrection at the last trump -- that is, at the end of time (see also 1 Thess. 4:16):

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Dan. 12:2.)
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (Jn. 5:28, 29. V. 25, accordingly, seems to be speaking of the final physical resurrection. See also Rom. 2:6-16, 2 Thess. 1:6-10, &c.)


Revelation 20:5 {10} But the rest of the dead {11} lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection.

(10) Whoever shall lie dead in sin, and not know the truth of God.
(11) They shall not be renewed with newness of the life by the enlightening of the gospel of the glory of Christ. For this is the first resurrection, by which souls of the dead do rise from their death. In the second resurrection their bodies shall rise again.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the {12} second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, {13} and shall reign with him a thousand years.

(12) That by this both body and soul, that is, the whole man is condemned and delivered to eternal death; #Re 2:11.
(13) A return to the intended history, by resuming the words which are in the end of the fourth verse #Re 20:4. (See Rev. 20:4 with Eph. 2:5, ed.)

Spiritual reign or literal reign? There are godly men on both sides of this question. I lean toward spiritual reign,which for 1800 years was the historic orthodox position. (See Eph. 2:5, 6.)

Conflicts and Strife
Identifying and Avoiding the Heretic

2 Timothy 2:23, refers back to v. 16. Foolish and unlearned questions -- that is, questions that are of no eternal importance, and that we know will create conflict and strife. Also included are "Untrained, uneducated, 'speculations of a half-educated mind' (Parry)." (RWP)

Paul gave identical instructions in another "Pastoral Epistle," Titus. The Spirit's emphasis on the subject reveals the importance of paying attention to what the Spirit is saying about foolish questions. Paul told Titus to,

... avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. (Titus 3:9-11.)

In avoiding unprofitable and vain questions, Paul is not talking about compromising the word of God. He tells Titus to remove the heretic.

The Heretic

Mr. Thomas Taylor (c. 1619) gives a good definition of a heretic. Commenting on Titus 3:10, he said:

1. Who is a heretic? A heretic is he who, professing Christ, yet invents or maintains any error against the foundations of religion, and holds such error with obstinacy. To open this description three things are to be noted.
(a) A heretic must profess Christ. Jews, Turks, or pagans cannot properly be heretics, though they fight against Christ and all religion in its foundations. These are more properly called heathens, infidels, and atheists, without God in the world. But the person with whom Titus has here to deal, is one within the church, who is cast off from a foundation upon which he seemed to stand.
(b) He must maintain an error in doctrine, for if men err in practice they are hypocrites and profane, but not heretical. This doctrinal error must be fundamental, that is, such a one as overturns some ground or article of our faith; for it will not make a heretic not to believe the fables of St Francis, though Pope Benedict IV so determined. But if any man shall maintain justification by works, a daily sacrifice for sin, or any other righteousness except Christ, the defence [sic] of these positions will easily proved heresy. And thereby the Popish doctrine is clearly proved heretical. (Exposition of Titus, Thomas Taylor, 525, 526. 1619, Cambridge. Klock and Klock Reprint, 1980.)

The heretic's actions are completely proper, but his doctrine is fundamentally in error, e.g., justification through anything except faith, righteousness through other means than Christ, salvation by race rather than by grace and that grace available to all races, &c. Though clearly shown truth from God's word, the heretic argues and continues in his error. Accordingly, adulterers, &c., who claims to love God are not heretics, but hypocrites of the worse order. The pastor who lives right in every area yet preachers error in adding something to faith in Christ for justification is an heretic when he refuses to change when confronted with the truth, e.g., "Identity" teachers are heretics, for they knowingly add "secular" history to Scripture in order to make Scripture support their theories -- they refuse to accept Scripture as the final authority.

Thomas Taylor continues:

(c) This error must be willfully and obstinately maintained; for he must reject admonition, and must strive after being convicted. This is what properly constitutes a man a heretic for everyone who holds a heretical opinion is not a heretic, but a man may through simplicity, levity, or rashness be drawn into such an opinion. But if, when admonished of his error, he does not contend, but is ready to yield himself up to the persuasion of truth, he is no heretic. For these three things make a heretic -- error, conviction, end obstinacy.
Note then what a grievous thing we charge a man with, when we brand him with the title of heretic. We charge him to be one who does not rest in the wholesome word, but maintains such an error as has turned trim off his foundation; we charge him with scorning the judgment of the church, despising wholesome admonitions, and continuing in his damnable opinions against the light of his mind, against the check and accusation of his conscience. If we hastily pass this censure, we shall hardly avoid rash judgment; for if every error in divinity made a heretic, the apostles themselves would have been no other, for at first they were erroneous and ignorant in many things of the greatest importance in religion...
Note also that there have been and shall be, to the end, heresies in the church. Christ was no sooner ascended than his blessed doctrine was assailed by heretics; and this seems to be the occasion for this precept. Yea, no sooner was there a church than heretics became its disease and corruption; the tares quickly came up with the good seed. (Ibid, 526, 527.)

Charges of heresy are serious, for we say the heretic though clearly instructed in God's Law-Word (truth), refuses to change. If we rashly pass a censure of heresy against a person, we also will be rashly judged. (See Mat. 7:1, Lk. 6:37, Jn. 7:24.) The apostles themselves were captive to gross errors, but they changed upon hearing the truth.

Certainly, errors abound, and many times they are presented by good, sincere men. William Law said:

...[H]ow many have studied the words of Scripture for a lifetime, without receiving that humility of Christ which produces the very mind of Christ and turns fallen man into a son of God! Academic degrees they hold in plenty from the best centers of religious learning---but know so little of Spirit of Christ! What a paradox to see the professed Church of the Lamb filled with great numbers of champion disputants, who from age to age have been up in arms to support and defend a set of opinions, doctrines, and practices, all of which may be most cordially embraced without demanding the least degree of self-denial, and most firmly held fast without bestowing the least degree of humility!
Why is it that we see Bible scholars equally pleased with and contending for the errors and absurdities of every system of theology under which they happen to have taken their education? Because natural genius and human wisdom can feed on no other food than the deceptive fruit of that ancient tree of knowledge. What a gross ignorance, both of man's need and Christ's salvation, to run to Greek and Hebrew schools to learn how to put off Adam and to put on Christ! How absurd to seek to be wise in scholarship concerning the letter of Scripture in order to obey Christ's command that we must become like a little child to enter into His kingdom! How came the learned Greeks by their pride and vanity, and inability to come under the humility of the cross? It was because the false glory of their own cultivated abilities blinded them in the same way that a letter-learned knowledge blinded Jewish scribes and Pharisees. And so it often is in the Church today. (Spirit, 50, 51, 52.)

Law placed his finger upon a serious problem among Christians where Scripture is professed to be the final rule for all faith and practice; that problem is though professing to be followers of the humble Lamb of God, many refuse to give up a system of theology when confronted with the clear teaching of the Lamb, because they happened to have taken their education under that system. Though exalting the word of God with their mouths, they exalt friendships and traditions with their actions. They are thus identified with the "letter-learned knowledge blinded Jewish scribes and Pharisees," for whom Christ had no good words. They are heretics.

How can we know the errors from the truth? The best counter for error is consistent Christian living (Jn. 7:17), and consistent searching of the word of TRUTH so one can obey the truth. The work of the Holy Spirit is to guide the serious seeker into more TRUTH (Jn. 16:13).

The Lord assures us that heresies are needed and will continue in the church; his people must stay close to him in his word and in fellowship, or they will be caught up in heresies. Refusing to willingly submit to the clear teaching of God's word, heresies separate the sheep from the goats, the proud from the humble, the false teachers from the men of God, &c. Heresies show who belongs to the Lord and who does not. The sad results of heresies is that those who reject the truth give themselves over to serious error. (Ja. 1:22 - the man deludes no one but himself.)

Here we may note four reasons for the continued presence of heretics in the church.
(a) As long as the causes of heresy remain, it must needs itself continue; and the causes shall ever be in the church, namely ignorance of God, pride of heart, self-conceit, overweening [arrogant, ed.] of gifts, lack of love to Christ and his truth, Satan's malice, ambition, covetousness, flattery, and many more. In a word, as long as there is a mixture of good and bad, there will be a fight between them.
(b) The Lord in his providence allows false prophets and heretics to rise up among his people, to prove and try them, whether they will cleave unto him (Deut. 13:3). They are the Lord's fan brought into his threshing-floor, to separate between the wheat and the chaff, the faithful and the unfaithful. By this the wicked fall off, as being thrust away from the Lord; and the godly, who are accused by Satan and his instruments to be hypocrites, are manifested as sound at the heart, and faithful to the end. "There must be heresies, that those who are approved of God may be known" (1 Cor. 11 -19).
(c) The Lord in his justice punishes by heretics the contempt of his truth, and the careless entertainment of his word. If men will not receive the truth in the love of it, justly are they given over to strong delusions in the believing of lies (2 Thess. 2:11,12). If Christ and his gospel will not be received, antichrist shall come in with all lying wonders, and shall prevail. If the truth in Micaiah's mouth is scorned, four hundred false prophets shall prevail with their lie. So we have seen that where a faithful pastor has been set lightly by, the Lord has in one way or another removed him, and after his departure has sent in some grievous wolf, who has not spared the flock. (Titus, p. 527.)

First, sin is the cause of heresies: pride, lust, greed, lack of love for God and his word, covetousness, &c. As long as sin remains, heresies will continue. Though converted, God's people are targets for heresies because sin still dwells in the flesh.

Second, false teachers who change basic Bible doctrines ever so slightly, heretics, are allowed to rise up "among his people." The Lord allows them in order to prove who will cleave to him and his word over physical and emotional attachments. As Paul told Timothy, God's people must study all scripture so they will be grounded in sound doctrine, or they will be easy pray for the heretical teachers. (If people would spend as much time searching and studying Scripture under the influence and inspiration of the indwelling Spirit as they do studying the writings of other men, "secular" histories included, they would probably not get caught in the heretics' trap.)

Third, through the means of heretics, those who reject God's word are cast off, being recognized by God's people.

Fourth, when the truth of the word of God is rejected, "antichrist shall come in with all lying wonders, and shall prevail." Thus supernatural "wonders" did not cease with the Apostles -- false teachers with great influence and supernatural "lying wonders" are common when the truth of God's word is rejected, and the more God's word is rejected, the more common are lying wonders. Paul warned Timothy, that evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (2 Tim. 3:13):

... Living in an element of deceit, they come to be themselves deceived; their sin becomes their snare and their punishment: so that, in so far as they are capable of progress, the progress is from bad to worse; and if their manner of life is such as to save them from persecution at the hand of others, it brings recompenses of evil far more to be dreaded, and these prepared by their own hands... The unqualified use of such a term cannot justly be understood otherwise than as identifying them with the wily and unscrupulous professors of the magical art. (The Pastoral Epistles, Patrick Fairbairn, 1874. Klock & Klock reprint.)

Verse 13. Evil men and seducers shall wax worse. They will yet get on for a season, deceiving themselves and deceiving others; but, by and by, their folly will become manifest to all, 2 Timothy 3:9. The word gohtev (please excuse this messed up word - the Greek and Hebrew fonts are missing from the computer I have at the hospital with me, ed), which we render seducers, signifies jugglers, pretenders to magical arts; probably persons dealing in false miracles, with whom the Church in all ages has been not a little disgraced. (Adam Clarke, 1810-1826.)

Dwight L. Moody, the great American evangelist, used to be accompanied on his tours by the singer, Henry Drummond. Originally Drummond was able to influence and hypnotize people at a distance of fifty miles. After his conversion, he had difficulty in overcoming these occult powers. While ministering at Moody's meetings, he occasionally noticed that the audience was being influenced by his psychic powers. He was very troubled about this and asked the Lord to free him from these occult powers. The Lord answered his prayer.(Occult ABC, Kurt Koch, 297-298. Kregel Publications. Henry Drummond [1851-1897] accompanied Moody in his meetings. Thus one wonders how much of modern church growth is the Spirit's work, and how much is men using the spirits renounced by Drummond? See 2 Cor. 10:4, 5.)

We must ask, How many today would do what Drummond did, and renounce the "magical arts" when those arts will draw a crows? As "Christian" leaders depart from the word of God, the "magical arts" become more common; they are used to lead people to men and programs rather than to sound doctrine from God's word. (Note that Paul does not say Christianity will fall before those "arts. Remember Moses! whose God was far more powerful than those who practiced the "arts.")

Fifth, when people reject the truth from one godly man, e.g., Micaiah, the Lord removes him, and sends "grievous wolves" (more than one) to spoil the flock.

Sixth, God blinds those whom he will judge. Quoting Salvian's comments concerning the fall of Rome:

What resulted from all this? Through all that I have said they were fallen so low that in them was fulfilled the saying of the Sacred Word: 41 'wine and women make men fall away from God.' For, while they drink, gamble, commit adultery, and are mad, they begin to deny Christ. And we wonder after all these things that they have suffered the ruin of their own property, they who long before have gone to pieces mentally! Therefore, let nobody think that city perished only at the time of its own ruin. Where such things are done, the inhabitants had already [morally] perished long before they [physically] perished.

(14) I have spoken about the most famous cities. What about other cities in other parts of Gaul? Have they not fallen because of similar vices of their inhabitants? Their crimes possessed them in such a way that they did not fear danger. Their captivity was foretold them and they were not afraid. Indeed, fear was taken away from the sinners to obviate the possibility of caution. Thus, when the barbarians were located almost in plain sight of all, there was neither fear of men nor protection of cities. So great was the blindness of soul, or rather so great was the blindness of sins, that, without doubt, nobody wished to perish, yet nobody did anything to prevent his perishing.
Everything was carelessness and inactivity, negligence and gluttony. Drunkenness and sleep took hold of all, according to that which has been written about such men, 'because the sleep of the Lord had fallen on them. 42 Indeed, a sleep flowed in upon them that ruin might follow. For when, as it is written, his measure of iniquities being full and the sinner deserves to perish, foreknowledge is taken away from him, lest he escape perishing. 43 I have said enough about these things. I think I have proved clearly enough what I proposed. This was that the vices of the citizens never ceased, even to the critical moment of destruction of their cities.

(15) Perhaps you are saying that these things happened in the past, or no longer exist, or will forever cease. If today any city or province is struck down by heavenly blows, or is overrun, humbled, converted, and corrected by a hostile population, if practically all peoples who bear the Roman name prefer to perish rather than be corrected, it is easy to see they prefer to die rather than live without their vices. This can be proved in a few words by the fact that the greatest city of Gaul was destroyed three times by successive captures, and, when the whole city had been burned, evil increased after its destruction.
41 Eccli. 19.2. 42 1Kings 26.12. 43 Gen. 15.16. (The Governance of God,176, 177.)
Taylor continues describing the heretic:

(d) The wisdom of God permits it. Though it seems utterly to poison and destroy the truth, yet indeed he turns it to clear and confirm the truth, for by it the truth is further examined and looked into. As sparkles issue out of the striking of two flints together, so the truth discussed and disputed becomes more luminous and more victorious; yea, the gold comes no brighter out of the fire than the truth comes out of the trial of opposition and contradiction.
Use 1. Whenever Satan, according to his accustomed malice against sincerity, stirs up any troubles to stay the course of the gospel, to obscure the shining brightness of God's glory, and to bring confusion into the most wise orders and ordinances of God, then the Lord overrules the matter, and brings light out of darkness; he glorifies himself, purges his floor, proves his people, quickens their zeal, and trains them in humility and obedience. Let us not be discouraged, then, if our eyes see many trials; if we see the truth opposed, and doctrines of liberty broached far and wide; for surely, though the Lord may herein justly correct our manifest despite of the truth, yet he cannot and will not forget his own glory.
Use 2. Let us not trouble or hinder, but pray for, the peace of Jerusalem. Yet let us consider that though peace and truth ought to abide undivorced, yet (as one said) he who has magnified his truth above all things, has magnified it above peace as well (Ps. 138:2). (Titus, pp. 527, 528.)

First, the Gospel Church--the New Jerusalem--is identified as the Jerusalem in Psalms 122:6. (See Heb. 12:22, Isa. 62:6, 7.) Christians are thus to work and pray for the peace of Jerusalem -- that is, peace among Believers, 2 Timothy 2:22. See also CHS, Treasury of David, and John Gill on Psalms 122.

Second, the Lord glorifies himself through heresies -- he proves his people, trains his people in his word and trains them in humility, obedience, &c.

Third, God magnifies his word above everything, including above peace. In other words, Christians are forbidden to seek peace at the cost of compromising the word of God.

Taylor continued:

Use 3. Use means to avoid heresy, and to keep out of the degrees of such a distasteful fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:20).
The chief means to avoid heresy are:
(a) Lay your ground in humility, which alone cuts off contention, the eldest daughter of pride; yea, humility has a promise to be taught in the way of God.
(b) Be diligent in hearing and reading the word, and especially in obeying it; for this is the ready way to attain and contain yourself within the bounds of truth. "If any man will do his will, he shall know whether the doctrine be of God, or whether 1 speak of myself" (John 7:17). And whoever embraces the counsel and wisdom of the word walks in safety, and his foot shall not stumble (Prov. 3:21, 23).
(c) Grow up in seeking and loving the truth; and thus you shall grow in the hatred of falsehood (Ps. 119:113). David would never have come to such a hatred of vain inventions if it had not been for his singular love unto the law.
(d) Beware of heretical books and company. You can hardly get good out of the former, and hardly do good unto the latter, but can most easily receive harm from either, for both are leaven and infectious. The same may be said of sticking to philosophy in matters of faith; for even this will easily breed a heretic.
(e) Content yourself with your estate and portion, be it more or less; covetousness and ambition have thrown down a great number of the stars of heaven, and have been the seeds of most heresies, as history shows. Yea, in our days not a few have grown into dislike of their state, and in hope of better preferment have joined the heresy of Popery, and therein have drunk all manner of deadly poisons. (Titus, pp. 528, 529.)

First, it is important that one confront the heretic, but it is more important that he avoid getting caught up in heresies.

Second, remember that every person - including ourselves, other Christians and non-Christian - is prone to heresies. Because of the Fall, every person has the propensity to love a lie, and accept it over the truth. (Rom. 1:25, 2 Thes. 2:9-12, Rev. 22:15.) In other words, we love heresies and heretics; we love to be told what we want to hear. (Pro. 16:25, 2 Tim. 4:3.)

Third, remain continually humble, ready to be taught by God's Spirit through his word. We must be willing to remain within the bounds established by all scripture, for it alone is given to instruct us in doctrine, reproof, correction and righteousness. (2 Tim. 3:16.) Those who try to establish doctrine, &c., from other sources --- including from friends, respected teachers, history and from traditions --- are identified as heretics to be avoided.

Fourth, learn to love God's word. In fact, those who do not love God's word and God's will above all else are not his. (See 1 Jn. chaps. 3, 4.)

Fifth, "beware of heretical books and company." Beware also of those who exalt philosophy over the practical aspects of the Christian faith:

Philosophy --- 1) love of wisdom 1a) used either of zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. Used once in the NT of the theology, or rather theosophy, of certain Jewish Christian ascetics, which busied itself with refined and speculative enquiries into the nature and classes of angels, into the ritual of the Mosaic law and the regulations of Jewish tradition respecting practical life. (Col. 2:8, Online Bible.)

Accordingly, even a thorough knowledge of Scripture is not a sign that one is sound in the Christian faith. Even the devils quote Scripture, and the religious leaders who confronted Christ quoted Scripture regularly as they sought to take the Lord in his own words.

Taylor continues by developing how Titus was to act toward "such men," the heretics, which we will not go into at this time. (See our web site for Taylor's complete comments on Titus 3:10.) The Spirit tells us to,

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease. (Pro. 22:10.)

Taylor's definition of the heretic fits in well with 2 Timothy 2:22, a pure heart. When doctrinal errors in the fundamentals of the Christian faith are made clear, e.g., "justification by works" rather than by faith, the pure heart is humble, and it readily yields to godly admonitions and to the word of God. Does the person honestly love the Lord, and is he sincerely trying to serve him? If so, then we are to work at getting along with him, and avoid arguments about the mysteries of God.

We would end our examination of this passage here, but notice Paul's warning, v. 26, the snare of the devil. So we will "work" our way to that warning.

V. 24, servant of the Lord refers primarily to ministers, for their "occupation" is recovering those held captive by the devil. A major qualification of a minister is not a brawler. (1 Tim. 3:3, Titus 1:7.) However, the same qualifications must be met by all who desire to see those captive to sin freed.

[M]ust not strive, which is basically the same word as in v. 23. The servant of the Lord must not engage in quarrels and wars of words. However, he must confront those who would compromise the gospel, the heretic. (Jude 3.)

The saints in Jude 3 are identified as the Old Testament saints. Though "hidden" from them, the gospel of grace and faith was delivered to and through them.

As pointed out by Taylor, q.v., tough the servant[s] of the Lord must be men of peace, peace cannot be obtained at the expense of compromise.

Must not strive -- should not engage in pointless and profitless discussions. (PNT)

Apt to teach -- skillful in teaching.

V. 25, the ability to change someone's opinion is not found in the ability to argue; rather, it comes from proper use of the truth as given with a meek and quiet spirit. (See 1 Cor. chps. 1 & 2.) God is the one who must give repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. The key word here TRUTH, or the word of God. The goal of the Christian, ministers especially, is to have his hearer acknowledge the truth with his actions, not acknowledgethe speaker's opinions about the truth.

All the truths and doctrines of Scripture have but one errand; to call men to Christ... (Power, p. 43. His proof text, Mat. 11:28, ed.)

Here again is one of the mysteries of the mind of God -- man is responsible, but God must give fallen man the spirit of repentance. The spirit of repentance causes one to accept the truth of God's word as the final authority, and then the Spirit changes his actions accordingly.

V. 26, God, in his sovereign purpose, must give the spirit of repentance, but man, with his "free will," is responsible to recover himself; such a "contradiction" can only be understood by faith. In addition, the one attempting the recovery is also responsible for his attitudes as well as his words. (And many times, God in his sovereignty moves despite the spirits of those involved.)

Snare of the devil. Snare is an interesting word. It refers to something that suddenly and unexpectedly entangles and catches birds and animals. It catches them unawares -- they think they are safe until they are caught.

Thus people reject the truth, the word of God, and because the sentence against that evil is not executed speedily, they think they have gotten away with it. (Ecc. 8:11.) Actually in rejecting the truth, they have accepted the antichrist. Snare implies also that the "victim" does not see the snare, or what lies ahead, and the one attempting the recovery must approach him carefully. Such action is the real "Operation Rescue" -- that is, rescuing those who are caught in devil's snare. (Gal. 6:1.)

When one willfully rejects the truth of God's word after being admonished, he must be rejected as a heretic: "If Christ and his gospel will not be received, antichrist shall come in with all lying wonders, and shall prevail." (Titus, 527.) If the teacher is given over to the antichrist, Believer must withdraw from him if he does not want also to be caught in the snare of the devil. (See 1 Tim. 6:5, 2 Tim. 3:5.)


First, man's free will and God's sovereignty is, among many other things, one of the deep mysteries of the mind of God. We can only understand this mystery by faith. God says it, and I believe it.

Second, unity among Believers is based upon the common determination to call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Third, many are left in the snare of the devil because those attempting the "recovery" fail not only in good knowledge of the truth, but also they fail in the meekness of spirit. Many seem to think that the spiritual victory can be won by a loud and overbearing attitude. Is it any wonder that the devil keeps so many in his snare?

Extra comments about "Errors, Heresies and Babblings."

Though William Law wrote hundreds of years ago, he dealt with a very prevalent problem in the church today. Hence, let me call attention to a few statements from The Power of the Spirit with the prayer that he may call some Christians to repentance. Anyone who has been around the Christian community for long should recognize Law's warning against looking to human knowledge, wisdom and understanding instead of to the Spirit of God. The idolatry that exalts education above the inner workings of the Spirit in accord with God's word is very prevalent today.

By presenting the following, I am not implying that those who seek to serve the Lord should not get a good education; I am saying, however, that it appears that most "Christian" education seeks to replace God's Spirit with human wisdom. If the result of exalting education 300 years ago was a church "in a fallen and apostate condition," (p. 64) then what has it devolved to today? Observe:

... [M]any profess a sound doctrinal understanding to the letter of Scripture, but at the same time they reject the very work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and lives to which the plainest meaning of the Scriptures they so zealously study and guard would point them. (P. 36. His proof texts, 1 Thess. 1:5, 1 Cor. 4:19, 20,ed.) ...

... What can this intellectual approach bring to the study of Scripture except that which the most wicked scholar could also boast through a knowledge of Greek and his natural memory. A historical, intellectual or grammatical learning of the words of Scripture can do no more towards removing the fleshly nature and its works from the soul of man than the same human knowledge of mathematics or literature. (P. 37. His proof text, 1 Cor. 2:11, ed.)...

Yet Bible scholars are generally looked upon as having a divine knowledge when they are as ready at chapter and verse of Scripture as the learned philosopher is at every page of Plato or Aristotle. On the basis of a prescribed religious education, the clergyman is thought to be fully qualified to engage in that ministry for which the apostles had to receive an enduement of power from on high. This scholarly worship of the letter as greatly opposed the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and blinded men to the living reality which the gospel holds out to those who believe. The manner in which Greek and Hebrew scholarship is admired and sought after in the church would lead one to believe that a man has all the divine life and reality of a Paul if he can only say his epistles by heart. What could such a man truly be said to have, except the letter of the gospel without the Spirit? ... Such a man, while more thoroughly grounded in the letter, must remain just as empty of the reality of the gospel, unless he knows in his own experience and immediate inspiration and quickening power of the Holy Spirit. (P. 37, 38.)

Judas Iscariot knew Jesus Christ, and all that He said and did from the beginning of His ministry to His Crucifixion... And all knowledge of Christ except that which is from the divine inspiration of the indwelling Holy Spirit is as poor and profitless as was Judas' knowledge... (P. 38. His proof texts, Mat. 16:17, 1 Cor. 15:50, ed.)

What fuller argument is needed for this divine inspiration as being beyond the poor power of mere words, than the self-evident fact that the natural man is everywhere in the church singing of his love for Jesus and calling Him Lord with his lips, while betraying Him to the world with his life!... Men are more concerned about proving who had the right doctrinal interpretation of Scripture than they are concerned with whether or not the reality of the gospel is being demonstrated in their daily lives... (P. 39.)

... One can be so proud of his doctrinal soundness that the Holy Spirit cannot convict him of the unsoundness of his life. (P. 41.)

... As soon as any man trusts to intellectual abilities, skill in languages, or human wisdom as the true means of edification and divine knowledge, he gives himself up to certain delusion. He has sold his birthright in the gospel state of spiritual illumination for a name, to make a noise with the sounding brass and tinkling cymbals of the natural man. (P 47. His proof text, 1 Cor. 2:4, ed..)

... Had Eve desired no knowledge but that which came from God, Paradise had still been the habitation of her and of all her offspring. If Christians had desired no knowledge but that which comes alone from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Church had been a kingdom of God and communion of saints to this present day... (P. 52.)

And this love of human wisdom and knowledge so blinds men, that he cannot see that he is eating the same forbidden fruit and keeping up in himself all the death and separation from God which the first hunger for knowledge brought forth... (P. 53. His proof text, Ecc. 7:29, ed.)

... What vanity, then, to count progress in terms of numbers of new and lofty cathedrals, chapels, sanctuaries, mission stations, and multiplied new membership lists, when there is no change in this undeniable departure of men's hearts from the living God. Yea, let the whole world be converted to Christianity of this kind (that exalts human knowledge and wisdom above the Spirit's breath in the individual, ed.), and let every citizen be a member of some Protestant or Catholic church and mouth the creed every Lord's day; and no more would have been accomplished toward bringing the kingdom of God among men than if they had all joined this or that philosophical society or social fraternity. (Pp. 55, 56.)

(1 Cor. 2:14, ed.) is telling us in the plainest terms that it is just as essential for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of Scripture to the reader today as it was necessary for Him to inspire the writers thereof in their day. (P. 61.) .. Therefore the Scriptures should only be read in an attitude of prayer, trusting to the inward working of the Holy Spirit to make their truths a living reality within us... (P. 62.) ...[W]here God is not, there is the Devil; and where the Spirit rules not, there is all the work of the flesh, though nothing be talked of but spiritual and Christian matters... (P. 63.)
How much is to be lamented that from one end of learned Christendom to the other little is thought of as the true and proper means of attaining divine knowledge, but that which every natural, selfish, proud, vain-glorious worldly man can do. The Scriptures are studied much as the arts and science, as though a learned comprehension of doctrines is everything, and the present inspiration of the Holy Spirit is nothing. Where is the divinity student who was ever taught to think of partaking of the light of the gospel in any other way than by doing with the Scriptures that which he does with pagan writers, whether poets, orators, or comedians: namely, exercise his logic, rhetoric, and critical skill in analyzing and expounding upon them? Having done these things, he is thought by himself and often by others to have a sufficiency of divine apostolic knowledge. So that there are Christian leaders in abundance who have become experts in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit without experiencing His leading and power in their lives. (Pp. 63, 64.)

... And the very "demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit" which Paul said made his preaching effective is not only uncultivated and unknown by pastors and teachers, but more lamentable, those who claim to stand the most strongly for the truth of all that Paul wrote, deny and decry any thought of a manifestation of this power such as he experienced in his day... (P. 64.) Christian leaders are everywhere pursuing a learned, academic knowledge of Scripture words as the surest way to divine life... (as they follow Satan, ed.) to eat eagerly of this ancient tree of knowledge...( P. 70.) ...Need any more than this be known to explain why the Church of Christ today is in a fallen and apostate condition? (P. 64.)

Since calling Jesus Lord must be more than mere words, what could so fully oppose the Holy Spirit as that worship of the letter of Scripture that is so prevalent among Christians today? (Early 1700s, ed.) When this empty, powerless knowledge of the letter of spiritual truth is held to be the possession of the truth itself, then darkness, delusion, and death overshadow Christendom... Whatever is not of and from this life and governed by the Holy Spirit in possession of the heart, call it by what high name you will, is no more a part of the gospel state nor will better influence man's final end than a similar learned knowledge of secular history. (Pp. 39, 49. The Power of the Spirit, William Law [1686-1761]. Edited by Dave Hunt. Christian Literature Crusade, Third printing, 1973.)

Bill Gothard and Booklet 52

As an introduction to an article by a man who was involved in Gothard's homeschool program, I feel it worth referring the reader to an article about Gothard's view of Civil Government. I first published it in October, 1992. My review of Gothard's "Law Resource F" is posted in its entirety on our web site. I will send a hard copy to those wanting one. When I first published the article, a reader contacted Gothard's office about obtaining a copy of "Law Resource F." The Gothard person spoken with denied the existence of the Booklet. I have a copy somewhere, but midst my mess, it would probably be impossible to find it. It is certainly a sad day for "Christianity" when "Christian" organizations deny the existence of published material. It is even worse when the Christian community supports and follows after those kind of organizations.

It is very important to note that Gothard was invited to present his ministry in the old Soviet Union. This alone should cause those of us who hold individual freedom, free enterprise and private property dearly to exercise extreme caution, understanding that Gothard's views concerning civil government are accepted by totalitarian governments. Even though we hear of the great changes taking place within the old USSR, we have not yet seen any dramatic change of property from the state to individual families; rather, we hear many reasons why the state must retain a controlled society. As evidenced from Booklet 52, the primary message Gothard takes into the old Soviet Union is one of submission to a civil government no matter how corrupt that civil government might be. It is commonly said that Carl Marx called Christianity "The Opium of the People. " According to Gothard's opening remarks in Booklet 52, he also propagates an opium which will subdue the populace to ungodly authority.

Gothard's Law Resource F, Booklet 52, successfully mixes church & state, giving the state almost unlimited power over the church and over the family (both Christian and non Christian), all under guise of submission to proper authority. Though I will not, for space's sake, be able to reproduce my article, I will mention some things from that October, 92 article.

The Indianapolis News, 8/20/1992, reported that the city of Indianapolis was considering a link with Gothard. The quotes from the News article speak for themselves: "'They say that it's not a religion. Yet Gothard in his remarks kept referring to his ministry. How do you separate those two?'" asked city Council member Frank Short. (According to Bro Cosby below, Gothard does indeed promote a religion, but not the Christian religion.)

Furthermore, "Lambart (representing Gothard) said the group does not promote religion or church, but simply deals with 'non-optional, universal principles of life.'" (This sure sounds suspiciously like paganism's "universal life principles." Ed.) And "'The concern within the social services community is that we help a person... without any sectarian overtones,' Beckham (Community Centers of Indianapolis) said." Thus, Beckham would let Gothard help if his "ministry" has no "sectarian overtones."

The article concluded with this very interesting statement: "(Mayor) Goldsmith said he heard about the institute from some local ministers who told him of the group's work with schools and orphanages in Moscow. Officials there reportedly have sought the institute's help in bringing Biblical principles into their education system." Note: Gothard is trying to convince the city that he helps the community without any sectarian overtones. (I personally find it strange that one who claims to be totally Bible based emphasizes that he is only teaching non-optional universal life principles, and that he is not representing religion with sectarian overtones. Is this consistent with God's word? Why will he not say that he is teaching the law-word of God? I have been to the seminars: Basic, Advanced and Pastor's. I have most of his material, and it is extremely well documented with Scripture and case history. The difficulty comes with his doctrine of state sovereignty. He seems to advocate total submission to the state to a point just short of Revelation 13 - literal idolatry. The modern state would be foolish to make such a demand; why should it when it can accomplish the same basic thing (worship of itself as sovereign) through licensure, regulations and "ministers" such as Gothard?

Whose side is this man on, the Lord's or the state's? Booklet 52 clearly shows that, although his foundation (basic universal life principles) appears totally Scriptural, he is working against God's sovereignty and for the state's. Thus he is placing the "principles of God's word" under the control of the state, not under the control of the Spirit. It appears to this pastor that Gothard's ministry is to make the individual more "holy" and more "docile" to the state. Is it any wonder that some of those in civil authority not only welcome him into their midst, but invite "his ministry?"

Gothard and Authority

Gothard undermined Pastor Sileven's pastoral authority while Sileven's church was in the midst of the heat of battle for freedom from state interference. Therefore, he has no right to talk about anyone not "obeying Biblical Principles" concerning authority - he grossly violated Scriptural authority when he stood against Sileven's pastoral authority. Furthermore, pastors who will stand against Billy Graham as being a liberal will support Gothard, yet are not both Graham and Gothard out of the same "bolt of cloth" with no threat to wicked authority, or the Russian government would not invite them into their totalitarian country?

I must admit that though the wicked might consider Gothardism's version of Christianity harmless, even helpful to their cause, we know that the word of God is sharper than any two edged sword, whether the listener believes it or not. In other words, I believe that the word of God can have a powerful affect regardless of who uses it.

Pastor Ovid Need jr.

Gothard's Homeschoolers

By Pastor Bob Cosby

Years ago, when I was a young evangelist just starting out, a dear pastor friend of mine told me, that he was going to come into a windfall and that he wanted to pay for me to attend the Institutes in Basic Youth Conflicts seminar by Bill Gothard. Since I have never been one to turn down a gift, I accepted and a few months later I attended my first seminar in San Diego, California. To say that it was a valuable time would be to grossly understate the facts. Very few ministries have impacted my life in as positive a manner as this one did. Over the next several years, we attended the Advanced Seminar, All Day Pastor's Seminar and every seminar put on by the IBYC. We read the "Character Sketches," "The Pineapple Story," "The Rebuilder's Manual," and all of the books they produced. We even kept copious notes in our "Life Notebook".

Bill Gothard broached some subjects that had not been dealt with for many years. For one thing, Bill tried to raise some standards for dress and conduct in a time when doing so was almost universally considered to be "legalism." The present movement toward Biblical "courtship" and away from romantic dating really began in his teachings on moral purity. He stood against contemporary music in circles where he was almost a lone voice. He preached on paternal responsibility when the norm was matriarchal. He stood against churches being in debt when all conventional wisdom encouraged debt. I think my father hit it on the head when a year after I attended my first seminar, he attended and his comment was, "This is revival material."

For my wife and I, the most important area that Bill "pioneered" was in home schooling. When Cathy and I first started home schooling it was because God had called me to an evangelistic ministry, and I did not believe in traveling all over the world while leaving my family at home. My father had made the same decision when I was young and I will be eternally grateful that my father chose to leave evangelism rather than be away from his family. If we were to continue in evangelism it meant we would have to home school. At that time the idea of home school was almost unheard of and we felt it a great sacrifice to do so. However, in time we began to realize that maybe this wasn't so bad after all. We began to see things happen in our home that we believed to be very positive. We didn't say anything about them because we were afraid of sounding too radical, but we were pleased none the less.

Then I had the opportunity to attend an All Day Ministers seminar in Atlanta and Bill began to teach on the advantages of home schooling and I sat in the audience dumfounded. Many of the things he was saying were things we had already experienced and to hear someone else articulate what we had experienced was indeed a thrill. So when Bill announced that they were starting a home school program sometime in the future, I signed up immediately to get the information. Some time later, we received an application for the Advanced Training Institute of America and to make a long story short, we were one of the 102 pilot families for the program. We had the opportunity to attend the training seminar at the Northwoods Conference Grounds in Michigan and were in on the ground floor of the program.

Evangelist Mike Greene once told me, in a conversation about the IBYC seminars, "Don't check your brains at the door." This was excellent advice and as we attended the various seminars we were constantly aware that Bill Gothard was not the sole authority for faith and practice, even though he had some excellent materials. In time we began to realize that Bill had some vocal critics. Some of the most vocal criticism comes from people who never attended which tended to lessen their credibility, but some were people who had attended and had seen through some things. Our position, when we were chosen to be in the program was that we would "chew the fish and spit the bones."

In the mean time, Bill was not without his own problems. Bill has never married, basing his doing so on 1 Corinthians 7:8 "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I." There have been reports of major problems developing from this position but the real problem has developed in the fact that his ministry has become a family ministry and he has never had a family. He is the coach who never played the game. Sometimes the result of this curiosity is funny. When we were at the Northwoods for our training seminar, Bill decided to get off on birth control and by the time he was through, he had prescribed that all married couples be, for all intents and purposes, celibate. When Cathy and I got back to the room she almost incredulously asked, "What did you think of that?" To which I replied, "You can tell that boy has never been married." On the one hand what he said was so ludicrous, it does not even bear any description. On the other hand, we were not going to miss what we perceived as a tremendous opportunity for our children because he was stupid in one area.

Some of the things that arose from this lack of practical knowledge was far more serious. Since he had no idea what it was like to have all of the interruptions that come from having a large family living in the parsonage, he demanded things that my wife and I simply could not deliver. More times than I care to remember, I came home to find my wife in tears and had to assure her that she did not have to match up with the "perfect" mom as described by Bill. But all of these things can be overlooked because of the meaty teaching in other areas.

The most serious error in the teaching of Bill Gothard involves the area of authority and the Christians response to authority. At the time when Bill first began to minister, our nation was filled with anarchy and unrest. If there was ever a time for a balanced and Biblical look into the area of authority, we were in it. Our nation in general, and Christians specifically, needed to be reminded that there are some absolutes and that God had instituted and established certain human authorities. Bill taught the things that most students of the Word of God recognize in the area of authority, that God had established and ordained three spheres of human authority:

The Home - Genesis 2:24
The Church - Hebrews 13:17
Civil Government - Romans 13:1-7

But Bill adds a fourth institution of human authority which he calls "business" by using verses such as Colossians 3:22 and substituting the position of an employee for that of a servant. There are several reasons why I completely reject this position. 1) The economy that God instituted was agrarian and not commercial. In fact, Revelation 18:4 gives us a solemn warning concerning our involvement in the commercial system. 2) Business is not based on position but upon contract. Both employee and employer are servants to the contract that binds them. 3) There is no mention of business as an authority. This fourth area will be the source of a lot of the unbiblical positions that Bill takes as we will see later on in the article. 4) A master owns the labor of the servant while the employer buys the labor of the employee.

The basic position that Bill takes is that these institutions are placed over us, not only to perfect an orderly society, but that they are there for the purpose of God working out his good pleasure in our lives. Relying heavily on Proverbs 21:1 "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will," Bill takes the position that God uses authorities to teach us in the same way that a tool is used by the craftsman. "Each of us has a multitude of character deficiencies that need to be perfected. God uses those in authority to do this. God assures us that the heart of one who is in authority is in His hand, and that He turns it in the same way he does a meandering river by using the pressure of current and time."

There is therefore almost no circumstance where an authority is not justified in what he commands. Even wicked rulers, ruling by and for their own caprice, are considered to be acting for our benefit and are to be obeyed almost without question. The Apostle Paul, writing under inspiration of God in Romans 13:4 tells us "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." Bill would interpret this to mean that governments do good without realizing that there are rulers like King Manassah who in 2 Kings 21:9 ". . . seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel."

In a mailing sent to introduce the ATIA the following position of the ATIA was stated: "The curriculum content of ATIA applies the principles being taught to a family's relationship to government officials and church leaders. Accordingly, every effort is made to comply with government regulations unless doing so would directly violate Biblical commands." On it's face we would have no problem with that statement. However we have some real problems with the way this principle is applied.

Mark 13:9 says, "But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them." Here we are told that the eventuality for the believer will be to come into conflict with the rulers. It is hard to be a witness against the King when we are obeying his unjust and unbiblical commands. Even the most casual of Bible students has to recognize that there will be conflicts develop between the believer and government.

So what do you do when an "authority" asks you to do something that is wrong? Bill has a seven-step outline based upon the confrontation of Daniel with the Melzar in Daniel 1.

1. Check our attitudes
2. Clear our Conscience
3. Discern basic intentions
4. Design creative alternatives
5. Appeal to our authority
6. Give God time to change our authority's mind
7. Suffer for not doing what is wrong

I do not want to be guilty of throwing the baby out with the bath water so I will preface my remarks by saying that in general, this is pretty good advice. There is no question that there are many instances where there seems to be a conflict between the Word of God and the orders of an authority when in fact the real problem is on the side of the one under authority. However there are a couple of problems with this plan. The first question that needs to be asked is, "Does the person giving this order have the authority to give this order?" For example, King Saul ordered his army not to eat, but Jonathan ate without knowing the order. When Saul ordered his son executed the people overruled him, in essence saying that although he was the lawful King, he did not have the authority to make that order.

David was the King but had no authority to order Uriah to sleep with his wife.
Ahab was the King but had no authority to ask Naboth to sell his vineyard.
Saul was the King but had no authority to offer a sacrifice at Michmash.
Uzziah was the King but had no authority to burn incense.

In each of these situations, a person would have been wrong to obey the order given because the person giving the order had no authority to give it.

Then, step three "Discern basic intentions" causes the whole system to fall apart. Bill assumes, almost universally, that the intentions of the one in authority will always be right. The Word of God and experience will evidence that nothing could be farther from the truth and if it is not true, the other steps are an exercise in futility. If the one giving the order has sinister designs, nothing good can ever come out of obedience. Several years ago in Nebraska, Churches were fighting licensure for their schools and took this approach, assuming that the purpose for licensure was to assure a better quality education. They had their children independently tested and the average score was well in advance of their counterparts in the public school but when that information was brought into court, it was not allowed. The issue was not quality of education, but control.

It was upon these two principles that we split from the ATIA. At that time the State of Arizona had a statute requiring that home schooled children be registered with the State. It was our firmly held conviction that the Word of God did not mandate or even allow for such, as education is not a ministry of the State but a ministry of the home. If they had no authority then we could not conceive of a situation where it would be right to do so. And then we looked into the purpose for the statute to see if there was some legitimate purpose they were trying to accomplish and since the courts had already ruled that quality education was not the goal, we could not conceive of any possible legitimate reason for their wanting to do so.

When I explained this to Bill's second in command, our position was dismissed with "Well, we do a lot of things that the government has no business in. For example we get marriage licenses." Well, it just so happened that we had discovered the real purpose and intent of the marriage license and mailed it back the week before. Needless to say, at this point communications broke down.

And then I want to look at the area of business being an authority. The place where Bill errs biblically, is in the assumption that the servant/master relationship in the scripture is equal to that of the employee/employer relationship today. The fundamental difference is in the fact that the servant is, either because of debt, capture or by volunteering, a subject to the master. All of his labor belongs to the master. In the employee/employer relationship, both sides are servants to the contract made between them. The employee is responsible to accomplish that which he agreed to accomplish, while the employer is responsible to the precise terms of the contract. Neither side has any right to try to hold the other to more than was agreed to at the beginning nor can they shirk on their end of the bargain. Both are servants to the contract.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that there is no natural obligation. Nobody is born an employee but becomes one by contract. When Tennessee Ernie Ford sang "I owe my soul to the company store," he did so, not because the "company store" had any Biblical or natural authority over him, but he had contracted so deeply into debt that he had no way to get out.

In my opinion, the reason Bill must include business as an authority is because without this as an authority, he has no authority. The IBYC is not a home, (Bill has never even been married), it is not a Church, (a fact that leaves it on very shaky Biblical ground) and it is not the government. The only authority that Bill actually has is in reference to those who have actually contracted to him under the terms and conditions of the contract. It was at this point that we were forced to break ties with Bill.

We were in the ATIA for two years and do not regret the opportunity. Overall it was a positive experience that we would like to have continued. When we started we knew that we did not agree altogether with Bill's position on authority but had no problem in the program because in the beginning he constantly used the word "suggest." "This is how we suggest you do things." Where we disagreed with Bill we simply didn't follow his suggestions. However, toward the end of the second year, there was a subtle change in the language being used. Suddenly it was, "This is how we do things." The problem was that his way of doing things within the legal structure of the State of Arizona, was to effectively give our children over to the State, something I was not about to do. When it came time to sign up for the third year, I called and asked whether this was a requirement or a suggestion. That question still has not been answered. Bill would never say we had to do it but he made it clear that he really didn't want us to continue with the program. We finally resigned from the program. That which we had felt was simply a difference in application was seen as a complete divergence in doctrine.

Since then, he has begun to include unbiblical relationships into the contract in certain areas anyway. For example, if a parent sends his child to the (Gothard's, ed.) "college" program in Indianapolis, he must agree not to have any contact with his child for a period of time, and then he can only go to eat every once in a while, or call on a very limited basis.

Bill not only uses his contractual authority to rule unnaturally over the home, but tries to overrule the Church. Another of the "pilot" families in the ATIA was a couple who went to a foreign nation as missionaries sent by their local church. Because they were in the program, they offered to act as liaisons for the ATIA and set out to do so. In time, they decided to cut back on their ATIA involvement and Bill promptly ordered them to come home from the mission field, even though they were sent by their local Church!

In all of these cases, Bill seems to see his contractual position as head of the ATIA as more important than the real authority in the matter.

In conclusion, I do not desire to imply that there is no benefit to the IBYC, the ATIA or any other of the ministries of Bill Gothard. There is tremendous benefit to those who are able to "chew the fish and spit the bones." However, if one is not careful, he will choke to death on the "bones" of this ministry.

Pastor Bob Cosby is pastor of the Honey Creek Baptist Church.

Letters &c.

(E mail, 4/7/2000.)

Recently the drama "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames" played in my town in the high school gym. I don't know if you are familiar with this "play". The idea is to present a number of acts in which the people involved die, and wake up to view a group of angels and the steps leading to the gates of Heaven. If their names are written in the "Book of Life", they are received into heaven. If not, Satan comes out of Hell and claims them for his own. The only basis for entrance into heaven is that one has "asked Jesus into their heart." My pastor was a counsellor at the drama and I mentioned to him that my major concern with this drama was that the word "repentance" was never mentioned even one time in the play. He assured me that the counsellors he was involved with for those going forward during the "invitation" were presented with the fact that this was not just "fire insurance" and that fear of going to Hell was not going to cut it.

I just wanted to alert you to this ministry if you haven't already heard of it, and to ask your permision to print copies of your book, "The Other Jesus", which I just downloaded form you web site, for educational purposes for my Pastor and the church.

I thank God for your ministry in this area and enjoy "The Biblical Examiner".


Richard Linck

Dear Carol, Jessica, Christina and dear Ovid.
May God richly bless all of you and your work which you're doing in the name of Jesus.
Thank you so much for newspaper which you sent for me. I'm sorry for my latter answer. Tell me how are you and your church family?

Novikov Sergey, Zaaporozhye region, Ukraine


Dear brother Need:

My name is Tonny Mollerskov, I labor at Faith Baptist, Lincoln, Kansas, Bro. Mark McReynolds is my pastor. My wife and I are called to go to my native country of Denmark to minister the gospel and translate the Textus
Receptus/Authorized Version into Denmark.

I would like to ask, if you can send us one copy of each of the booklets you publish, and 50_100 of "The other Jesus _ the gospel perverted", I booklet I was yearning for, as I heard a tape from another preacher recently on the "easy believism" plague _ bringing back the law of God into preaching _ not just "ask Jesus into your heart". If your cost per booklet is more than $1 please send me only 50 of the latter! ...

We look forward to hearing from you, this is no rush. We praise the Lord for "The other Jesus", it was sent to us from a brother in Finland.

Your servant and co_laborer,
Tonny Mollerskov
Missionary to Denmark


Greetings to you. I wanted to drop you a note to tell you how much I appreciated your little book "The Other Jesus - the Gospel Perverted". I could not agree more. Thank you for putting this in print. I'm sure you will get some flack from some circles if this gets out widely, but so be it.
The book is deep, in that it needs more than passing through in it's [sic] reading, but it is well worth the effort. Plus, I can't think of any way to "simplify" it either.
Thanks my brother.
With all my sins forgiven, Pastor, Sioux Falls, SD.

My name is Mario Arruda. I am from Brazil. I am a christian, and I like The Biblical Examiner. It's very well. If you have any material for me, please send me by e-mail.

Thank you, Fraternalmente em Cristo, Mario Arruda


Subject, Subscription.
Thank you, Moscow Missions.


Please send me The Biblical Examiner, preferably hard copies, Thanks, Tse Ming Wan, Hong Kong

Folks; thanks for your site it is really wonderful. I am working in Japan and need to read some good Christian material. It is safe here but extremely Godless. Keep up the good work. My wife and I teach a Bible study in a small Baptist church and I teach English. We could always use some preaching tapes if your church or another can send us some out occasionally we would be very happy. God bless your love and efforts in the Lord. Heb. 6:10

Thanks James and Nora Benedict in Japan

Bibles, book covers cause school grief

CONROE, Texas -- A legal watchdog group has filed a lawsuit against the Willis Independent School District, claiming it violated the federal and state constitutions by denying several students freedomof religion and speech.

In one case, the group charged, Cara Flotman, a middle school teacher, tossed the Bibles of two students into a trash can, saying, "This is trash." The plaintiffs are Angela Harbison, 15, and her sister, Amber, 13. The lawsuit also claims the school district told three students to remove book covers with the Ten Commandments printed on them. One of those students, Jeremy Pasket, and his parents, also are plaintiffs.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Houston by the Florida-based Liberty Counsel. Willis school district officials declined comment, saying they had yet to see it. (-Wire Reports, Lafayette Journal and Courier, Saturday, June 3, 2000.)


Online Bible CD

Don't forget, we have the latest version of Online Bible. It is the best study tool on the market: *14 English Bible Versions *Over 40 Foreign Translations *Homeschool Resource Index *17 Lexicons & Commentaries (e.g., Barnes' NT Notes, Matthew Pool, Matthew Henry, JFB, John Gill, A.W. Pink, Robertson's Word Study Pictures, Treasury of David) * Colorful Maps, Illustrations & Graphs *Step-by-Step Tutorial *Fast & Powerful Word/Phrase Search *Complete Manual with Index included. Furthermore, the program is updated regularly on the web for downloading (no cost). $52, post paid.

The Biblical Examiner, PO Box 6, Linden, IN 47955


We are now accepting articles for publication in The Biblical Examiner. Electronic format only (ASC II, WordPerfect (preferred) or MS Word. Order extra copies to pass out. This newsprint holds printing and shipping costs down. (The total cost now for each mailing is about $600, which is out of reach for our small group of believers. I have been told that the average size of a Reformed congregation is about 40, which is some more than we have. As a Baptist, by Reformed, I mean the pastor holds to the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689.)

The Death of Victory

I have been sent the final proof for The Death of Victory by the publisher. Check our web site for information when it will be ready.


Gore Picks Sen. Lieberman for VP
By Ron Fournier
AP Political Writer
Monday, Aug. 7, 2000; 1:38 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON –– Al Gore selected Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman to be his running mate Monday, rounding out the Democratic ticket with the first Jewish vice presidential candidate in American history...

And thus we have the first open Antichrist running for an elected office in a supposedly Christian nation. See the several articles about Jews in The Biblical Examiner, March, 2000. I will raise the question: Did Gore select an antichrist intentionally? Probably not, for I imagine he is hypnotized by the same delusive spirit that has a large percentage of Christians in its grasp – that is, Jews today are a race of people rather than simply a religion such as Mormon or JW. However, we have proved several times that "Jew" today simply refers to a religion, and no more.

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