Don’t get me wrong – I love Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches – particularly those recommended by Bro. David Cloud. Specifically, I love their faithfulness to the King James Bible, their zeal for soulwinning, their adherence to traditional worship services only, altar calls, the old hymns of the Faith, and so on.
But being brought up in the Wesleyan Holiness tradition, there are certain teachings I am uncomfortable with among IFBs. I am addressing a few of these in this blog.
Below I am reposting an article from Andrew Strom. Strom is a controversial character in some circles, but I believe this article is right on. Click here for the original text of Strom’s article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets].
THREE DOCTRINES from HELL
by Andrew Strom
Let us begin with an important question, “What are the worst and most damaging doctrines in the Western church today?”
I believe that the most damaging ones are the ones that actually steal people’s salvation and afterwards wrap them in a false cocoon of comfort and assurance. Three major doctrines do this. [I would disagree that these are the three most damaging doctrines, but they are certainly a problem.]
There is nothing worse than giving false comfort to people who are in danger. It is the worst crime imaginable and yet preachers do it every week across the Western world.
Imagine if a building was on fire, but instead of crying out and warning the people, you went and comforted them and assured them they were OK — even while the smoke curled up from beneath. Wouldn’t it be your fault if those people believed you and were killed?
Such is the situation today, and God will hold to account those who lull the sheep falsely with soothing lies. I tell you – this is a matter of life and death. And God’s judgment is coming against all who prove to be such hirelings – “tickling the ears”.
The 3 DOCTRINES from HELL:
(1) “ASK JESUS into your HEART”. [IFB David Cloud does an excellent job of critiquing Easy Believism – he prefers the term Easy Prayerism. On the second and third doctrines discussed in this article, Bro. Cloud tends to defend them.] We have spoken about this before, so I won’t spend too long on it here. The fact of the matter is that NOBODY in the Bible ever “asked Jesus in” or ‘gave their heart to the Lord’ to become a Christian. There is NOT ONE instance of this ever happening. There are no people in the Book of Acts repeating a “sinner’s prayer” to get saved. Nothing like it. This doctrine simply DOES NOT EXIST in the Bible.
So what did people do in Acts? Well, every time they wanted to become a Christian, they deeply REPENTED, they were BAPTIZED IN WATER, and also BAPTIZED in the HOLY SPIRIT. [I’m not sure why Strom puts this emphasis on immediate water baptism. To me water baptism is simply a witness to the world, “the outward sign of an inward change.” I do realize that in certain countries – such as India – Christians put their lives on the line when they take the step of a public witness i.e. water baptism. Also, I’m not sure why Strom places emphasis on immediate baptism in the Holy Spirit. This usually is not the reality of most Christians’ lives; even in the book of Acts, Christians prayed, grew in Christ and prepared themselves for forty days before the Day of Pentecost. Also, an immediate baptism in the Holy Spirit runs against the grain of my Wesleyan Holiness beliefs.] These three things were always done straight away [again I question this – “always”?] – and were regarded as ESSENTIAL – not just “optional extras”. We are short-changing the entire church today with a doctrine that simply CANNOT BE FOUND in Scripture. Merely “ASKING JESUS IN” is totally unscriptural. It is time to go back to getting people saved the BIBLE WAY. (-See Acts 2:38, Acts 8:12-17, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6, Acts 22:16, etc. See also my in-depth article at- http://www.revivalschool.com ).
Please notice that what the church is doing here is replacing Truth with something CONVENIENT, COMFORTABLE and EASY. “Just come forward and say this little prayer,” we tell them. No mention of DEEP REPENTANCE at all. -And a total lack of any real TRANSFORMATION into a “NEW CREATURE”. This is no salvation at all. We are robbing people blind in the name of comfort and convenience. How typical of the West. We have invented a lukewarm “salvation experience” to go with our lukewarm church.
(2) “ONCE SAVED – ALWAYS SAVED”. Now, having got people falsely “saved”, we create another ear-tickling wonder to make sure that they sleep on contentedly in the pews. While emphasising ‘tithing’ and attending church (-in that order) the main thing now is to keep them warm and happy – convinced of their “eternal security”.
And so we lull them with a doctrine saying that if they once got “saved” (ie. prayed the ‘little prayer’) – even if it was 20 years ago, then it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for them to lose their salvation. No holiness needed! Of course, we have to rely on the fact that they do not read their Bibles lest they find out that such a doctrine is a complete fabrication.
Thus, we conveniently leave out of our preaching such Scriptures as this: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. MANY will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works IN YOUR NAME?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART from me, you EVIL-DOERS.'” (Mt 7:21-23). Hmmm. “Eternal security”, anyone?
And of course, we must also leave out parables such as “The Parable of the Talents” because it contains this verse: “And cast the WORTHLESS SERVANT into outer darkness, where there shall be WAILING and GNASHING OF TEETH” (Mt 25:30). Notice that both the above Scriptures are speaking of people who think they are ‘saved’ but who END UP IN HELL. -And Jesus says there will be “MANY” like this.
And then there are dozens of other Scriptures such as, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” and ‘Those who do such things shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God,’ and “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord,” etc, etc. So many Scriptures have to be ignored if we are to preach this cheap “Once Saved – Always Saved” doctrine.
But notice again how well this teaching suits our comfortable, convenient Western mindset. Ear-tickling by the truckload. Candy- coated and syrupy-sweet. Can’t it be said that this is making people “two-fold more a child of hell” than they already were?
(3) The CHEAP “No Cost” RAPTURE Theory. [A caveat: although I hold to the Post-Trib view, I am not dogmatic regarding my eschatology. I feel comfortable fellowshipping with all premillenial Christians – whether they be Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib. Andrew Strom seems to take a stronger stand than I would against Pre-Tribbers and Mid-Tribbers.] Now this is a dangerous one to bring up! But I am concerned not so much with the TIMING of the Rapture here – but rather with the CHEAPNESS of it. Do I believe in a ‘Rapture’? Yes, I do believe in a great “catching away” (as the Bible describes it). But again, we have so degraded it in the West that it just becomes one more source of false comfort and cheap grace. This time to escape without a scratch before any persecution or tribulation begins. Once again – how CONVENIENT!
We are led to believe that our rich, fat-cat Western Christians with their false salvation and their “no need for holiness” doctrines will one day be flying in their jet airplanes and “Woosh!” – suddenly they will be gone. -‘Raptured’. Just in time to escape any bad stuff happening on the earth.
There are entire industries and multi-million-dollar ministries built on this whole thing — the “no cost” Rapture theory. How wonderfully it tickles Western ears! How we rush to buy the latest Best-seller!
But wait a minute. Wasn’t it Jesus (talking about the ‘time of the end’) who told his DISCIPLES, “This is but the BEGINNING of the birthpangs. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake”? (Mt 24:8-9 RSV). How is it then, that we are taught a ‘Rapture’ theory today in which we are “caught up” without any major tribulation or persecution? Jesus in the above passage clearly tells his DISCIPLES – His true followers – that they MUST expect great tribulation and persecution before the end.
It is very obvious from all the New Testament writings that Christians must go through persecution, sufferings and tribulations – and that this will get much worse in the end-times. There is never a hint that we should expect to be ‘Raptured’ without going through this. But again, the Western doctrine preaches comfort, safety and convenience – a kind of “cheap way out”.
Why is this such a serious issue? Well, a people who have been told again and again that God will “rescue” them before the real trouble starts – these are the most ILL-PREPARED people to face real persecution. The people who are most prepared are those who have looked the danger in the eye, and prepared their hearts to go through it. With our false comfort we are doing the worst job in the world of preparing our people for what is to come.
As you can see, what we have set up in the Western church is an entire system of FALSE ASSURANCE. First, we falsely assure people that they are “born again” when they are not. Then we falsely assure them that it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for them to lose their salvation – no matter what they do. Then we falsely assure them that they will escape all end-time tribulation and persecution with an ultra-convenient Rapture.
We have it all sewn up! It is a kind-of “cradle to the grave” system of false salvation –a whole set-up devoted to convincing Hell-bound people that they are going to Heaven by the “cheap and easy” route. Like the Fast Food outlets that we have invented in the West, it is all about ‘Instant Gratification’. It is the warm and comfortable way. No holiness needed. Just like going through a McDonalds drive-through. “Do you want fries with that ‘HAPPY MEAL’, sir?”
Every one of these lies is perfectly suited to our Western mindset. That is why they have been so successful. But that does not stop them being LIES. -Nor does it stop them sending multitudes to Hell.
We in the West have become devotees of a kind-of “no pain” religion. Sadly, that religion no longer resembles true Christianity. Let us REPENT of ALL such doctrines before it is too late, my friends.
To respond with feedback about this article, please write to email@example.com.
God bless you all.
Kindest regards in Christ,