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Where Do We Stand?

Part 2


In a letter received in 1995, this was how it started:

Dear Fellowship Members, Please remove my name from your subscription service and mailing list. While I have not yet had time to read all of the literature you sent me, I have read enough to know that your eyes are not open to the full truth. God's anger toward iniquity is indeed true; however, teaching a hate doctrine is not what he wants us to do.

The above is an amazing statement in the light of Psalm 139:19-22,

Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. (See also Psalm 15:4.)

These kind of words are typically not heard in the halls of "Christianity" today. What is heard is an over emphasis on the love of God which typically flatters the sinner, making them numb to the utter reality of their complete estrangement from God, thus diverting them from the true fear of God, Proverbs 9:10. We feel compelled to ask the "Christians" of today, "Have you never read, Psalm 5:5; Psalm 7:11; Psalm 11:5; or Proverbs 6:16-19?"

You hate all workers of iniquity. (Psalm 5:5)

The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His Soul hates." (Psalm 11:5)

It is indeed true that God is love (1 John 4:7). But, how did/does He love? Romans 5:8 tells us,

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

While God hated us (we were wicked sinners, Ephesians 2:1-3) and we were His enemies (Romans 5:10), He loved us anyway and gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16) to take the hatred and wrath for us. THAT'S LOVE! That's awesome love! Men don't love like this. But, God is perfect. He can perfectly hate sin and the worker of sin (i.e. the wicked, the sinner), and yet love them anyway, having compassion and mercy upon those who do not deserve it. This is God's grace. How does Paul start his gospel? "For the wrath of God..." (Romans 1:18). To speak of the love of God apart from His wrath (i.e. hatred) and impending judgment is a perversion of the gospel. The very foundation of a proper understanding of the good news of God is, for the most part, not even preached today.


Except in some Reformed circles, this doctrine is either rejected or neglected (just not taught). Yet, there is a whole chapter (Romans 9) about it! (See also 1 Peter 2:8; John 6:44; Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14; Ephesians 1:3-5; and Revelation 20:11-15.) The bottom line is this -- God, from eternity past (Ephesians 1:3-5), sovereignly chose (having nothing to do with what the person may or may not do, Romans 9:10 16) who would go to Heaven and who would go to Hell (Romans 9:21-23). This certainly does not flatter man, but it clearly is what Scripture teaches. (For more on this see either, Eternal Security? or Calvinism & Arminianism)


There is a doctrine that sets us apart from this false Christianity of our day that WE DO NOT teach. But, it is taught by virtually every "Christian" church in existence that we are aware of. Fundamental churches, evangelical churches, Bible churches, and supposedly "right on" churches all hold to this doctrine that is nowhere found in all of holy writ!

Nowhere does Scripture teach that there are essential or fundamental doctrines that stand as a test or standard of orthodoxy (or a test or standard to determine whether someone is in the faith). Yet, this man-made doctrine prevails in what is called "Christianity" today.

It is exemplified in popular teacher (Luke 6:26) John MacArthur's book, Reckless Faith, on pages 106-107,

All who call themselves Christian should agree that there is a body of doctrine that is non-negotiable. The articles of faith that make up this constitutional body of truth are the very essence of 'the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 3). These are the real fundamentals of the faith. They are doctrines so indispensable to true Christianity that we ought to break fellowship with those who profess Christianity but who deny them (2 Cor. 6:14-17).

Then on page 115 he states,

It is not my purpose here to attempt to give an exhaustive list of fundamental doctrines. To do so would be beyond the scope of this book, and certainly beyond my own abilities as a theologian. As Witsius has written: "To point out the articles necessary to salvation, and precisely determine their number, is a task, if not utterly impossible, at least extremely difficult." (Reckless Faith by John MacArthur, p. 115).

So, on the one hand he says there are doctrines that are so essential "we ought to break fellowship" with anyone who denies them. Yet, when called to give what all of these important "fundamentals" are, they cannot tell us! Does the Bible teach such a "fundamentals" doctrine? Please note Matthew 7:24-27; Matthew 4:4; John 8:31-32 (not "abide in the essentials"); John 14:23-24; Romans 16:17 (contrary to the doctrine, all of Romans at least). Note especially 2 Corinthians 10:3-4,

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (Note: Christ and the Word of God, i.e. Scripture, are one in the same, Revelation 19:13; John 1:1, 14; Hebrews 4:12 13; etc.)

Paul told Timothy "no other doctrine" in 1 Timothy 1:3. In 1 Timothy 6:3, the standard is "wholesome words", "the words of our Lord Jesus Christ", and "the doctrine which accords to godliness" (see also 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 3:10-4:4). The "essentials" or "fundamentals" is the entirety of the Word of God, not some man-made list of doctrines that cannot even be fully listed off!

So, how do we know if a person is in the truth or not? See John 10:1-5; John 7:17; John 8:47; and 1 John 4:4-6; 2 John 9. There is no "fundamental" test. It is simply this, "Do they take heed to the Word?"


Akin to the "Essentials" issue is the teaching found in 2 John 9-11,

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

This actually exhorts us to reject this "Essentials" (or "Fundamentals") doctrine.

What is the doctrine (teaching) of Christ? Summed up, it is the entirety of the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation (see Matthew 7:24-27; John 8:28; and John 7:16). ALL of the Word of God is essential. Putting your trust in Christ is equal to and identical to putting your trust in God's Word (note 2 Timothy 3:14-15 "wise for salvation" and James 1:21). Why? Because Christ is the Word (Revelation 19:13). 2 John 9-11 warns against the exact issue we see so overwhelmingly prevalent in "Christianity" today. What is this? It is the ecumenical mind set that says basically, "There are all kinds of different doctrines that Christians differ on, yet they are still truly saved (i.e. "have God")." 2 John 9 reveals that a person cannot "transgress and not abide in the doctrine of Christ" and still "have God". In other words, if you are truly saved, you will not, nor can you, live in false doctrine. This is identical to 1 John that teaches someone born of God cannot live in sin. This does not mean that the true Christian is perfect, or knows everything, or is unable to be swayed by some erroneous teaching (1 John 1:7-10 and Ephesians 4:14 make this clear). What it does mean is that a true Christian will characteristically remain (abide) within the bounds of Scripture. Those who show otherwise (i.e. they listen to and take heed to lies as opposed to the Word) do not have God.

2 John 9-11 warns against anyone who would come along with the ecumenical mind set that says people who "have God" can have a wide difference of beliefs and still all be truly saved. This is a lie and contrary to sound doctrine. You will never find such teaching in Scripture. Actually, just the opposite is taught, "whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God."

Yet, you will find this ecumenical mind set quite prevalent in the false Christianity of our day. Note what Chuck Smith, Pastor of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa and founder of one of the largest church movements of our day, said in his booklet entitled The Philosophy of Ministry of Calvary Chapel on pages 14-15:

As you look at the church of Jesus Christ, you'll find that there is a very broad spectrum. As you look at our society, you will see that there is also a very broad spectrum of people with many and varied tastes. So at one end of this spectrum you have the very formal liturgical church: the prayer book, the robes, the choirs with their chants, the incense, the candles, when to stand, kneel, sit, and respond; everything's worked out for you; it's a very formal, ritualistic, liturgical form of worship; on the other end of the spectrum, you have no form, no program, a lot of screaming, a lot of shouting, a lot of utterances in tongues, people going all over and everybody standing up here and there; there's no order; no form; you sort of sit there waiting for what's going to happen next. There are some people who seem to be able to relate to God only in a very liturgical way. They like the rustling robes, the chanting choirs and the smell of incense. As they sit there, they have a sense of worship. When they walk out, they have a sense of having been in the presence of God and love to worship the Lord in that manner. I do not doubt that some people actually, truly worship and love the Lord in that environment and relate to Him in that liturgical way.

On the other hand, you have people who are all emotion and unlessthey've had an emotional jolt and have gone through a wide variety of physical kinds of things, they don't feel that they have worshiped God properly. In fact, they'll often come out of a teachingchurch and say, 'That was the most dead thing I've ever been in. I don't know how you get anything out of that old man; it was so dead. Why didn't they have utterances in tongues? Why weren't there miracles?' Their whole thing is an emotional kick. They live for an emotional high and in that emotional high, they have the sense of worshiping God. That's the way they relate to God, in an emotional way. God knows that there are emotional people; He also knows that there are people on the liturgical side. And God loves them all.

Because God knows that there are some people who can only relate to Him in a liturgical way, He has the liturgical churches so they can minister to those people who need the liturgy. Because He knows that there are people who can only relate to Him in a highlyemotional way, He has the highly emotional churches where the people can go and relate to Him through emotional experiences. I thank God for these churches and I see their place in the body of Christ. The swing of the church pendulum, then, is marked by the highly liturgical on one side, and the totally non conforming experiential on the other.

That is directly against 2 John 9 and Matthew 7:13-14.

Another example? Charles Spurgeon, the most popular preacher (Luke 6:26) of the last 100 or more years, has been called the "prince of preachers". To speak against Charles Spurgeon is considered anathema in today's Christendom. Yet, despite the downgrade controversy, if you honestly face the facts of his teaching, you will see that the man was ecumenical and "did not bring this doctrine" (2 John 9-11). Notice what he taught on several occasions:

"Our Father." That then, includes those of God's children who differ from us in their doctrine. Ah! There are some that differ from us as wide as the poles; but yet they are God's children. Come, Mr. Bigot, do not kneel down, and say, "My Father", but "Our Father". "If you please, I cannot put in Mr. So-and-So, for I think he is a heretic." Put him in, sir; God has put him in, and you must put him in too, and say, "Our Father". Is it not remarkable how very much alike all God's people are upon their knees? Some time ago at a prayer-meeting I called upon two brothers in Christ to pray one after another, the one a Wesleyan and the other a strong Calvinist, and the Wesleyan prayed the most Calvinistic prayer of the two, I do believe - at least, I could not tell which was which. I listened to see if I could not discern some peculiarity even in their phraseology; but there was none. "Saints in prayer appear as one". (The New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. IV, p. 390, Sept.12, 1858)

About seven years later...

It strikes me that the tokens of union are much more prominent than the tokens of division. But what are they? First there is a union in judgment upon all vital matters. I converse with a spiritual man, and no matter what he calls himself, when we talk of sin, pardon, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and such like themes, we are agreed.... My friend says that Jesus is fair and lovely: so say I. He says that he has nothing else to trust to but the precious blood; not have I.... I tell him that I find myself a poor, weak creature; he laments the same. I live in his house a little while: we pray together at the family altar, you could not tell which it was that prayed, Calvinist or Armenian, we pray so exactly alike;...Let me say that among true saints the points of union even in matters of judgment are ninety-nine, and the points of difference are only as one. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 12, p. 5)

With a Calvinist and an Arminian there are five "points"! They are doctrines that are diametrically opposed to each other! Moreover, the difference is not one of semantics, but of the gospel (Galatians 1:8-9)! Spurgeon goes on...

I hate High Churchism as my soul hates Satan; but I love George Herbert, although George Herbert is a desperately High Churchman.... Here is George Fox, the Quaker, a strange sort of body it is true, going about the world making much noise and stir; but I love the man with all my soul, because he had an awful respect for the presence of God and an intense love for everything spiritual. How is it that I cannot help loving George Herbert and George Fox, who are in some things complete opposites? Because they both loved the Master. I will defy you, if you have any love to Jesus Christ to pick or choose among his people.... You must love a spiritual man find him wherever you may. Such love does exist among the people of God, and if anybody says it does not, I can only fear that the speaker is unfit to judge. If I come across a man in whom there is the Spirit of Christ, I must love him, and if I did not I should prove I was not in the unity at all. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 12, p. 5 6)

In these quotes, Spurgeon is making unbiblical assumptions that a person loves God or has the Spirit of God, simply because they profess so. Such thinking is not found in Scripture. Actually, just the opposite is (1 John 2:3-4).

At another time Spurgeon said,

Set two brethren at prayer, the one a Calvinist and the other an Armenian, and they pray alike. Get a real work of the Spirit in a district and see how Baptists and Paedo-Baptists pull together.... What Protestant can refuse to love the holy Bernard? Was there ever a more consecrated servant of God or a dearer lover of Christ than he? Yet he was most sorrowfully in bondage to the superstitions of his age and of the Romish Church. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 29, p. 192, March 25, 1883)

If Bernard really was in bondage to the superstitions of his day and the Catholic church, then he could not have been a holy man of God! Spurgeon "does not bring this doctrine" (2 John 9-11).

Furthermore, Spurgeon said,

What is the reason why there are so many sects in the world? Surely it must be because we don't follow the guidance of the Spirit of God. If we followed the Word of God and the will of God in all things, we should be very much more alike than we are. I do not think that even then we should all run in the same groove, for the road to heaven may be sufficiently wide to have several different paths in it, and yet shall they all be in the same way and in the same road. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 61, p. 514-515, Sept. 28, 1870)

Please note Matthew 7:13-14 (and 1 Peter 4:18).

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Finally, note the following quote from Spurgeon:

If "Christ is all" to you, you are Christians; and I, for one, am ready to give you the right hand of brotherhood. I do not mind what place of worship you attend, or by what distinctive name you may call yourselves, we are brethren; and I think, therefore, that we should love one another. If, my friends, you cannot embrace all who love the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter to what denomination they may belong, and cannot regard them as your brethren in the Lord, and as belonging to the universal Church, you have not hearts large enough to go to heaven. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 61, p. 75, date preached unknown)

That's the exact opposite of 2 John 9-11! Different denominations depict differing beliefs. This is not Biblical unity. It is ecumenical man-made unity which only leads to a loose mind set towards doctrine and an ungodly tolerance for lies.

Scripture speaks of keeping "the unity of the Spirit" (Ephesians 4:3) and having "the same mind", "one mind", or being "like-minded" (Romans 12:16; 15:5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 1:27; 2:2; 3:16; 4:2; and 1 Peter 3:8). How could this be lived out unless there is an agreement on what the Bible says? Scripturally, the unity is created by the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:3), and not some man-made list of essentials. Otherwise, we would have to take a loose mentality towards truth and breach the commandment found in 1 Peter 1:13,

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (See also 2 Timothy 1:13.)

2 John 9-11 makes it abundantly clear (and plain) that a preacher or teacher who is ecumenical is not to be welcomed.