This blog post is a response to the criticism of my online book, “The Misunderstanding of Faith.”
I broke fellowship with most Christians in my community because they didn’t want to obey God according to his standards. Scriptures like: be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2 NIV); be holy because I am holy (1 Peter 1:16 NIV), examine yourselves to see whether you are in the Faith (2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV), they didn’t want to follow.
Real faith in God is a high standard most Christians don’t want to strive for because it’s something they can’t do on their own—it’s impossible. But in order to meet his standard, they must put forth the effort to live humbly and submissively under the power of the Holy Spirit; but the pride in man’s heart doesn’t want to submit to the Holy Spirit.
The effort we exert everyday is making the decision to deny ourselves and follow God. This is hard but it’s up to us to make that decision. Then the Holy Spirit takes care of the rest of the work. Our effort is submitting to God’s power to work in our life and follow his leading. We don’t like to submit and we don’t naturally want to be led by anyone; these are the things we must overcome because Jesus said:
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:23-25)
People hate to deny themselves and take up the cross. They rather falsely believe they can get to Heaven by their own standards or believe that God has already “predestined” them to Heaven (regardless of their sinful lifestyles).
Obedience is NOT optional!
Responses to the book vary, but so far many agree that God wants obedience. But when the Scriptures speak of obedience being tied to faith, and without obedience they have no faith (therefore, they’re in danger of going to Hell) they don’t agree with that, they hate that part. Their hatred is a result of their tight hold to doctrines like Calvinism that make obedience optional. Why should a person strive to be holy, or renew their minds, or even examine themselves to see if they are faithful, when, no matter what they do, they still go to Heaven? Their doctrine renders obedience optional.
The Bible teaches that no one is automatically going to Heaven, or eternally secure, or are “predestined“, or persevered to the end, unless they continually obey God’s commandments (have faith) through the power of the Spirit.
Continual obedience through the power of the Spirit is the main ingredient (the condition for salvation) which these false doctrines leave out. Therefore, obedience is not optional.
Freewill vs Calvinism
Unconditional Election is a doctrine of Calvinism and it is defined in this manner:
God did, by His most wise and holy counsel, of His own, freely and un-changeably ordain some men to heaven and some men to hell by the nature of His good pleasure.
Unconditional Election is false because God continually tells us all to make the right decision (Matthew 7:13-14). Why tell us to do the right thing when we are already bound for Heaven?
While God wants all of us to go to Heaven, he knows some won’t continue to the end. We are not predestined or elected before-hand. This is against his Word. We all have the choice to follow God or the devil and receive the consequences.
Anyone of us could fall into a misfortune so bad that we abandon God and say, “The hell with all this Christian stuff.” The devil’s job is to kill our faith in God. The devil is deceptive and this Christian walk isn’t easy. How will we stand against people who try to kill us for preaching the gospel? Will we deny Christ? Persecution has come to America. The Bible says that in the last days, some will fall away from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1). Persecution and false doctrine is why some fall away; and many have already fallen. By the way, this is totally different from people who were never converted. Real believers and real followers can walk away from God.
We have choices, we have free will, and God doesn’t make us do anything. God wants us to love him in our freewill. Would you want your spouse to love you because you make them or because they choose to? Robot love isn’t real love—it’s not freewill and neither is the doctrines of “election” and “predestination.” God is not partial (Romans 2:11). So why would he chose to have some go to Heaven and some to Hell. Anyone can disobey and receive judgment and anyone can obey God and receive eternal life—it up to that person.
But there are those who have been shut off from God. Not because God didn’t “elect” them but because, when the truth (an opportunity for them to be saved) was presented, they rejected it; and so God put them under a strong delusion so that they would believe the lies (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). This was done to the arrogant Pharisees and the same is being done to those who continue to believe false doctrines like Calvinism and other beliefs contrary to the word of God.
The truth & agreement with God
I actually used to defend some of the five points of Calvinism until the Lord showed me my error. So I submitted to the truth. You must love the truth even if it hurts. If you reject it, God may put you under a delusion and you’ll find yourself writing long responses (anonymously) defending John Calvin’s teachings rather than the teachings of Jesus Christ.
It’s all about how a person understands faith. If they think of it one way, then they’ll look at the entire Bible through that filter. But there’s no harm in believing that faith is continual and you must obey according to his standards, or else. Even if I’m wrong, I’ll still go to Heaven like those who believe these other doctrines. But there is harm in believing Calvinism:
- A Christian won’t try his/her best to avoid sin through the power of God
- If the doctrine is false, (which it is) the person will end up in Hell because they didn’t obey God according to his standards.
That damn flower
Every time I discuss my book with those who disagree, they continuous bring up John Calvin and his little flower. They are quick to defend his teachings as if he died and rose again. As far as John Calvin (J.C.) is concerned, stop associating yourselves with this dead man and associate yourself with this living God/Man, the other J.C.: Jesus Christ. Be a disciple of Christ, not a Calvinist. This scripture comes to mind:
11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:11-13)
Just replace Paul, Apollos and Cephas with John Calvin and you’ll see the point. We need to stop lifting up men and lift up God and his Word regardless if we like it or not. If we reject his teachings because we don’t agree with his standards, he may just put us under a strong delusion as the Scripture says:
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
The point of my book was simple: Christians have misunderstood faith in God. But faith is continually obeying the one true God according to his standards through the power of his Spirit–that’s it.
Accept the truth or die.