“Descent Into Error” Part 3

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Continued from “Descent Into Error” Part 2

Judgement without Discernment

Occasionally debates would arise about Calvinism.  During different debates the group argued “the issues of Calvinism are not important, what is important is if we all believe in the essentials.”  The essentials they listed are things like the Trinity, the resurrection of Christ, Christ is God, faith alone, the bible alone, Christ is the only way to heaven, Christ’s sacrifice as sufficient to save sinners, salvation is not by works, etc..

However, I noticed they would not stick to this standard when judging other ministries.  For example, if a ministry didn’t preach on sin very much they were apostate.  If a ministry had an altar call they are apostate because that means they teach “easy-believism.”  If a denomination ordained homosexuals they were apostate.  The list of essentials seemed to grow as time went on.

While I would agree these are issues that deserve attention I would like to point out many of these ministries they were condemning believe in the same “essentials” they did, not all, but many do.  This taught me the problem really isn’t about the essentials, its about the god you believe in. Has your god declared “If a pastor doesn’t preach on sin very much they are apostate” or “altar calls are a false gospel because ‘totally depraved’ sinners cannot believe the truth?”  Has your god declared “if anyone ordains homosexuals they are apostate”?

What is the highest form of essential doctrine there is?  It must be the character and nature of God. The gospel is important but its not the highest form of doctrine, its the God behind the gospel being preached that is the most important.  The gospel is ABOUT God!

Many false teachers preach the essentials but they do not preach about the same God, isn’t this “really” the problem?

One day we were discussing a book called “The Shack”.  I have never read the book but hear it depicts God in ways that are not true.  When we were discussing what people were saying about it someone said “Its blasphemy to change God’s character!”  I agreed. The problem is this same person a year or so later messed with God’s character by embracing Calvinism.  A doctrine that changes God’s character from what he once believed to something completely different.

Does your God eternally love everyone?  Mine does.  Does your God hate people before they are born?  Mine doesn’t.  Does your God punish sinners with further condemnation for not believing a gospel never mean’t for them?  Mine doesn’t.  Which god do you serve?

God’s character IS an essential issue!  If you don’t believe me, on what basis do you judge other ministries as apostate? Its ultimately because your God doesn’t agree with theirs, even if these ministries believe in the same “essentials” you do.

So the argument that we all believe in the essentials and that “makes us one” is baloney.  Why can the witnessing team have discernment in other ministries but not in their own belief systems?  Why do they keep telling me we all believe the same things about God when in fact we do not?  Are they more interested in friendship and keeping the peace then they do with the truth of God?  Do they not see their own inconsistency?  Or perhaps ignoring it is better!

God Hates Sinners?

Sometimes while witnessing we might encounter someone who is downright nasty about God.  There are family members in the witnessing group that are like this.  When I asked members of our group “How do you feel about your loved ones going to hell” was responded with “of course God would hate him/her, because the sinner hates God.”

This brought up two points I was not aware of.

1) God hates the sinner,

2) God hates the sinner because the sinner hates God.

Does God hate the sinner?

Early on when the witnessing group was formed the consensus was more on God hating the sin, but later on that emphasis changed to God hating the sin and the sinner and then to God hating people. Verses in Psalms were used to illustrate this point.  “The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. (Psalm 5:5)” or “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalm 7:11) or “The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul HATETH” ( Ps. 11:5 ).  God “hated Esau” before he did anything good or bad as in Romans 9 or the Potter creates clay to be dishonored or destroyed.  After all, “God has the right to love or hate whoever He wants to” as they say.  When God says “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and compassion on whom I will have compassion” was interpreted as God can withhold His compassion and mercy from whoever He chooses.  “Why would God love sinners who already hate Him?” was becoming a typical response.

Calvinists will tell you “sinners deserve their fate” and show you verses to indicate “these guys are really sinful and God is justified in destroying them” but that is not the truth of the matter.  They are lying to you.  While Calvinists like to use verses that say “God hates evildoers” to indicate God’s hatred for sinners they also teach God’s hatred for them was BEFORE they sinned and God decided the fate of individuals before they were born.  Their sin has nothing to do with why the god of calvin hates them.  This is true for Calvinists and hyper Calvinists.

Many Calvinists teach God “passes sinners over” so they go to hell while some others teach God predestines people for hell.  Either way God makes the decision and both types of Calvinists agree that God decided this action BEFORE sinners did anything good or bad as they quote from Romans 9 where God loved Jacob and “hated Esau”.  So when Calvinists use verses to show God hates people for sinning… the truth is they believe God hated them before they sinned.  They can try to have it both ways but it doesn’t work.

This article is not an exhaustive study of Romans 9 or the other verses I am speaking about.  But to put it simply they are misinterpreting these and other verses by forcing ideas on them from Calvinism.  A sinners sin is just a convenient way for Calvinists to justify why their god does what he does because it makes their god look better, but in reality they teach a sinners sin has nothing to do with their damnation.  Calvinism teaches God didn’t die for the people who go to hell, and he didn’t die for them because he hated them before they were born.

Having said this I have to conclude from reading certain verses that God does hate evildoers or workers of iniquity or people who love violence.  God wiped out entire people groups in the Old Testament for their wickedness.  The bible teaches the concept that there is a time in a sinners life where their hearts are so hardened and their obedience to their slavery to sin is so complete that no matter what God does or says to individuals, they will NEVER repent.  They are self-deluded.  Their sins are full.  Only God can search the heart and know when this point of no return occurs.  God would prefer they turn from their evil ways and live.  THESE are the people God is referring to whom He hates…not everyone everywhere all the time as my soon-to-be-Calvinists friends were telling me.

For example, God did everything He could do with the Jews and it wasn’t enough.

Isaiah 5:3-4 KJV
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge , I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

Why did God do everything He could if He hated them before they were born?  Why is He trying to help people He hates?

The question is does God enjoy destroying people whom He gave no real opportunity to be forgiven? In other words, God creates people for the sheer joy of destroying them to prove he is the boss of the universe?  Does this sound like your god?  Its not mine.

Does the bible show God giving people the opportunity to repent?  Does He plead with them?  Does the bible say He doesn’t take pleasure in the death of the wicked?  Is His judgement on certain individuals always AFTER calls to turn to Him?  Does God wait until the very last moment to judge people?  Does God weep over those who refuse to repent?  Does this sound like love?  The answers to all questions is YES.

If God truly hated people the way my friends were telling me then that means God is a liar.  The true God would never lie to unbelievers by telling them “if you repent I will grant you forgiveness.”  But the god of calvin does lie to them.  The god of calvin has no desire to save the people whom he wants destroyed so any calls to repent for forgiveness is a bold-faced lie!  God has no intention to forgive them, God is lying to them! Jesus is also a liar since He knew who the elect were and still told them all the same gospel message of forgiveness of sins.

When God says “I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” He is saying He WILL have compassion.”  He is not saying “I will withdraw my compassion!”  God is defending His nature as a merciful compassionate God to undeserving sinners in that verse, not the opposite of what they were telling me!  How interesting that Calvinism gets that backwards.  Its almost as if its backwards on purpose.  Are my friends being deceived and influenced by satan I wondered?

Why do the soon-to-be-Calvinists in the group not see they are depicting God as a liar, as unloving, as a god who like satan, enjoys destroying what He creates?  These people are going out into the world to tell sinners their God is a liar?  Do they not THINK about these issues before teaching others?

God hates the sinner because the sinner hates God?

The question “Why would God love people who already hate Him?” is assuming God hates them because they hated Him first.  So lets be fair and reverse that logic.  Sinners hate God because God hated them before the foundation of the world. Why should sinners love a God who hated them before they were born as Calvinism teaches? Because God has given them the ability to live a miserable sin life with oppression followed by hell-fire for eternity with no true opportunity of escape?  Does this sound like sinners should be “grateful” to God for allowing them to suffer in this life and in the next?  Yes, God gives the unelect a small taste of Him by providing all the good things in life.  But does it profit a sinner to have temporal benefits?  Didn’t Jesus say “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”  What God is doing for them while they live doesn’t sound very beneficial.

Again, if God truly hated certain people then their sin has nothing to do with His hatred of them.  In fact, if God truly hates the actual person, then nothing they do, including repentance and faith, would matter.  God would still hate them, isn’t that the nature of hatred?  After all, the Calvinists interpret Romans 9 as saying “God hated Esau” before he did anything good or bad, right?  But wait, God gave Esau blessings while on earth.  Why would God do that if He hated Esau with eternal hatred?  God Himself is apparently double-minded like my witnessing friends.  He can’t decide whether to destroy Esau or bless him?

Sometimes I would see messages on Facebook or people in the group teaching others that God hates the sinner.  What good does it do to tell the world that God hates sinners?  How does that help sinners repent and believe? “Repent or I will destroy you?”  I thought we are a “witnessing” team?  Aren’t witnesses ambassadors for Christ?  Aren’t we supposed to tell the creation what God is like?  Are we telling the creation God is a liar, God hates them, God wants them destroyed with no chance of escape?  “Repent and believe” when its probable you cannot?  Repent and believe a salvation not mean’t for you because Christ didn’t die for you?

God certainly does hate sin and while there may be nothing in man deserving of mercy, there is something in God that wants to do something about that.  He demonstrated that desire in the cross of Christ who died for all.

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

As an afterthought on this topic I noticed these same people thought the attitude of the Westboro Baptists, who say God hates everyone because they are sinners, WAS WRONG.  I thought that a bit strange.  Since the group is embracing the idea that God hates sinners aren’t the Westboro Baptists the true form of that belief?  They are simply more vocal about it than we are.  Why deceive sinners by suggesting a God of compassion, mercy and love since God hates sinners?  We all sin so God hates all, isn’t that right?  So why not join the Westboro Baptists, they are Calvinists!

What these ideas do is move sinners further away from God, and it also moves the members of the witnessing team further away from the true God of Heaven who IS LOVE.  Such gross misrepresentation of God’s character caused me to wonder what kind of a god the group were serving.

“Descent Into Error” Part 4 – Love waxes cold to the unsaved

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  1. Francie says:

    “What is the highest form of essential doctrine there is? It must be the character and nature of God. The gospel is important but its not the highest form of doctrine, its the God behind the gospel being preached that is the most important. The gospel is ABOUT God!”

    Yes!!!

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