I recently shared an article by Costi Hinn on social media. The article is as follows:
Someone commented on it. The comment is below, edited for grammar and punctuation:
This sounds very much like the pharisees. It is very legalistic. Who is your Jesus? Did He not empty Himself and die on the cross for us? Did He not sacrifice everything to give us salvation? Did He not perform many miracles? Does He not speak to us daily if we truly have a relationship with Him? Jesus was the only one to ever walk blameless. He is the only one to judge us or others. To look on the outside like you have no sin is a good way to be that stumbling block for others. Jesus said that even a thought can cause us to sin. By putting yourself in a place where others think you’re perfect because of Christ is wrong. We ALL struggle with different things and we ALL fall short. But the gift is not earned; it was freely given. Jesus tells us that we will have struggles and be criticized if we follow Him, but He will see us through and lead the way.
Obviously, that is a long reply. What I have done below is separate each part of the comment (THIS part is unedited, so pardon the confusion). I then respond to each part as appropriate. Because I give some final brief words on this matter, I have placed this article under the “timeout” umbrella.
“Sounds very much like the pharisees.”
That’s not an argument, but an ad hominem attack, and it is a very unnecessary one at that. Please understand that the Pharisees were heretics who taught as doctrine the commandments of men (Matthew 15:1-9, 16:11-12; Mark 7:6-13). I’m not sure you fully understand what you’re doing when you play the Pharisee card.
Not so because salvation is not the issue here.
Furthermore, did you even read point #5 of the article of this original post? Why even associate with something (Bethel, Jesus Culture) that is unbiblical? If you don’t think Bethel Church is unbiblical, then you might wanna check these out:
“Who is your Jesus?”
Jesus Christ is the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world (Matthew 1:21; Mark 1:16; John 1:29; 1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8). He is the only way by which mankind may be saved (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Isaiah 43:11).
“Did he not empty himself and die on the cross for us. (sic)”
He most certainly died a real death on a real cross for my real sin (Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). As far as emptying Himself, we need to get a tad specific on this. False teachers like Bill Johnson (who is from Bethel, mind you, the same “church” mentioned in the article of this original post) state that Jesus did not do His miracles as God, (thereby basically stating He emptied Himself of His divinity before He went to the cross). Johnson also states Jesus was born-again (https://pulpitandpen.org/2016/11/14/what-are-bill-johnsons-heresies/). In short, he preaches a different Jesus than the one the Bible teaches (thus my warnings about Bethel, Jesus Culture, etc.).
“Did He not sacrifice everything to give us salvation. (sic)”
Define “everything.” That’s vague.
“Did He not preform (sic) many miracles…”
He most definitely performed miracles and many great things. In fact, He performed so many that not even all the books of the world could contain them (John 21:25).
“…and does He not speak to us daily… “
God speaks to us via His Word (Hebrews 1:1-4). If you want to hear God speak, read your Bible. If you want to hear Him speak out loud, read your Bible out loud. People hear from God daily if they’re reading His Word daily.
“…if we truly have a relationship with him. (sic)”
Here’s a crazy thought: everybody has a relationship with God. The question is whether this relationship is good or bad. This link will help:
As for the biblical texts stating as much, please understand thatwe were all created in His image (Genesis 1:1-31). Already, there’s a relationship of creation/Creator between every single human being ever created and God. Furthermore, this relationship is personal. After all, think about the complexity of the human body. The eye, brain and heart (or even the body itself) are so complex that this Creator/creation relationship only makes sense to be personal.
For the non-believer, another relationship already exists; God is judge over the non-believer. Furthermore, the non-believer, dead in his/her trespasses and sins, stands in condemnation before a holy God in His presence (Exodus 34:7; Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 2:8-10; Revelation 9:2, 14:1-13 19:1-20:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:14-46 Mark 9:43; Isaiah 66:24). Needless to say, this is a bad, damning relationship. Having a good and only a good relationship with Him (i.e., being a penitent believer in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world–Acts 4:12; John 1:29, 14:6; Acts 16:31; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21; Matthew 1:21; 1 Timothy 1:15) would be the best way to know God.
“Jesus was the only one to ever walk blameless.”
Believe it or not, there are actually no texts that describe Jesus as “blameless” per se (with “per se” being the key phrase there). Instead, these “blameless” texts pertain to the qualifications of an elder or deacon (1 Timothy 3:1-10; Titus 1:5-11). The more accurate term as it pertains to Jesus is “sinless.” While I certainly do not disagree with the above statement, there are more texts stating He was sinless than there are texts stating He was blameless. I’m being very technical here.
“He is the only one to judge us or others.”
Man is most definitely appointed to die one and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). We will all give an account for what we have done both good and bad (Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Revelation 20:11-15). God is doing the judging here.
As for judging others, if Christians are not to judge anything (as it appears you are suggesting), then Jesus contradicted Himself when He said in John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (NKJV). Given that God has authored all of Scripture and cannot lie, there is no way that Jesus contradicted Himself when he made the statement in John 7:24 (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; John 8:32 & 40, 10:35, 14:6, 17:17; Psalm 12:6, 19:7-9, 119: 9 & 11 & 15 & 104; Ephesians 4:21, 5:26; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:22; 2 Samuel 7:28). Furthermore, because God’s Word is true, we can trust no less than the following six passages regarding discernment and being on the alert for false teachers like Bill Johnson and the other false teachers that get invited to “preach” at a place like Bethel Redding:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15 (NKJV)
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” Romans 16:17 (NKJV)
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3 (NKJV)
“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. yet I certainly did not mean the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore ‘put away from yourselves the evil person.’” 1 Corinthians 5:9-15 (NKJV)
“Brethren, if anyone among you wonders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20 (NKJV)
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NKJV)
“To look on the outside like you have no sin…”
That’s a red herring. I sin daily. Costi Hinn (the author of the article of this original post) sins daily. Pastor Chris Rosebrough, a Lutheran pastor and the engine behind Pirate Christian Radio, also states we sin daily. This isn’t a “sinlessness” issue. The issue is that evangelical churches are singing songs by “worship” bands with strong ties/associations with “churches” that are heretical.
“…is a good way to be that stumbling block for others. “
Going back to the previous part of the above statement, this isn’t about looking on the outside as much as it is warning against false teachings and false teachers. Given that, how is warning against false teaching/teachers (which should involve naming names) tantamount to being a stumbling block? The apostle Paul warned against false teachers quite a bit, as shown:
“This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” 2 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)
While Scripture does not label Phygellus and Hermogenes as false teachers per se, Paul does name them as people who turned away from him.
“Be diligent to present yourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babbling, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.” 2 Timothy 2:15-18 (NKJV)
Here, Paul clearly names two individuals guilty of spreading a dangerous message.
“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.” 3 John 9 (NKJV)
Here, the Apostle John names Diotrephes as a slanderous individual. He did not merely describe him or his behavior; he named the name.
Here are some more instances:
- Paul’s calling out of Annes and Jambres as “men of depraved mind” (2 Timothy 3:8)
- how Paul called out Demas and Alexander for their deserting and harming, respectively (2 Timothy 4:10, 14)
- Paul’s public rebuking of Peter (Galatians 2:11-14)
- Paul’s charges to Timothy to, in the presence of all, rebuke elders who continue to sin even after being confronted by 2-3 witnesses (1 Timothy 5:20).
“Jesus said that even a thought can cause us to sin.”
He sure did, in Matthew 5:21-48. The very thoughts of adultery and murder are just as bad as the acts themselves.
“By putting yourself in a place where others think your (sic) perfect because of Christ is wrong.”
This is another red herring, but it is no different than the last one. As mentioned, I sin daily. We all do. Nevertheless, this sin struggle we all got does not mean we play the role of hireling by letting the wolves like Bethel Church and their heretical teachings devour the precious sheep (see John 9:1-10:18). Instead, we contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints, as Jude commands to all born-again believers called and kept in Christ (NASB):
“1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.
3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. 4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. 12 These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.
14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 16 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.
Keep Yourselves in the Love of God
17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting;23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Ask yourself, “Am I called and kept by Christ?” If so, Jude is for you. It’s for every born-again believer. We are to contend for the faith, not make excuses for fraternizing with wolves in sheeps’ clothing (like Bethel Church, Hillsong, etc.). This is part of what’s known as bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8). Christians were created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Refuting and calling out false teaching? That’s a good work (see Ephesians 5:11-13).
“We ALL struggle with different thing (sic) and we ALL fall short.”
This is true. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Paul discussed this struggle for believers in Romans 7:1-25.
“But the gift is not earned (sic) it was freely given.”
The gift is most definitely given (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-10). An earned gift is an oxymoron.
“Jesus tells us that we will have struggles and be criticized if we follow Him but He will see us through and lead the way.”
Looking at these last three sentences, it’s obvious you’re speaking in the abstract, so I’m just addressing them in relation to the born-again believer. Jesus did tell believers they would have tribulation (John 17:33). These same believers are to take heart, though, for Jesus has overcome the world.
I hope this response clarified some things in some way, shape or form.
To warn against false teachers and false teachings is not tantamount to being legalistic, a stumbling block or a Pharisee. Instead, it’s something Christians are called to do. The Bible is very clear on this (specifically the book of Jude). May we stop making excuses for tolerating false teachings, false teachers and other leaven that will leaven the whole lump of dough. Instead, may we take a stand for the objective truths found in God’s Word. May we do it lovingly and respectively, and may we do it at all.