Skip to comments.John Piper and the Prosperity Gospel
Posted on 12/11/2009 11:23:35 AM PST by CondoleezzaProtege
I dont know what you feel about the prosperty gospel; the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. But Ill tell you what I feel about it; hatred.
It is not the gospel. It is being exported from this country to Africa and Asia. Selling a bill of goods to the poorest of the poor, Believe this message, your pigs wont die. Your wife wont have miscarriages. Youll have rings on your fingers and coats on your back. Thats comin out of America!
The people that out to be giving our money and our time and our lives, instead selling them a bunch of crap called gospel. And heres the reason that it is so horrible. When was the last time that any American, African, Asian ever said, Jesus is all-satisfying because you drove a BMW? Never!
Theyll say, Did Jesus give you that? Yeah, Well Ill take Jesus! Thats idolatry, thats not the gospel. Thats elevating gifts above giver.
Ill tell you what makes Jesus look beautiful:
Its when you smash your car and your little girl goes flying through the windshield and lands, like I was with a little girl on 11th Ave two weeks ago; dead on the street for three hours before the police could let her go. And you say, through the deepest possible pain
God is enough, God is enough.
He is good. He will take care of us. He will satisfy us. He will get us through this. He is our treasure
Whom have I in heaven but you? And on Earth there is nothing that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart and my little girl may fail, but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
THAT makes God look glorious, as GOD, not as giver of cars or safety or health.
Oh how I pray that Birmingham would be purged of the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel, indeed America would be purged and that the Christian church would be marked by suffering for Christ.
God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him in the midst of loss, not prosperity.
That is a great thought.
All one has to do is read the book of Job to know that God will do as He pleases. I thank Him for all things in my life and the strength and peace to deal with them in a proper fashion
The Gospel tells us again and again that God will give us all that we need. This is used to justify the “prosperity gospel”
But people miss the point. I have become convinced that what the Gospels mean is that God will indeed give us all that we need. To do HIS work. Not OURS. And given that all he gave his own Son to do the hardest job of all was a robe and a pair of sandals, I wouldn’t hold my breath for that BMW.
Piper's theology is Reformed and Baptist. He also believes in double predestination, which includes "unconditional reprobation" as a corollary to the Calvinistic doctrine of unconditional election, and he subscribes to the Leibnizian view that God runs the universe in such a way that it will be the best of all possible universes. Piper believes in justification by faith alone apart from works, and his teachings emphasize the need for the active perseverance of the believer in faith, sanctification, and enduring sufferings, as this is evidence of God's saving grace. A once-professing Christian who does not persevere in faith to the end demonstrates that he was never a true believer in the first place.
Piper describes himself as an "optimistic premillennialist" and holds a post tribulation view of the second coming of Jesus. He maintains that Romans 11 teaches that a mass in-gathering of ethnic Israel will be saved when the hardening of their hearts is removed at Jesus' second coming. He advocates the importance of hoping in the resurrection of the dead at Christ's return.
Law and covenant
Piper does not don any of the typical hermetical frameworks, but claims he is furthest from dispensationalism, and closest to covenant theologian, or a New Covenant theologian in matters of the Law and covenants, but agrees with the Dispensationalist that there will be a millennium. He says that the Law was meant by God to reveal sin and show man's inability to live up to God's righteous standards. Christians, living under the new covenant, are not under the old-covenant law but able to fulfill its intent through faith in Jesus Christ. Piper teaches that God has only one covenant people, mostly believing Jews in the Old Testament, and now that relationship has been superseded by the church. Thus, the Church is rightful inheritor of all the promises made to ethnic Israel (land, kingdom, etc.), and Jews who reject Jesus as Messiah have no divine right of claim on those promises.
Regarding spiritual gifts, Piper is a continuationist. That is, he believes that supernatural gifts such as prophecy, miracles, healings, and speaking in tongues have not ceased and should be sought by the church, in particular with regard to missions and evangelism. He does believe, however, that the office of apostle has ceased  and that the gift of prophecy in the church is not the same as the inspiration of scripture . While he believes that God's supernatural revelation in the N.T. gift of prophecy is without error, he says that the prophet's perception, understanding and delivery of that revelation is imperfect and fallible , thus N.T. prophecies are subject to sifting.
Piper holds to a complementarian view of gender roles, and was co-editor of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood with Wayne Grudem. One of the chapters has been reprinted several times as an independent short book called What's the Difference?.
I also might make note of the fact that your original post is a "transcript" of what he says in that video... (just so people know that, too... :-) ...).
Here’s a good example of the delusion of the “Prosperity Gospel”:
The prosperity “Gospel” is the exact opposite of everything Christ ever preached. Anyone who buys into it has never read the Gospels. It is a doctrine of demons.
please read the book review by Gary Gilley of “Future Grace”, Piper’s book. My church did that book in Sunday school and it was awful.
Piper has a Roman view of grace - he denies that grace is primarily God’s unmerited favor, and he opposes a believer having gratitude for God’s provisions. This, he says, is a “debtor’s ethic”. Although Piper is a useful devotional speaker (he was formally trained in poetry), he is a doctrinally tangled individual.
But, to continue along the line that you're talking about, see the following...
Free Grace theology is a soteriological view within Protestantism teaching that everyone receives eternal life the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. "Lord" refers to the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and therefore able to be their "Savior". The view distinguishes between the "call to believe" in Christ as a Savior and receiving the gift of eternal life, and the "call to follow" Christ and become obedient disciples, meaning that the subsequent behavior of the justified believer is relevant in terms of the Lord's approval and rewards, but sanctification is optional.
In particular, the Gospel of John and most of the writings of Paul of Tarsus are seen by proponents as the overt Scriptural basis of Free Grace theology. A distinctive (and much debated) argument is that the Gospel of John is the only book in the New Testament with the stated purpose of providing the needed information for one to be born again. Another assertion is that Jesus Christ stated both explicitly (John 14:1, 14:27, Matthew 11:28) and implicitly (John 6:35, 6:37, Luke 10:41-2) that He "will give rest" to the believer, in contrast to a "troubled heart" and a demand of "labour" before salvation.
Free Grace theology remains one of the most debated subjects within Protestantism. It had ignited three major disputes: the "Majoristic controversy" (16th c.), the "Antinomian controversy" (17th c.) and the "Lordship controversy" (20th c.).
Some of the historical advocates of the Free Grace position are Johannes Agricola, Nicolaus von Amsdorf, Andreas Osiander, John Cotton, Anne Hutchinson, Henry Vane, William Dell, Thomas Boston, Robert Sandeman and Jesse Mercer. Its more recent adherents include L. S. Chafer, Harry Ironside, Lance Latham, J. Dwight Pentecost, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Miles J. Stanford, Warren W. Wiersbe, Zane C. Hodges, Charles Stanley, Tony Evans, Ernest Pickering, Curtis Hutson, Bruce Wilkinson, Erwin Lutzer and William Newell. Its prominent present-day expressions are the Grace Evangelical Society, the Free Grace Alliance, the Plymouth Brethren, Calvary Chapel, and the Chinese-American local churches movement. Free Grace theology, under this name, originated in the late 20th century as a critical response to a perceived legalist abuse of the New Testament by Calvinism's Lordship salvation, Catholicism, and Arminianism. These teach that perseverance in good works is obligatory as believers can never be completely sure that they are going to Heaven.
By Dave Hunt
The question of the "eternal security of the believer" is often raised in letters we receive. This subject has been the cause of much controversy in the church for centuries- and still creates conflision and distress for many Christians. It is too much to expect to dispel this problem completely for everyone in a brief tract, but perhaps we can at least help in that direction.
Those who believe in "falling away" accuse those who believe in "eternal security" of promoting "cheap grace." The latter in itself is an unbiblical expression. To call it "cheap" is really a denial of grace, since it implies that too small a price has been paid. Grace, however, must be absolutely free and without any price at all on man's part; while on God's part the price He paid was infinite. Thus for man to think that his works can play any part in either earning or keeping his salvation is what cheapens grace, devaluing this infinite gift to the level of human effort.
To speak of "falling from grace" involves the same error. Since our works had nothing to do with meriting grace in the first place, there is nothing we could do that would cause us to no longer merit it and thus "fall" from it. Works determine reward or punishment-not one's salvation, which comes by God's grace. The crux of the problem is a confusion about grace and works.
First of all, we must be absolutely clear that these two can never mix. Paul declares, "...if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Rom 11:6). Salvation cannot be partly by works and partly by grace.
Secondly, we must be absolutely certain that works have nothing to do with salvation. Period. The Bible clearly states, "For by grace are ye saved... not of works" (Eph 2:8-10). True to such Scriptures, evangelicals firmly declare that we cannot earn or merit salvation in any way. Eternal life must be received as a free gift of God's grace, or we cannot have it.
Thirdly, salvation cannot be purchased even in part by us, because it requires payment of the penalty for sin-a payment we can't make. If one receives a speeding ticket, it won't help to say to the judge, "I've driven many times within the 55 mph limit. Surely my many good deeds will make up for the one bad deed." Nor will it do to say, "If you let me off this time, I promise never to break the law again." The judge would reply, "To never break the law again is only to do what the law demands. You get no extra credit for that. The penalty for breaking the law is a separate matter and must be paid." Thus Paul writes,"...by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight..." (Rom 3:20).
Fourthly, if salvation from the penalty of breaking God's laws cannot be earned by good deeds, then it cannot be lost by bad deeds. Our works play no part in either earning or keeping salvation. If it could, then those who reach heaven could boast that while Christ saved them they, by their good lives, kept their salvation. Thus God would be robbed of having all the glory in eternity.
Fifthly, salvation can be given to us as a free gift only if the penalty has been fully paid. We have violated infinite Justice, requiring an infinite penalty. We are finite beings and could not pay it: we would be separated from God for eternity. God is infinite and could pay an infinite penalty, but it wouldn't be just because He is not a member of our race. Therefore God, in love and grace, through the virgin birth, became a man so that He could pay the debt of sin for the entire human race!
In the Greek, Christ's cry from the cross, "It is finished!" is an accounting term, meaning that the debt had been paid in full. Justice had been satisfied by full payment of its penalty, and thus God could "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom 3:26). On that basis, God offers pardon and eternal life as a free gift. He cannot force it upon anyone or it would not be a gift. Nor would it be just to pardon a person who rejects the righteous basis for pardon and offers a hopelessly inadequate payment instead-or offers his works even as "partial payment."
Salvation is the full pardon by grace from the penalty of all sin, past, present or future; eternal life is the bonus thrown in. Denying this cardinal truth, all cultists, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, reject salvation by grace and insist that it must be earned by one's good works. They accuse evangelicals of teaching that all we need to do is to say we believe in Christ and then we can live as we please, in the grossest of sins, yet be sure of heaven. Evangelicals don't teach that at all, yet a similar complaint is made by those who believe in "falling away." They say that "once saved, always saved" encourages one to live in sin because if we know we cannot be lost then we have no incentive for living a holy life. On the contrary, love for the One who saved us is the greatest and only acceptable motive for living a holy life; and surely the greater the salvation one has received, the more love and gratitude there will be. So to know one is secure for eternity gives a higher motive for living a good life than the fear of losing one's salvation if one sins!
While those who believe in "falling from grace" are clear that good works cannot earn salvation, they teach that salvation is kept by good works. Thus one gets saved by grace, but thereafter salvation can be lost by works. To teach that good works keep salvation is almost the same error as to say that good works earn salvation. It denies grace to say that once I have been saved by grace I must thereafter keep myself saved by works.
Such teaching, says Hebrews 6:4-9, rather than glorifying Christ, holds him up to shame and ridicule before the world once again for two reasons: if we could lose our salvation, then (1) Christ would have to be crucified again to save us again; and (2) He would be ridiculed for dying to purchase a salvation but not making adequate provision to preserve it-for giving a priceless gift to those who would inevitably lose it. If Christ's dying in our place for our sins and rising again was not sufficient to keep us saved, then He has foolishly wasted His time. If we could not live a good enough life to earn salvation, it is certain we can- not live a good enough life to keep it! To make the salvation he procured ultimately dependent upon our works would be the utmost folly.
"Falling away" doctrine makes us worse off after we are saved than before. At least before conversion we can get saved. But after we are saved and have lost our salvation (if we could), we can't get saved again, but are lost forever. Hebrews 6:4 declares, "If [not when] they shall fall away... it is impossible (v.4)...to renew them again unto repentance." That "falling away" is hypothetical is clear (v.9): "But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak" So "falling away" does not "accompany salvation." The writer is showing us that if we could lose our salvation, we could never get it back without Christ dying again upon the cross. This is folly! He would have to die an infinite number of times (i.e., every time every person who was once saved sinned and was lost and wanted to be "saved again"). Thus, those who reject "once saved, always saved," can only replace it with, "once lost, always lost!"
John assures us, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know [present knowledge] that ye have [present possession] eternal life..." (1 Jn 5:13). To call it eternal life, if the person who had it could lose it and suffer eternal death, would be a mockery. On the contrary, eternal life is linked with the promise that one cannot perish-a clear assurance of "eternal security" or "once saved, always saved." John 3:16 promises those who believe in Jesus Christ that they "should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 5:24 again says, "hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation...." One could not ask for clearer or greater assurance than the words of Jesus: "I give unto them [my sheep] eternal life; and they shall never perish" (Jn 10:28). If, having received eternal life, we could lose it and perish, it would make Christ a liar.
If sin causes the loss of salvation, what kind or amount of sin does it take? There is no verse in the Bible that tells us. We are told that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness-so apparently any sin can be forgiven. Even those who teach falling away rarely if ever say they got "saved again." Rather, they confessed their sin and were forgiven. Hebrews 12:3-11 tells us that every Christian sins, and that instead of causing a loss of salvation, sin brings Gods chastening upon us as His children. If when we sinned we ceased to be God's children, He would have no one to chastise-yet he "scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Indeed, chastening is a sign that we are God's children not that we have lost our salvation: "if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."
Some teach that one must be baptized to be saved; others that one must "speak in tongues." Both are forms of salvation by works. Some people lack assurance of salvation because they haven't "spoken in tongues," others are confident they are saved because they think they have. Both are like those who say, "Lord, Lord, have we not...in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Mt 7:21-23) They are relying on their works to prove they are saved, instead of upon God's grace. Nor does Jesus say, "You were once saved but lost your salvation" He says, "I never knew you."
Here is an important distinction. Those who believe in "falling away" would say of a professing Christian who has denied the faith and is living in unrepentant sin, that he has "fallen from grace" and has "lost his salvation." In contrast, those who believe in "eternal security," while no more tolerant of such conduct, would say of the same person that probably Christ "never knew him"-he was never a Christian. We must give the comfort and assurance of Scripture to those who are saved; but at the same time we must not give false and un-Biblical comfort to those who merely say they are saved but deny with their lives what they profess with their lips.
Are we not then saved by our works? Indeed not! In I Corinthians 3:12-15 every Christian's works are tried by fire at the "judgment seat of Christ" before which "we must all appear" (2 Cor 5:10). Good works bring rewards; a lack of them does not cause loss of salvation. The person who hasn't even one good work (all of his works are burned up) is still "saved; yet so as by fire" (1 Cor 3:15). We would not think such a person was saved at all. Yet one who may seem outwardly not to be a Christian, who has no good works as evidence (if he has truly received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior), is "saved as by fire" and shall never perish in spite of his lack of works.
Do we then, on the basis of" once saved, always saved," encourage Christians to "sin that grace may abound?" With Paul we say, "God forbid!" We offer no comfort or assurance to those living in sin. We don't say, you're okay because you once made a "decision for Christ." Instead, we warn: "If you are not willing right now to live fully for Christ as Lord of your life, how can you say that you were really sincere when you supposedly committed yourself to Him at some time in the past?" And to all we declare with Paul, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves" (2 Cor 13:5).
Our confidence for eternity rests in His unchanging love and grace and the sufficiency of Gods provision in Christ-not in our worth or performance. Only when this is clear do we have real peace with God. Only then can we truly love Him and live for Him out of gratitude for the eternal life He has given to us as a free gift of His grace- a gift He will not take back and which He makes certain can never be lost!"
- Dave Hunt
The position taken herein is not based upon either Calvinism or Arminianism, both of which Dave Hunt opposes. For further discussion see his book, whatever Happened to Heaven?
For more information contact
THE BEREAN CALL
PO Box 7Ol9
Bend, OR 97708-7019
I think the Health, Wealth and Prosperity Gospel is an abomination. One is going to have to explain Hebrews 11 if they believe that heresy...
In Wikipedia, see the "Prosperity Gospel"... It will give you an overview and some thinking on the matter, but Wikipedia is not a theology site, so don't make it so... :-)
Written by Gary Gilley
Piper likes to shock. He makes statements, and creates phrases (e.g. Christian hedonism) that unravels his readers. His goal is to get our attention and provide a basis for changing the way we think. It works, but it also confuses. While I appreciate much of what Piper says, I have found that his readers interpret him in many ways. This is always true to some degree we all put or own spin on what we read and hear, but Pipers writings seem to lend themselves to this problem more than most. Why? Because he says things so many different ways. About the time you think you know what he is saying he addresses an issue from a different direction and leaves you scratching your head. Or he attacks a time-honored position of Bible teachers, replaces it with his own, then turns around later and softens his blows only to attack afresh in a future chapter. Such tactics are common place in Future Grace.
The book opens with a full-fledged assault on living the Christian life motivated by gratitude (he calls it the "debtors ethic"). This is unfortunate, surely there are bigger demons to exorcise from the Christian community (later, he will admit that gratitude is not all bad, as long as it is not taken too far, see pp. 48,49 and chapter 7). He replaces gratitude with "living by faith in future grace." Surely no one questions that the Christian life is lived by faith, but why he had to behead the straw man of gratitude to prove this point escapes me. Faith and gratitude are not enemies, they are friends. Both should be embraced.
It is impossible to miss Pipers primary point living faith in future grace. He repeats this phrase hundreds of times throughout the book, as often as ten to fourteen times on a given page. He repeats it at every opportunity, at every turn. I felt like the people of Israel who had eaten so much manna that it was making them sick. But like the people of Israel, I could live with this. My struggles run deeper.
I believe Pipers mistake began with the title. He attempts to reduce the whole Christian life down to one component, "future grace." This is an unfortunate and narrow-minded deduction. Once this premise is established he then attempts (forces) to reconcile everything else in Scripture around this thesis. It cannot be done and the result is a distortion of the Christian life.
Rather than writing about the privilege of placing our faith in God as one of the many important elements of living for Him (remember that Paul even spoke of faith, hope and love, and the greatest was love), Piper becomes too narrow and actually makes claims for faith that cannot be substantiated. Even the phrase "faith in future grace" is fraught with problems. Is all of the Christian life a faith in future grace? Is there no looking back with gratitude to Gods faithfulness (Piper, remember, calls this the debtors ethic). What about the present? Is God doing nothing now? Is everything in the future? When the future comes will it not be the present, a present in which, according to Piper, we will then be looking to the future? And do we really place our faith in future grace or do we place our faith in the God who gives grace in all tenses (past, present and future)? Undoubted, our author would agree that our faith is in God, not in "grace," but he seldom says so. Instead, it is "faith in future grace." This troubles me for it is not unlike the theology of the Word of Faith movement that believes faith to be a force that can be controlled and manipulated through the right methods. Piper would surely deny this, but he comes dangerously close to such a view in Future Grace (see chapters 6,8,12). Not only does he use confusing terminology but he often speaks of unleashing power through faith (see chapter 12 especially pp.161,162 for one example, also p.185).
Piper has good chapters on anxiety (3), grace (5) and patience (13). But he places the Christian under the Law (chapters 12,19) and his view of the gospel left me with grave concerns. In chapter 15 he presents a very confusing gospel message. He says nothing about repentance of sin but adds "delight" in God as a prerequisite for conversion. He also confuses, I believe, salvation with sanctification. Piper states, "I say that saving faith must include delight. Delight in the glory of God is not the whole of what faith is. But I think that without it, faith is dead" (p.203). So now the poor sinner must not only trust God but must delight in him before he can be converted. Incredible!! In addition, our eternal salvation, according to Piper, is dependent upon how well we live as Christians. "Jesus said, if you dont fight lust, you wont go to heaven. . . . If we dont fight lust we lose our soul. . . . Faith delivers from hell, and the faith that delivers from hell delivers from lust. . . . Faith alone is necessary for justification, but the purity that confirms faiths reality is also necessary for final salvation" (pp. 332,333). Wow, this certainly sounds likes works to me.
Future Grace has some excellent material but it is so entwined with questionable statements and theology that it is not worth the struggle to filter through it. Additionally, if swallowed without discernment this volume could do great damage.
Thanks for all your posts!! Have you ever read “Once saved always saved” (a book) by RT Kendall? Or “Reign of the servant kings” by Jody Dillow?
Yes, Piper is right about the prosp gospel, but it really doesn’t take a genius to figure that out
.... Thanks for posting the text of Gilley’s article.
Have you ever read Once saved always saved (a book) by RT Kendall? Or Reign of the servant kings by Jody Dillow?
I looked up the name... R. T. Kendall, and no..., I haven't read his book. I haven't followed him. I haven't read or followed Jody Dillow either.
I've followed people like J. Dwight Pentecost, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Dave Hunt, John MacArthur, Mark Hitchcock, W.A. Criswell, Robert Jeffress, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Thomas Ice, Chuck Missler, Randall Price, Earl D. Radmacher..., along with a number of other names that I can't remember right at the moment, and in similar Christian teaching as these listed.
Joseph (Jody) Dillow went to Dallas Theological, and although ROTSK (Reign of the Servant Kings) is a long, hard read (700+ pages), he’s a colleague of many of the people you listed.....
Also, RT Kendall was referenced many many times in Jody Dillow’s book.
There are two chapters of the book here:
Joseph (Jody) Dillow went to Dallas Theological, and although ROTSK (Reign of the Servant Kings) is a long, hard read (700+ pages), hes a colleague of many of the people you listed.....
Thanks for the information. As I don't know him, I can't say if his teachings fall into the Dispensationalist area or not. So, I'm saying this not even knowing where he's at, in regards to this.
But, from what I've determined -- is that anyone who cannot see the kind of theology in the Bible, which is labeled as "Dispensationalism" -- that puts them as a big question mark in my mind as to whether they can read the Bible right at all.... LOL...
I see that as a sort of quick "litmus test" to easily get an idea where a theologian is coming from. That doesn't cover all bases (of course not) but it's a quick and dirty test, if nothing else.... :-)
Do you know where he comes from in regards to Dispensationalism?
“Do you know where he comes from in regards to Dispensationalism?”
Yes, he’s literally written his doctor’s dissertation on the subject.
He’s just not a superstar. Currently, he’s in charge of a missions agency.
Yes, hes literally written his doctors dissertation on the subject.
Ahhh..., that would be interesting to see. I wonder if he's got it published anywhere (like a journal or the net or wherever...).
It isn't favorable on the book from Dillow and/or the other pastors/preachers who gave their recommendation to it, either (including some of those that I named... :-) ...).
I just throw this out there for some information...
Is this guy talking about the same guy as you are? Just wondering...
The dissertation is “Reign of the Servant Kings”.
Also, I was wrong, it’s not 700+ pages.
It’s only 672 pages.......... :-)
Yes, he’s slamming Jody Dillow.
Whether this is the right guy or the wrong guy -- I should just say that I would strongly disagree with the position presented. If this -- "They teach that a large number of believers will not inherit the kingdom of God." -- is the position, then I see that as totally wrong.
I hope this is not the guy...
The Troubling Teachings of
Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, and
Robert Wilkin (The Grace Evangelical Society)
and the Extreme Teachings of J.D.Faust
These men divide Christ's beloved body and bride into two distinct groups with two distinct destinies. They teach that a large number of believers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Faust's position is the most extreme in that he teaches that many believers will be excluded from Christ's kingdom, will briefly be tortured by the second death and then will be punished for a thousand years in the fires of Hades.
Hodges, Dillow and Wilkin teach a more moderate view, but they insist that many believers will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and that they will be excluded from the joys and privileges of the millennial kingdom. They will not reign with Christ and they will not inherit the kingdom. They also teach that a person can totally deny the faith, live wickedly and persistently in sin, reject the truths of the Gospel, totally abandon Jesus Christ, reject His saving grace, and yet be counted among the redeemed in the end.
Hodges, Dillow and Wilkin are brothers in Christ. To my knowledge they are living for Christ and walking worthy of of the gospel. It is not our desire to cast any aspersion on these men, their character, or their ministries, but simply to examine their teachings in the light of the Word of God. We hold no animosity towards these men. We agree with them on most of the doctrines of the Christian faith, but we are very concerned about some of their teachings as outlined in the articles below.
The teachings of Faust are far more serious and far more extreme, and we seek to warn believers regarding his false teachings.
Yes, you have the right guy.
The large number of believers to which they refer are the same that Jesus spoke of in the parable of the talents.
The servant who received one talent and then wasted it -— he was definitely not rewarded. He was saved, but not rewarded.
Gotta go for now.
Okay, thanks for your help. I do note that others who have been critical of those teachings have also said that they don’t doubt the faith of Dillow and being saved. It’s just that they don’t think this particular teaching is correct.
I don’t know Dillow, so this is all new to me, having just heard about him here and now (just recently). I don’t doubt that Dillow is a good Christian leader. So, I’m not getting critical of him that way... :-)
I do thank you for bringing him to my attention and I’ll definitely look further into what he says. Other than that, I don’t think I can really go into anything more about Dillow right now. Let me know if you come up with something else I might be interested in (in regards to this...).
By: Dr. David Reagan
"I believe that salvation comes by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and not by some arbitrary choice of God, for God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). I believe that faith comes through hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and that saving faith is always evidenced in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and in good works (Ephesians 2:10 and James 2:14, 20, 24, 26). As Haddon W. Robinson has put it, "Just as thunder follows lightening, good works always follow true faith. We are saved by faith alone, but faith that saves is never alone."
Do Believers Have It?
How Does It Relate To Prophecy?
A Review of the book, The Reign of the Servant Kings
A book by Joseph C. Dillow entitled, The Reign of the Servant Kings,1 has caused a considerable stir in theological circles. Although it deals primarily with the issue of eternal security, it contains some major prophetic implications which is the reason I have decided to review it.
Dillow asserts confidently that he has found the solution to the age old conflict between Arminians and Calvinists. His book left me totally unconvinced.
The book is anything but a joy to read. It is long winded, repetitious and tedious. It is also painful to read because it is full of agonizing attempts to explain that the Scriptures do not mean what they say.
A Third Path?
Dillow is a Calvinist. In fact, he is really a hyper-Calvinist because he believes that even Calvin was not true to his fundamental propositions. Incredibly, he accuses Calvin of teaching salvation by works!
He begins the book with a review of the two basic views of eternal security. He states that the Arminian view of conditional security allows for a believer to fall from grace and be eternally condemned.2 He points out that the traditional Calvinist view is that a person cannot fall from grace, but the true test of salvation is whether or not the person perseveres to the end.3
Dillow asserts that both views constitute works salvation, and therefore, both are wrong (p. 383). Interestingly, even though he is a Calvinist, Dillow states that "if one had to choose between Arminian and Calvinist interpretations of the relevant passages, the writers opinion is that the Arminian view is eminently more successful and true to the text" (p. 14). He goes on to say that, fortunately, one does not have to chose between either of the interpretations because he has developed a third approach that he believes is the biblical and "mediating path" (p. 14).
Dillows New Theory
From that point on Dillow pretty well ignores the Arminian viewpoint. The rest of the book consists of a withering attack on traditional Calvinism because of its assertion that a truly born-again person will persevere to the end. What Dillow proceeds to do is carry the fundamental assumptions of Calvinism to their logical absurdity.
Dillows reasoning goes like this:
1) God has predestined who will be saved and lost.
2) Those predestined to be saved are saved without condition not even faith or repentance is required.
3) The faith of those saved (if any) is a gift of God, not an act of will, because Man is too depraved to exercise faith on his own.
4) Faith and obedience are not related, therefore faith does not necessarily produce obedience.
5) Since the saved are saved, there is nothing they can do to lose their salvation.
6) To argue that the fruit of the Spirit must be manifested in their lives as evidence of their salvation is to argue they are saved by works.
7) A saved person can live a life of debauchery and still be saved. In fact "a saved person can even publicly renounce Christ and persist in sin or unbelief to the point of physical death and still be saved" (p. 311).
If you consider the last point above to be shocking, consider this statement: "Apparently, true Christians, due to their sin, can have no part with Christ (John 13:8), can be unforgiven (1 John 1:9), and can be outside His love" (John 15:10). He reaches this astounding conclusion because he says that none of the scriptures noted in parentheses apply to unbelievers.
Argumentation through Spiritualization
The length of the book (649 pages) is due to the fact that the author goes to great lengths to try to explain away the meaning of every passage in the Bible that contradicts his extreme theory. He does this by spiritualizing, trivializing, or re-translating passages to give them a novel meaning. Here are two classic examples:
1) Matthew 25:12 "Truly, I say to you, I do not know you." Dillow argues that all this statement means is "I do not appreciate you," but it certainly does not imply that those to whom it is addressed will be shut out of heaven (pp. 389-396).
2) Matthew 22:13 "Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Dillow denies that these words relate to the unsaved or to a person who loses his salvation. He argues they were spoken to a saved person who will live eternally in heaven! The "outer darkness" is not Hell; it is just the "darkness outside" the banquet hall where the marriage feast of the Lamb will be held (between Jesus the bridegroom and His bride, the Church). "No literal darkness . . . is intended," says Dillow. The "weeping and gnashing of teeth" is just hyperbole for the profound regret that certain sinful Christians will experience when they are not allowed to participate in the wedding feast. It just means they will be standing on the outside of the banquet hall looking in (pp. 350-351).
I am not making this up. I know it sounds like Alice in Wonderland, but hang on, because it gets even stranger. Dillow realizes the repulsive nature of what he is advocating, and he anticipates that many will be tempted to toss his book in the fireplace. So, he writes, "It is possible that part of the problem [of not believing his theory] is that many assume that it is faith that saves us. If that is so, then if we stop believing, we would no longer be saved" (p. 354). And all the time I thought the Apostle Paul said we are "saved by grace through faith" (Ephesians 2:8).
Who is a Christian?
One problem that emerges from all this is how do you discern whether or not a person is a true Christian? Dillow responds by saying, "We do not discern this by an examination of his fruits or an assessment of his grief over sin or a measurement of his desire to have fellowship with God" (p. 284). Can you believe that statement? It appears to be antinomianism gone to seed! (Antinomianism is the belief that Christians are free from the moral obligations of the law due to grace.)
Dillow cant quite make up his mind on this point. In one place he argues that the way to discern a true Christian is to ask him theological questions! For example, he proposes asking if the person is trusting in Christ or something else (p. 284). But in other places, he says a person can be saved who has renounced Christ! So, he finally ends up arguing that we should stop trying to discern who are true Christians because it is really impossible to know. After all, he points out, "a total unbeliever can live a long life full of good works" (p. 308).
Dillows extreme theology compels him to conclude that there is no way to discern whether or not a person is a Christian. How contrary this is to the Scriptures:
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. 1 John 2:3-4
By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:10
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
And what about the Christian who ends up renouncing Jesus as Savior and Lord? Can such a person die in unbelief and still be saved, as Dillow asserts? Not according to the Bible. Paul wrote, "If we deny Him, He also will deny us" (2 Timothy 2:12).
Where is the biblical proof that unrepentant sinners can be saved? Dillow points to Saul and Solomon! He argues that since Saul was once saved, he was always saved, and that continued to be true even when he ended up turning his back on God, living a carnal lifestyle, trafficking in demons, and committing suicide. In his summation of Sauls life, Dillow never bothers to point out that God specifically withdrew His Holy Spirit from him (1 Samuel 16:14). I believe this withdrawal was a clear indication of Sauls damnation. I believe David realized this, and I believe thats the reason that, following his adultery with Bathsheba, he cried out to God: "Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me!" (Psalm 51:11). Because of Davids sincere repentance, God did not withdraw His Spirit from him.
Regarding Solomon, Dillow points to the fact that he wallowed in sin and became a rampant idolater, yet he argues he must have been saved because "he wrote three books of Scripture which reveal divine wisdom available only to the regenerate mind" (p. 319). Again, Dillow conveniently forgets to mention that Solomon repented before he died, calling his lifestyle "empty vanity," and calling on his heirs to "fear God and keep His commandments ... for God will bring every act to judgment . . ." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
The Fate of the Unrepentant Saved
What will be the fate of those who are saved but who refuse to repent? According to Dillow, it will be a slap on the wrist compared to the fate of the lost who will be consigned to Hell. The unrepentant saved will suffer from the consequences of their sins in this life. After death, they will suffer embarrassment at the judgment seat of Jesus when they receive no special rewards. They will be excluded from participating in the marriage feast of the Lamb. And they will not be allowed to participate in the Millennial reign of Jesus (pp. 341-351).
But when the Millennium concludes, and the Eternal State begins, with the redeemed living in a new Jerusalem on a new earth, the carnal, disciplined Christians will be restored to full fellowship in Gods kingdom, and He will wipe away their tears (p. 531).
In other words, Dillow constructs a sort of Protestant Purgatory for the "unrepentant who are saved." They will be cast into darkness, experience deep regret, and be denied participation in the Lords reign. Then after having been punished for their lack of repentance, they will be restored to full fellowship.
Dillow asserts that those unfaithful Christians who never repent in this life will do so at the judgment seat of Christ when every knee will bow. "And, having confessed their sin, they, like the prodigal son, will be restored to eternal fellowship with their King" (pp. 530-531). If that doesnt constitute second chance salvation after death, then I dont know what does!
Dillow concludes that all Christians are heirs of God, but not all are co-heirs with Christ (p. 553). Only those who repented in this life and lived obedient, faithful lives will partake in the Millennial reign of Jesus. They will be the super-saints, whom Dillow refers to as "The Partakers" (p. 585).
My Evaluation of Dillows Theology
In my opinion, Dillows theology blasphemes the Holy Spirit by holding that spiritual regeneration can be so inadequate that it may never be manifested in any way in a persons life. It turns God into a monster who saves arbitrarily, regardless of faith, repentance, obedience, or perseverance. For all we know, from Dillows perverted theology, Hitler was saved! Finally, his theology reduces Man to a helpless victim of Gods arbitrary selection and renders his moral choices meaningless. This is a theology that makes a mockery of what Christianity is all about.
Dillows preposterous concept of salvation reminds me of an incident in Alice in Wonderland when Alice tells the White Queen that her statements are impossible to believe. "One cant believe in impossible things," Alice complains. To which the Queen replies, "I daresay you havent had much practice. Why sometimes Ive believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Where I Stand
I believe that salvation comes by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and not by some arbitrary choice of God, for God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). I believe that faith comes through hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and that saving faith is always evidenced in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and in good works (Ephesians 2:10 and James 2:14, 20, 24, 26). As Haddon W. Robinson has put it, "Just as thunder follows lightening, good works always follow true faith. We are saved by faith alone, but faith that saves is never alone."4
I believe the predestination of God means that those who respond to His grace through faith are predestined to be saved (John 6:40). I believe God has both a perfect will and a permissive will. In the Scriptures this is illustrated in the fact that "God does not wish for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Yet, He is willing to allow those to perish who do not respond to Him in faith and repent (John 3:36).
Mans free will operates within the boundaries of Gods perfect will and His permissive will. I believe God created Man with free will, and just as a person can decide whether or not to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, that same person can decide whether or not to continue trusting in the Lord. In other words, I believe a person can stop believing (John 15:2, 6, Romans 2:6-8, Colossians 1:22-23, Hebrews 10:26-27, and 2 Peter 2:20-21), and I believe that if a person stops believing, that person is no longer an heir of salvation. As Dillow himself expresses it, "If [faith saves us], then if we stop believing, we would no longer be saved" (p. 354).
I really do not have any great problem with traditional Calvinism, even though I disagree with it.5 The reason can be illustrated in the following story.
Suppose there is a reprobate who stays drunk, cant hold a job, cheats on his wife, and abuses his kids. One day he hears the Gospel and responds in faith, accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior. His life is transformed. He stops drinking and starts treating his wife and children with respect. He gets a job, pays off his bills, and becomes a respected member of his community. Then, one day, many years later, he falls off the wagon, loses his job, deserts his family, and ends up lying in a gutter choking to death on his own vomit.
The traditional Calvinist would say that because he failed to persevere, he was never saved in the first place. The traditional Arminian would say he fell from grace. Both would agree that he went to Hell. So, when you get to the bottom line, the traditional Calvinist and Arminian both agree.
This is not the case with Dillows "Third Way." He and those who agree with his extreme Calvinism,6 would argue that the reprobate was saved regardless of how he ended up. To them, belief is a moment in time, and not a continuing state. Dillows concept of belief flies in the face of repeated warnings in the Scriptures that a believer must persevere to the end.7
The Assurance of the Believer
I was raised in a hyper-Arminian church that taught a person could be saved one moment and lost the next and then be saved again. Every sin resulted in spiritual death. We were spiritual schizophrenics, never knowing whether we were saved or not. We believed that if a person died with one unconfessed sin on their conscience, they would burn forever in Hell. Needless to say, I never yearned for the return of Jesus, for I was afraid He would come on one of my bad days instead of one of my good days!
I praise God for the day I discovered I could be sure of my salvation when I discovered there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1); that there is a continual cleansing from sin for those who are walking in the light (1 John 1:7); that God has forgiven and forgotten my sins (Hebrews 8:12); that I can know that I am saved (1 John 5:13); and that I can have confidence regarding the day of judgment (1 John 4:17). But my confidence and my assurance is based on a faith relationship that must persevere to the end of my life (Hebrews 3:14).
Does that constitute works salvation? Not at all. I was justified by grace through faith. My sanctification is occurring in the same way, by walking in faith, trusting in Jesus and allowing His Holy Spirit to shape and mold me. Salvation from beginning to end is a work of grace through faith, but it is a process that I must allow through my free will and my faith. God is not manufacturing robots. He is developing relationships.
Praise God for His glorious grace expressed in the gift of His precious Son who died for our sins!
1. Joseph C. Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings (Hayesville, NC: Schoettle Publishing Co., 1992) 649 pages.
2. For a comprehensive presentation of the radical Arminian view, see The Believers Conditional Security, by Daniel D. Corner (Washington, PA: Evangelical Outreach Publishers, 2000) 801 pages. This book is as extreme as Dillows, but in the opposite direction. It is thorough and thought provoking, but it is very mean-spirited. The author often seems to be more interested in vilifying the people he disagrees with than in dealing with their arguments.
3. I think it is interesting to note that although the Calvinist doctrine of "Once Saved, Always Saved" has been identified in the popular mind primarily with Baptists, two of the most profound books of the 20th Century which advocated the Arminian viewpoint were both authored by Baptists. The comprehensive one that has become a classic is entitled, Life in the Son (Springfield, MO: Westcott Publishers, second edition, 1961) 380 pages. It was written by Robert Shank, a Baptist pastor. The book contains a lengthy introduction that was written by Dr. William W. Adams who was Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In that introduction, Dr. Adams states, "I consider Life in the Son one of the most significant books in this generation. I consider it possible that the judgment of time may prove it to be one of the most important books ever written." The second book, written by Dr. Dale Moody, was a commentary on the book of Hebrews. It is titled, Apostasy: A Study in the Epistle to the Hebrews and in Baptist History (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishers, 1997) 84 pages. Dr. Moody was a professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when he wrote this book.
4. Haddon W. Robinson in an article entitled "Lightning and Thunder," from Our Daily Bread (March, April, May 2000) published by RBC Ministries of Grand Rapids, MI. It is the devotional article for Saturday, March 11.
5. An excellent presentation of the traditional Calvinist view can be found in The Gospel According to Jesus by John F. MacArthur, Jr. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, revised edition, 1994) 304 pages. This book infuriated the hyper-Calvinists who quickly dubbed MacArthurs thesis as "Lordship Salvation."
6. Modern teachers who hold to Dillows extreme Calvinism (but who may not agree with all his prophetic conclusions) include Charles Ryrie, Charles Stanley, and Bob George among others.
7. For warnings against possible apostasy by believers, see: Romans 8:12-14; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Galatians 5:16-24; Galatians 6:7-9; Philippians 2:12; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Timothy 4:1, 16; 2 Timothy 2:12; Hebrews 3:6, 14; James 1:12-16; and 1 Peter 1:17.
Dr. David R. Reagan serves as the Senior Evangelist for Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a native Texan who resides in a suburb of Dallas. He is married and is the father of two daughters. His wife, Ann, is a first grade teacher. They have four grandchildren.
Dr. Reagan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas in Austin. His graduate degrees were earned in the field of International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy of Tufts and Harvard Universities.
Dave as he prefers to be called was the founder of Lamb & lion Ministries in 1980. Before entering the ministry he had an extensive career in higher education which included the following positions: Assistant to the President of Austin College in Sherman, Texas; President of South Texas Jr. College in Houston; Director of Pepperdine University's Center for International Business in Los Angeles; and Vice President of Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma.
In the mid-60's Dave served as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of the Philippines and toured all of Southeast Asia lecturing on U.S. foreign policy in behalf of the U.S. Information Agency.
Dave is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher. He entered the full time ministry in 1976 when he was called to serve as the pulpit minister for a church in Irving, Texas. His ordination as a Christian minister has been formally recognized by three different Christian groups.
He is the author of many religious essays which have been published in a wide variety of journals and magazines. He has written five books Trusting God, The Christ in Prophecy Study Guide, What the Bible Says about AIDS, The Master Plan, and Jesus is Coming Soon! (a book for children). He has co-authored another book called The Parched Soul of America. His sermons on cassette tape and video tape have been distributed world wide. His books have been translated into several languages. He has led more than twenty pilgrimages to Israel that focus on the prophetic significance of the sites visited. He has also conducted prophecy conferences in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Beloruss, Israel, and South Africa.
Dave is one of the spokesman on Lamb & Lion's daily radio program called "Christ in Prophecy." This program is broadcast across the United States. The program deals with the prophetic significance of national and international events.
Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.
Please send your Email to: Dr. David Reagan