1. On Oppression
3. On Dying
4. On Receiving the Spirit
5. On Being Reasonable
6. On the Witness
7. On the Second Death
8. On the Church
9. On Bruised Reeds
10. On Politics and the Church: Returning to Egypt
11. On Receiving the Messenger
12. On Romans 10:9-10
13. On Marriage and Divorce
14. On the Keys of the Kingdom
15. On...The Question
16. On The Call
17. On The Rest
18. On Works
19. On Being Taken
20. On The Blood
21. On Knowing The Bible
23. Are You Born Again?
24. On Church Membership
25. On the Death of a True Pastor
26. Charter of the Pioneer Tract Society
27. Suffering and the Saints
28. On "What Must I Do To Be Saved?"
29. On Solomon's Wisdom
30. On P.T.L. and Oppression
31. On The Flood's Lesson
32. On The Washing Away of Sins
33. The Law
34. The Law, Part 2
35. The Law, Part 3
36. The Law, Part 4
37. The Law, Part 5
38. The Law, Part 6
39. The Father and the Son
40. Is Jesus God?
41. Jesus' Messages to the Seven Messengers: Revelation 2,3
42. "Ye Must Be Born Again
43. The True Sabbath
44. Concerning Your Work
46. On Tongues
47. Unequally Yoked in Worship
48. What Do I Really Believe?
49. Spiritual Influence
50. Marriage and Divorce
51. Crucified with Christ
52. The Good of Government
54. On Feelings
56. Is Jesus Good Enough?
59. Seven Pillars
60. The Lusts of the Devil
61. The Time Draweth Near?
62. Returning to Egypt
63. "It Isn't Me"
64. On Being Just
65. The Vineyard of God
66. Unknown Tongues
67. Making a Deal
68. The Word of God
69. Homosexuality and the Bible
70. A Vision
72. Christianity or Christ!
73. What Makes Holy?
74. What Price, Ahab?
75. At Dan
76. The Commandments of Jesus
77. The Commandments of Jesus, Part 2
78. The Commandments of Jesus, Part 3
79. On Mt. Gilboa
80. The Manner of Beer-sheba
81. Trinity or Travesty
82. Biblical Geography and History
83. The God And Father of Jesus
84. A Call To Repentance
85. The Fellowship of His Sufferings
86. The Sabbath
87. Envy at En-Gedi
88. The Antichrist
89. How to Hate Sin
90. Can You Believe It?
91. The Nations of the Bible: Amalekites
92. The Nations of the Bible: Moab and Ammon
93. The Nations of the Bible: Edom
94. The Nations of the Bible: Assyria
95. Revelation (1)
96. Revelation (2)
97. Revelation (3)
98. The Fullness of Time
100. On Learning
101. Nebuchadnezzar's Image
102. The Third Throne
103. On Hatred
104. The God's of The Gentiles
105. Yahweh, God of The Christians
107. The Gates of Hell
108. The Salvation of God
109. It Is Not Black or White: It is Jesus
110. Who Is Lost?
111. Some Other Way
112. Who Is Really The Greater (that is the more blessed)?
114. On Receiving Tithes and Offerings
115. Seven Lies That The Children of God Believe
Seven Lies That The Children of God Believe
John David Clark, Sr.
Lie # 1 Christianity is the Church.
This is Satans most successful lie in human history. With this lie, he has deceived us all at some point, with this lie he has destroyed the unity of the saints, and with this lie he has built for himself an imitation kingdom of God. If the children of God would only realize that the religion of Christianity is not the Church, they could be delivered from a thousand wrong ideas about their heavenly Father. It has been our allegiance to Christianity, thinking that it is Gods Church, that has frustrated us in our desire for unity. We have done it to ourselves, believing that Christianity is the Church.
The difference between Christianity and the Church is made plain by the asking of two simple questions: First, How does one become a member of Gods Church?, and second, How does one become a member of the religion of Christianity? If the answers to those two questions differ, then Christianity cannot be the Church.
The answer to the first question, How does one become a member of Gods Church?, is by baptism in spirit. Paul wrote, By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body (1Cor. 12:13). Yes, it is the holy Ghost baptism that makes one a member of the true Church (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27), which is also called the body of Christ (Col. 1:18 ), or the family of God (Eph. 3:15).
Next we must answer the question, How does one become a member of Christianity? Does the answer to this second question differ in any respect from the answer to the first one? Be honest with yourself; keep it simple, and ask yourself this question: Does Jesus baptize people with the holy Ghost into the religion of Christianity? Or is it not rather that Gods children join that religion, thinking it is Gods Church? Isnt it true that while God baptizes us with His Spirit into His Church, we must join Christianity in order to become a member of it?
The baptism of the holy Ghost is the new birth. We are born of the Spirit into the Church; it is the holy work of God in our hearts. We cannot join Gods Church; it is not a club. Our selecting a church and then joining it is neither the work nor will of God; it is entirely of the will of man and of the flesh (i.e. personal preference). In sum, if one can join Christianity, which one can certainly do, but one cannot join Gods Church, which one certainly cannot do, then Christianity and the Church cannot possibly be the same institution.
That Christianity is Gods Church is the First Lie that Gods children believe.
Because Gods children have believed that Christianity is the church, and because Christianity can be joined, the children of God have come to think of Gods Church as something that can be joined. But listen to what the Spirit said through me a couple of years ago as I was talking with some Christians: No church that can be joined is His. Please consider carefully those stunning, revealing words. They are the Word of God for you!
The giving of the holy Spirit is the work of God, and for this reason the Apostle John could say that those who are born of the Spirit are born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (Jn. 1:13). In other words, Church membership is not determined on the basis of who desires it, nor even on the basis of who strives to obtain it; it is solely of God who shows mercy (Rom. 9:16). So then, Paul continued, to whom God will, He shows mercy, and whom He will, He hardens (9:18). With men, Jesus declared, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible (Mt. 19:25-26). Again, You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you (Jn. 15:16). There is absolutely nothing about God that the nature of man loves; if we love God it is only because He first loved us (1Jn. 4:10, 19). Becoming a member of Gods Church is the work of God alone; it is in no respect the decision or work of man, for the carnal mind is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be (Rom. 8:7).
Jesus taught me that the spirit of harlotry has nothing to do with his Fathers household; God will not take in just anybody who decides in himself that he will belong to Gods family. Citizenship in Gods family is a high honor, a sacred calling to which wise men humbly and gladly respond. Yet, Gods children have too often followed Satans lead and devised religious clubs with their own ordained leaders, teachings, and regulations, calling them churches, and then believing that to join them is to become a part of Gods Church. How can we have become so deluded? But, thank God, Jesus is opening our eyes! Oh. my dear brother! my sister! Can you not feel the love of God in this for you? Can you not hear the tender voice of Jesus crying out in your heart, Come out of her, my people!? Jesus loves you! Listen to him!
Can you imagine anyone in Gods family telling others that to be born again is not necessary for salvation? Yet, that is what many of Gods children are doing when they testify or teach. How are they doing this? By teaching that the baptism of the holy Ghost is not the New Birth. The Bible clearly shows that the spiritual experience that is called the New Birth is the baptism of the holy Ghost, with the evidence of the Spirits voice being heard. It was perfectly described by Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3:7 when our Lord revealed to that elder of the Jews the necessity of that experience.
Jesus revealed that same truth to (among others) some poor country folk in eastern North Carolina in the early part of the twentieth century. One of them who for a while resisted the testimonies of Church members who testified of receiving that revelation was a Church of God denomination preacher named Benjamin Franklin Griffin. Everyone in that community knew him simply as Brother Frank. Brother Frank had very little education, but he was full of the holy Ghost, the source of all wisdom and understanding. I was blessed to come to know this elder in the faith in his latter years and to be in many country home prayer meetings with him. He often spoke of the day when Jesus convinced him that the baptism of the holy Ghost was the New Birth. It was a miraculous experience, straight from heaven. Brother John, the old preacher would say in his low, adamant voice, It was enough to convince an infidel! And he would clap his hands together at the end of that statement, as an audible exclamation point. His story, as the saints who were involved often told it to me, is as follows:
After arguing with certain of the Church who had told him of the wonderful truth about the New Birth that the Spirit had taught them, he left their home and walked across the field to build a fire to warm his very humble abode in the wintry woods. There, he told me, he fasted and prayed concerning this matter until there appeared in the midst of the crackling flames of the fireplace an open book. Across the pages of the book which stood in mid-air surrounded by flames were written these words:
No one is born again until he is baptized with the holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
I can hear him telling it now. He would clap his hands together and say, I mailed my license back to Cleveland [Tennessee] and took off walkin down the road the next day to go preach! And then he would begin to praise God.
My dear friends, we can do nothing to change this simple truth. Jesus baptizes us into his Church. There is no other way to enter the kingdom of God. Every other way is wrong. Shouldnt we be thankful and happy to learn this?
It is mind-boggling that this lie has gained such a foothold in the hearts of Gods children in this century. For many, the idea of going up to the altar to get saved has become the heart of the gospel, even though there is not one instance of any such thing being done, or even commanded, in the entire New Testament. For everyone alive today, it seems as if going up to the altar to get saved has always been the way to come to Christ because it has been seen all of our short lifetimes. But it is, in fact, a modern ceremonial form.
In 1922, my father was a 21-year-old student in the Baptist seminary in Ayden, North Carolina. He had been reared as a Baptist and a Democrat, and it was considered disgraceful in his family not to belong to both of those persuasions. It was there in the seminary, however, that he first heard the phrase get saved used as a synonym for conversion. It was from the tongue of a speaker from California, and after he had used the term get saved several times in this new and startling way, my father told me that he turned to his fellow student and close friend and asked, Blackwelder, whats he talking about when he says `get saved? His friend responded, Im not sure, but I think he means `converted. Both these young men had been reared as Baptists, yet neither had ever heard the phrase get saved!
They decided to study their Bibles to learn if salvation was another word for conversion. It did not take long for these two young seminarians to find that the guest speaker was wrong in using salvation as a synonym for conversion, and they shrugged it off as the strange notion of an unimportant man. Little did they know, indeed they could not have imagined, that his error would completely sweep Christianity off its feet in the twentieth century, taking with it the children of God who were in that religion.
The truth about this is simple. Conversion is the New Birth. Salvation is the reward for the faithful that Jesus will bring with him when he comes. Conversion is an experience we must have now in order to be prepared to receive the salvation that Jesus will bring to us when he returns. With this understanding, Paul wrote that the Churchs salvation is nearer now than when they became believers (Rom. 13:11). With this understanding, Peter described salvation as being the end of your faith. And with this understanding, Jesus warned his followers that only those who endured in the love of God until the end would be saved (Mt. 24:13).
Referring humorously to the verse in Psalms which promises that God will beautify the meek with salvation, my father told a congregation in Louisville, Kentucky, that he could look around at them and see that they were not saved yet. Salvation is glorification, and until Jesus returns with those beautiful, glorified bodies to give to us who love him, it is unwise to boast of already being saved. Our own aging bodies testify against us when we confess such a lie.
That conversion is salvation is the Fourth Lie that Gods people believe. There are Three Lies more to come.
For more information, send for our free tract, What Is Salvation?.
Lie # 5: God is a Trinity of Persons.
The holy Spirit is not a person; rather, it is exactly what the Bible says it is: Gods Spirit. Every time, with no exceptions, that the apostles referred to the Spirit of God, they referred to it as it, not as him or he. The evidence for this is clear and indisputable. The reason that your Bibles have he and him in many places instead of it when referring to the Spirit of God is that Christian translators feel that to call the Spirit an it is to show disrespect for that third person of the Trinity. And if the holy Spirit of God were a person, they would be justified in altering their translations. But shouldnt we take our lead in such matters from the apostles? None of the apostles felt as modern Christian translators feel. If you would like to see the proof of this, you can either read the Greek New Testament for yourself, paying attention to the pronouns the apostles used, or you can look at my on-line Bible study, The Influence of Trinitarian Doctrine on Translations of the Bible.
In this work, I examine every time in the New Testament that the Spirit of God is referred to. This study proves beyond any doubt to any reasonable person that the apostles never referred to the Spirit as anything but it. Christian translators have knowingly mistranslated the apostles references to the holy Spirit, changing the it they wrote to he or him in order to promote their trinitarian faith. Undoubtedly, their intentions were to do good, but without the guidance of the Spirit of truth, all that any of us can do is evil. And Christian translations of the Bible provide a prime example of that fact.
The Father is a person with His own body. The Son is a person with his own body. The eternal life that is in the Father, He gave to the Son (Jn 5:26), and that is what is called in the Bible the holy Spirit. The Father is greater than the Son (Jn. 14:28), and the Son fears and obeys the Father (Heb. 5:7; Jn. 15:10). Clearly, there are two persons in heaven to be reverenced: the Father and the Son. A third person of the holy Trinity does not exists.
Jesus taught us that the Spirit is life (Jn. 6:63; Rom. 8:10), and this is true with both God and men. James reminded us that the body without the spirit is dead (Jas. 2:26), and if Gods Spirit (though this cannot happen) were ever to abandon His body, He would be dead, too. The Father and the Son can look at each other, speak to each other, and do any other ordinary act that two persons may do with each other. They are two separate persons.
Do not fear men, my brothers and sisters. You can understand the simple truth of Jesus. Love the truth and it will exalt you. Embrace it and it will bring to you crowns of lasting glory, not simply the vain admiration of men. Even books written by Christian scholars admit that no one can either explain or understand the doctrine of the Trinity; still, many insist (as did my Systematic Theology professor in the seminary) that all who truly believe in Jesus embrace the doctrine of the Trinity and support those who teach it. This is not true. It is not the way of our loving heavenly Father.
That God is a trinity of three persons is the Fifth Lie Gods children believe.
The author of Hebrews quoted an ancient prophecy from Jeremiah in which the prophet proclaimed that God would make a new covenant with His people. He wrote, For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel in those days, saith the Lord. I will put my laws into their minds and write them in their hearts. . . (Heb. 8:10).
When the holy Ghost enters into a persons heart, making him a member of Gods Church, it brings into that newly-cleansed heart all of the laws (the will) of God. Wherever there exists a prejudice against the Old Testament Law of Moses, there also exists an ignorance of the fact that the Old Testament Law was from God, not from Moses. So, the Law of Moses was not a law from Moses. Moses was merely Gods chosen instrument. The laws contained in the Old Covenant were Gods lawsthe same laws that Jesus implants into the heart of a person whom he baptizes with the holy Ghost.
One reason so many have failed to grasp this essential truth is that when Moses Law is made internal by the Spirits entrance into our hearts, it becomes a spiritual law instead of a physical one, as it was during the time of the Old Covenant. Let me give you some examples: Circumcision is still the will of God for His children, just as it was His will in the Old Testament, but now it is a circumcision of the heart by the Spirit, not a fleshly cutting of the body (Rom. 2:28-29). Both men and women are to be circumcised now. Isnt that better than the old way? Baptism is also still the will of God, as it was under the Law, but now it is the baptism of the holy Ghost that is required, not a symbolic baptism of water. Sacrifices, too, are still commanded, but now the animals that we own can relax; the sacrifices God requires in this New Covenant are the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving rising up to God out of a clean, sanctified spirit (Heb. 13:15).
The ceremonies of Mosess Law were prophetic symbols of this new way of worship in spirit and in truth. They were all from God, telling beforehand of the work of Christ Jesus and the new life he would bring us. When the holy Ghost comes in, it begins to wean us away from ceremonial forms so that we may grow in the grace of God to serve Him in spirit and in truth. The author of Hebrews said it this way (9:13-14), For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean [under the Old Covenant Law], sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD.
Yes, the ceremonial, symbolic works of the Law became dead works to the Church as the children of God became alive to the truth of God. And that increase in wisdom is the work of the Spirit. It makes the Law of God alive by making us alive to Him. Paul was dead in trespasses and sins until he was made alive by the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 7:8-9 ; 8:1).
It is still Gods will for His people not to murder, or steal, or covet, or lie, just as the Law of Moses said. But those laws are no longer merely written on paper as a set of rules to obey; rather, the holy Ghost writes those lawsthe same laws Moses gave to Israelupon our hearts, giving us the power to keep Gods commandments from the heart. We are the [real circumcised nation], Paul wrote, who worship God in spirit and have no confidence in the flesh (Phip. 3:3).
Finally, may I ask you please to consider the apostle Johns definition of sin, written long after Jesus ascended to the Father. John wrote to the Church, Sin is transgression of the Law (1Jn. 3:4). That doesnt sound as if John believed that the Law of Moses was irrelevant to his life, does it? If, as many thousands have been taught, the law is irrelevant to New Testament life in Christ, then what on earth was John thinking when he wrote that?
That the Old Testament Law is irrelevant to the Church is the Sixth Lie that Gods children believe.
Lastly, the Church has been misled by Christianity to believe that the Devil is god over bad things that happen and that our heavenly Father is God of good things that happen. This idea constitutes modern Christianitys form of Baal worship, from which God could--and can--hardly dissuade His people.
If God has numbered to you the hairs of your head (Mt. 10:30); if He is involved in the death of the smallest birds (Mt. 6:26); if he designs the colors of the most insignificant plants of the field (Mt. 6:28), how will He not then be intimately involved with the trials of the faith of His people? The Lord trieth the righteous, wrote the wise men of old (Ps. 11:5). Then, whence cometh this notion that if we err, the Devil will get us? It is much more terrifying, and much more comforting, to know that if we err, our heavenly Father will get us.
In the late afternoon of August 23, 1981, the Lord spoke these life-changing words to me, It tickles the Devil for Gods people to blame their troubles on him. And I understood immediately why that is true: As long as we are blaming the Devil for the trouble our heavenly Father designs for our spiritual growth, we will neither seek for nor accomplish His good purpose for sending those trials our way. We can never come to know our Father while trusting Satan to hurt us, for The Lord is known by the judgment which He executeth (Ps. 9:16). If we do not believe that the Lord will execute any judgment at all, then how can He ever be known to us?
Whom does the Bible say cursed Adam and Eve, as well as the serpent? The Devil? Did the Devil send the flood? Did the Devil confuse the languages of men at the Tower of Babel? Did the Devil send the plagues upon Egypt? Or did the Devil anoint Elijah to call for a three-year-long famine upon Israel in the days of her transgression? Did the Devil design the wondrous, gruesome, saving work of Jesus on Mount Calvary? When Peter was determined to fight to the death those who came to arrest his Master, didnt Jesus say to him, The cup which my Father has given me to drink, shall I not drink it?
Whom do you trust to be God over the unpleasant circumstances of your life, my reader? I can assure you that the answer you give to that question will be a determining factor in how well you come to know and be made like your heavenly Father. No one who trusts Satan to determine his sufferings for him can ever be perfected in Christ. And no one who loves God and steadfastly trusts Jesus to be Lord of all things will be disappointed with the results. For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
These truths concerning the Seven Lies that Gods children believe are revealed to us for the good of our brothers and sisters, not their destruction. When bringing these truths to the attention of Gods children, we must always do so in the Spirit of meekness and love of Christ. This is not written as an attack or even a complaint. It is written in obedience to the prompting of the Spirit. My hope is that whenever a child of God reads this, he may sense the deep compassion of Christ for his Church, his poor, divided, and confused church. May God allow this work of mine to play some part in the healing of the broken body of Christ, the true Church of the living God.