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Antinomianism means “against the law.”  This is an unbiblical teaching that believers no longer have a responsibility to God’s moral laws.  While we are free from the ceremonial law and lifestyle and the national law of Israel, we still must obey God’s moral laws such as don’t kill, lie, commit adultery, steal, etc.  Neither the reformers or the early church taught this, but it was taught by the cult of the Gnostics and by several unbiblical cults today.  Strangely, this false teaching is spreading through the churches.

The false teaching sounds like this, ” since God forgave our sins, past, present, and future, we don’t have to confess our sins.”  This is in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus who told His apostles before he left to teach all things He commanded which includes the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer where we are commanded to pray, “forgive us our trespasses.”  The false teaching explains that Jesus’ commands are old covenant, which would mean that Jesus spent 3 years teaching an old wineskin message.  If Jesus had taught an old covenant message, they would never have crucified Him.  Even John Calvin, the first Calvinist, taught that believers needed to confess their sins.

Much of this teaching is fueled by Joseph Prince, Pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore.  I have found that his biblical interpretations are in opposition to the reformers, the early church fathers, and the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.

At the root of this teaching are two things:  1)  A misunderstanding of law and grace;  2)  A departure from biblical teaching.  There are 3 parts to the law:  the ceremonial law,  the national law, and the moral law.  We are completely released from the ceremonial and national law in the Old Testament.  But, every believer has a biblical responsibility to keep God’s moral law by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Secondly, many churches have departed from teaching God’s word.  At a popular ministry conference, one nationally known megachurch pastor instructed pastors to stop saying, “the bible says….”  If there ever was a time we need to get back to the bible, it is today.  Believers who are established in the truth of the bible cannot be easily deceived by false teaching.

Contemporary Evangelical theologian J.I. Packer defines 5 strains of Antinomianism:

  • Dualistic Antinomianism (Gnostic) This view sees salvation as for the soul only, and bodily behavior as irrelevant both to God’s interest and the soul’s health…
  • Spirit-centered Antinomianism …puts such trust in the Holy Spirit’s inward prompting as to deny any need to be taught by the law how to live. Freedom from the law as a way of salvation is assumed to bring with it freedom from the law as a guide to conduct.
  • Christ-centered Antinomianism …argues that God sees no sin in believers, because they are in Christ, who kept the law for them, and therefore what they actually do makes no difference, provided that they keep believing.
  • Dispensational Antinomianism …denies that biblical law is God’s direct command and affirms that the Bible’s imperative statements trigger the Word of the Spirit, which when it comes may or may not correspond exactly to what is written.
  • Situationist Antinomianism …says that a motive and intention of love is all that God now requires of Christians, and the commands of the Decalogue and other ethical parts of scripture, for all that they are ascribed to God directly, are mere rules of thumb for loving, rules that love may at times disregard.[10]    

The classic Methodist commentator Adam Clarke held,

“The Gospel proclaims liberty from the ceremonial law: but binds you still faster under the moral law. To be freed from the ceremonial law is the Gospel liberty; to pretend freedom from the moral law is Antinomianism.”
Sin seperates us from God.  Unconfessed sin in the life of a believer will seperate them from fellowship with God, and open them up to deceiving spirits.  Keep a short account with God.  Pray daily for His cleansing.
Another source of this error is thinking that the promises of God are automatic.  All of the promises are accessed by ongoing prayer.  God promises healing and provided for such in the atonement, but we have to pray and ask for healing.  God promises to provide financial needs, but we have to pray it in as the need arises.  We can’t just pray the sinner’s prayer and then assume that the promises are automatic because they are not.  Everything in the Lord’s Prayer can be accessed only through daily prayer.  “Give us this day our daily bread…”  Why do we have to pray that if God already promised it to us?  Everything God has flows to us through the pipeline of prayer.  Jesus explained in John 15 that we are like branches in a vine.  We must abide in Jesus through constant praying which is a joy and not a burden to those who love Him.
The biblical term for antinomianism is lawlessness.  One extreme is legalism, the other extreme is lawlessness.  Jesus corrected wrong thinking about the law in the Sermon on the Mount.  In this great teaching, Jesus taught against legalism and lawlessness.  Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

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Acts:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.  4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Jesus was in the business of spreading good news, the gospel.  The Gospels of Luke and Acts have the same author, Dr. Luke, one of the twelve apostles.  The Book of Acts is a continuation of the gospel message in Luke’s gospel, not a separate group of stories.  What Jesus began in His earthly ministry He continues through the work of His church in Acts.  Luke tells the story of the first three years of the gospel and Acts tells the next 30 years of the gospel being taken to the ends of the earth.

The gospel message has 2 parts, water baptism (repentance), and Spirit baptism (empowerment).  A gospel of repentance only without the power is a partial and incomplete gospel.  Paul predicted a time when the church would have a form of Godliness, but would deny the power of God.  In recent years, I have seen the rise of a gospel that de-emphasizes repentance and focuses on God’s power.  Jesus told of this kind of thing happening in the last days in Matthew 7.  We need both repentance and power in our lifestyle and our message.  Without both, our message is incomplete.

The apostles had a burning question for their risen Lord, “…will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  Jesus replied, “…it is not for you to know…”   When did this command of Jesus get cancelled?  Nearly every false cult has started with a “fresh revelation” of the end time events.  Many revival movements have been distracted and derailed from their calling by a fascination with last days signs.  While it is healthy to be familiar with end time bible prophecies, it is not our focus.

Our focus should be receiving God’s power to be His witnesses and taking His gospel to the ends of the earth.  We have a calling, a mission that is clearly laid out in scripture.  We don’t need a new prophetic word to go and be witnesses, His written word has given us our directive.

The first part of the gospel is to get right with God.  The second part of the gospel is to be His witness and spread the good news everywhere.  We have a God-given mission.  Let’s be about our Father’s business. -Jeff Burke

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There was a movement called gnosticism in the early church.  They taught an extreme view that everything physical is evil and everything spiritual is good.  The book of 1 John was written to counter their false teaching that taught that Jesus did not have a physical body.  They also believed that they did not have to confess their sins since Jesus had already paid for them.  This doctrine is being promoted today internationally by a popular television minister.  It saddens me to see God’s people deceived so easily.  This is what Jesus describes as lawlessness in Matthew 7.  The antichrist is known by the title, “The Man of Lawlessness.”  I’ve been asking the Lord, “Could this be the great falling away?”

Believers are freed from the ceremonial and governmental Old Testament Laws, but we have a responsibility to obey God’s moral laws.  That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “…forgive us…”

How can good, well-meaning believers, even leaders and ministers of the Gospel be so easily deceived by the enemy?  Listed below are the steps that lead to false teaching and an unbalanced church.

Step #1.   A De-emphasis of God’s Word.  Experience begins to take priority over the teaching of God’s word.  In the beginning it sounds like this, “We had such a good service, the preacher didn’t even get to preach.”    The subtle message communicated to the people is that the study of God’s word is not that important.  For many believers today, the only scripture they get is spoon-fed to them through the pulpit.  We all need to dig God’s word out for ourselves on a daily basis.  Christians who know their bibles are not easily deceived.  The teaching of the entire counsel of God’s word brings spiritual balance to churches and individuals.

Step#2.  Extremism.  Because experience has become the priority, each experience must be greater than the last or the people will lose their fascination with what is happening.  Truths are pushed to unbiblical extremes.  If this means this, then this means that, and so on.  The Pharisees were extremists:  legalists in some matters, lawless in others.  They strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel.  Every demonic false doctrine that deceives and sends people to hell began as a biblical truth taken to an extreme.  People who do not drink the proverbial Kool-Aid the false teacher is giving out are considered lukewarm believers or modern-day Pharisees.  If you attend a church that has primarily taught exclusively on one topic for many months or more than a year, you are in an unbalanced spiritual environment.  We need the entire counsel of God’s word to be spiritually healthy and discerning.

Step#3.  A Spirit of Deception.  In this phase, the new “revelation” replaces the simple understanding of God’s word.  Scriptures that conflict with the new “revelation” are explained away.  Church members who don’t “get it” are looked at with suspicion.  The peer pressure to conform pushes those with honest questions out of the church.  People who don’t adopt the new “revelation” are pronounced to be under a curse from God.  The inner circle of the spiritual leaders becomes smaller and smaller and they become paranoid of anyone who questions their direction.  Those who stay and conform get on a euphoric emotional high to think that God would choose them to deliver this special message from Heaven.  Wise counsel from the outside is shrugged off and rejected.   This group has become what sociologists call a closed social group.  They live in their own reality, distrust other believers, and despise any who question the “revelation.”

Return to a simple walk with God.  Jesus is the standard.  In the Great Commission in Matthew 28, the apostles were commanded by our risen Lord Jesus to go to the whole world and teach everything Jesus taught them during His earthly ministry.  Part of Jesus’ commands is the Lord’s model prayer…. “Forgive us as we forgive …….”    –Jeff Burke

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Through the years, one of our contributions to the lives of others has been sharing our experience as parents of two disabled children with those who find themselves in the same struggle.  As we learned to overcome difficulties through the fight of faith, the lessons learned have been helpful to others also.  On this blog we will be sharing videos on raising disabled children, video bible studies, and inspirational articles.   We will also be sharing ministry opportunities that you can be involved in.  Our prayer is that the message of God’s word will be communicated clearly with all who desire a deeper relationship with God.  This media ministry is not a substitute for the local church.  We attend a local church and support the pastor there.  Jesus said that wherever two or three would gather, that He would show up, and there in that small gathering is the church.  We gather together through the miracle of the world wide web to encourage one another and strengthen the local churches.   – Jeff Burke

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