Christianity: Are You Missing the Point?

November 9, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Christianity: Are You Missing the Point?

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Shepherd's StaffThere is a VERY fundamental question I would like to ask you: If you are a Christian, do you REALLY understand what Christianity is all about?

Some people think that Christianity is all about having a good marriage and raising decent kids. Others think it is about getting their personal needs met. Still others believe that Christianity is a about social projects, such as feeding the poor or helping out within their communities. Still others believe that Christianity is about political action, and “get out the vote” drives.

While these things might be good in their own place, they ALL miss the point: Christianity is about CHRIST. The “sheep” are supposed to be following the “shepherd.” Somehow Jesus Christ — and His Gospel — have seemed to be forgotten by many of those claiming to belong to Him.

Have you ever noticed the ROOT WORD of the term “Christianity”? We don’t have to get really deep in order to understand this concept. Let’s just start off this article with an examination of the term by which our religion is named. The root word of “Christianity” is the word “Christ.”

So while the things names above might be good in their own place, they are SECONDARY (at best) to the principle message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, our faith would have different names:

  • “Family-anity” would be the name if it was about about marriage and raising kids.
  • “Prosperity-anity” would be the name if it was about money and financial/material issues.
  • “Social-ianity” would be the name if it was aboutt community projects.
  • “Political-ianity” would be the name if it was aboutt getting the “right” people into public office.

But since God’s Word calls it “CHRIST-ianity” (Christianity), then it should be pretty evident that NONE of the above “ideas” are primary to the biblical faith.

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Only One Faith

Jude said something pretty bold about genuine Christianity. He basically said that there is ONLY ONE true faith in Jesus Christ, and that all other “versions” (to include those I mentioned above, as well as many more which could be named) are NOT the real thing:

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

(Jude verse 3, NKJV, emphasis mine)

There is only one faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints” by the Lord Jesus Christ through His apostles. And these apostles made it pretty clear WHO and WHAT genuine Christianity is all about:

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth….

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

(An excerpt from Colossians 1:3-18, NKJV, emphasis mine)

Note that “in all things” Christ is to have “the preeminence.” The Greek word originally used in the writing of the New Testament within verse 18 above is, “prōteuō” (πρωτεύω, Strong’s #4409). This word is used only ONCE in the entire New Testament, and it means simply, “to be first, hold the first place” (Thayer’s Lexicon).

This same Greek word, however, is derived from another Greek word, “prōtos” (πρῶτος, Strong’s #4413), which is far more prolific in the New Testament, having been used by the original writers about 100 times. It means “FIRST” in a couple of important ways:

  1. FIRST…in time or place, in any succession of things or persons.

  2. FIRST…in rank, influence, honor; chief; principal.

(Source: Thayer’s Lexicon)

In other word, Jesus Christ is to be FIRST and FOREMOST the focus of genuine Christianity, because He was first in time and place; and He is the FIRST in rank, influence, honor — being the “Chief” and “Principle” of the Church. Look again at the passage from Colossians chapter one above, and notice what it said. ALL these elements of Jesus Christ being “first and foremost” (i.e. “preeminent”) are included in the description of Him.

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The Definition of Idolatry

So this bring us back to our original question above: If you are a Christian, do you REALLY understand what Christianity is all about?

If you thought it was about ANYTHING other than Jesus Christ and His Gospel, then you do NOT have genuine Christianity. You might have a religion; but any OTHER religion must — by definition — be man-made. It cannot possibly be the faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints,” because your version of “Christianity” does NOT match the one revealed in the Bible.

Thus, ANY alleged “Christianity” that is in conflict with the one delivered to the saints by the Bible, is a form of idolatry…and thus, sin (see Exodus chapters 19-20).

What is an idol? A “god” that one has invented. What is idolatry? The “religion” that was invented along with that “god” as a method of “worship” of that idol.

So ALL man-made religions, are by their very character, idolatry — EVEN if they call it “Christianity.”

Please listen: A very REAL Jesus went to a very REAL Cross, and died a very REAL death for your sins and mine. This very same Jesus was raised from the dead in a very REAL resurrection, and appeared to His very REAL apostles, and dictated to them the very REAL Gospel they were to give to the world through their preaching and teaching:

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

(Luke 24:44-48, NKJV, words of Christ in red)

Having delivered His REAL Gospel to His apostles, do you know what they preached and taught? The very thing Jesus commanded them to preach:

The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

(Acts 10:36-43, NKJV, emphasis mine)

In other words, the REAL Gospel is the same thing that was preached by the original apostles. NOTHING ELSE can possibly be that same faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints.”

And if you thought Christianity was about ANYTHING other than Christ and His REAL Gospel, then you are either unsaved — or at the very least, you are lacking the proper foundation upon which you can build a solid genuine faith in Jesus.

That is why I gathered a team of volunteers around me to help me produce the FREE audio MP3 series,The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel.” Therein, I walk you through the Scriptures, ancient history, and even some logic, in order to reveal clearly from the Bible what the REAL Gospel is — and what it is not.

The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel (cover art)

(Click the graphic to view the MP3 DOWNLOAD page within a new browser window.)

Again, this series is absolutely FREE and available for download right now. Either CLICK HERE or upon the cover art above graphic, in order to go to the download page for this series. Once there, you will find download instructions on that very page, along with further information about this series.

My team and I certainly do hope that you will take advantage of this FREE teaching. So please view the download page for more information about its contents.

Always in Jesus,

-Rich Vermillion

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The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel (FREE Audio MP3 Series)

October 27, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel
(FREE Audio MP3 Series)

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(Update October 28, 2012): Additional download instructions were added to the bottom of this article.
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The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel (graphic)Donna and I are very pleased to announce the release of a major new ministry project, “The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel” audio MP3 series. This project was truly a labor of love for the last couple of months, as an international team of volunteers joined with us to create this series and to make it available to the public for FREE.

There is NO OTHER SUBJECT more important than the REAL Gospel itself. It is only by that Gospel that men can be saved, and thus, ALL genuine Christian doctrine begins at this core tenet of the faith.

Rather than describe the series myself, however, I will allow someone else to do the honor.

The following descriptive text was written by the prolific Canadian Christian author, Ronnie Dauber, in collaboration with our entire project team. After listening to this series in its entirety, she penned this description in order to explain how she and the whole project team view the content of this MP3 series.

Below her description of this FREE audio MP3 teaching series, you will find the Creative Commons licensing information that permits you to share this series with others. And below that, there is another link to the download page where you can obtain your own copy of this FREE audio teaching.

Donna and I — and the entire project team — pray that you will be blessed by each of these teaching sessions tremendously, in the Name of Jesus. Amen. :)

Always in Jesus,
-Rich Vermillion

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The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel
MP3 Audio Series

by Ronnie Dauber

Don’t get caught in the wrong net! There are false preachers with household names who are fishing for men and women to commit to their “gods” and not to the REAL Jesus. It is easy to get snared when our hearts are seeking God for the wrong reasons — and the outcome of our ignorance is death, not life.

Brought to you by an international team of volunteers, “The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel” is a seven-part MP3 series divided into eight individual MP3 files (or “album tracks”). This series teaches with simplicity and with clarity who the real Jesus is — and the truth of HIS Gospel. It’s exciting! It’s challenging! And it’s convicting! This series includes:

  • easy-to-learn basics of the real Gospel that you can apply to your life
  • simple-to-understand lessons that are powerfully explained by an inspired teacher
  • profoundly detailed content to equip you with the ability to discern truth from false teaching
  • mini-teachings on associated subjects interspersed throughout the series
  • BOLD — but rational — commentary on controversial topics such as women in ministry

Under God’s anointing and with His wisdom and knowledge, Rich Vermillion teaches The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel and explains how we can discern the truth of the Gospel from false and erroneous teaching. He exposes the deceptions and the heresies that are saturating the Christian world today.

The Christian world is flooded with doctrines that claim to stem from the Gospel of Jesus, yet they are in conflict — either obviously or subtly — with Truth of God’s Word. The message in this series is simple and yet absolute: it is the fundamental truth of the REAL Gospel taught in a down-to-earth fashion that is easy to relate to and comprehend.

While this series is designed to enlighten the Christian with biblical truth, it firmly confronts several of the false “gospels” as well. Also known as “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” heretics are exposed as the message of the REAL Gospel is revealed. Beyond this, Rich actually explains how heretics weave their seemingly endless varieties of myths as he teaches how to easily identify the true from the false by providing:

  • facts accurately researched for correct Scripture translation
  • non-sectarian (non-denominational) instruction from the Bible
  • prime examples of some of today’s most well-known heretics and heresies
  • popular “convenient doctrines,” based upon logical fallacies, which false ministers use to ensnare vulnerable Christians

For several years Rich Vermillion has researched the Hebrew and Greek history of the Bible utilizing a library of authentic references and resources. The information gleaned from such intensive study is accurately relayed in this series to enable the listener to gain a fuller meaning of the original scriptures while in their proper historical setting. The cultural background of this time period has been thoroughly investigated and examined as well as the historical premise of the many English Bible translations that are available today. Though this series is “chock full” of meaty scriptural teaching and historical facts, many of them are relayed in such a simple way that even a child could comprehend them.

The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel explains the Gospel that Jesus gave to His apostles and exposes the heretics who are on the prowl to steal this vital truth from Christians. It teaches how Christians can discern the truth from the lies of the false teaching. Consequently, this series offers a refreshing alternative to an allegedly Christian market of “Bible teachings” that focus merely on what people can gain materially from God; on how Christians can improve their self-worth; and how Christians can gain power and fame in this world. It brings diversity to the Christian MP3 market with a complete series on The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel of Jesus.

As this series circulates you can expect the Internet to be flooded with these MP3’s because people are tired of being “sold” religious fables by people who only want their money. They are now searching for the truth and this series is like none other before it. Therefore, the people who enjoy it are likely to listen to it again and again because they will want to get a better understanding of this FREE and REAL Gospel. And it’s not only taught with enthusiasm and excitement, but also with a touch of humor.

BACKGROUND

Rich Vermillion was joined by an international team of volunteers who assisted him with assembling this MP3 series for your benefit. Freely we have received knowledge of the REAL Gospel from the Lord Jesus through His Word. Please allow us to freely give it to you. (Matthew 10:8)

Though it cost Jesus Christ everything, the REAL Gospel has been given to the world for free. Therefore, the cost of The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel is free. These MP3’s are available without charge to anyone and everyone who wants to have them. Simply download them, listen to them, and then share this series with your family and friends. You can even make CD’s of this series and pass the message around.

It is the real Gospel, simple and true. And it is FREE! So The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel is a message you simply cannot afford to miss.

BIOGRAPHY

Rev. Vermillion has been an ordained Christian minister for over two decades and is a dynamic speaker and award-winning author. He has been featured on multiple television and radio broadcasts around the world. Nevertheless, his eternity-focused goal is simply to please his Lord Jesus Christ by winning souls and serving God’s people, through accurate ministry of God’s Word.

(Note from Rich: If you wish to learn more about us, you will find biographical description of both Donna and me on the “About/Biography” page here on this website. You can also view the ten minute video that is found in the right column of this website for a third-party description of my ministry.)

LICENSE

The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel MP3 series is ©2012 by Rich Vermillion; and this series has been officially filed with the Library of Congress for protection under U.S. Copyright Law and international treaty. However, you may freely redistribute this series worldwide for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons 3.0 license, but only without charge. Also, this series cannot be edited or altered in any way. All other rights are reserved as well.

Creative Commons 3.0 Graphic

(Click the graphic above to view the license summary in a new browser window.)

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** DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS **

The Archive.org website offers the following BASIC directions here regarding how to download content from their website (where these MP3s are stored):

How do I download files?

To download the files on a PC, right click the link to the file, and select “Save Target As” or “Save Link As” (or something similar depending on which browser you’re using).

On the Macintosh, hold the button down while the mouse is over the link, and when the menu comes up, select “Save Target As”.

If you are using a laptop and do not have a “right” button to “click,” then most computers substitute a keyboard-click combination. Hold down the “control” or “Ctrl” key on your computer keyboard while clicking on a link, and you should then see the same menu appear that was just mentioned above.

Additional types of Archive.org instructions (e.g. FTP downloads, Torrent, etc.) can also be found by clicking here.

To download this series onto your own computer or portable MP3 player, please visit the Archive.org download page by clicking here, or by clicking on the following graphic.

The EASIEST way to download the entire series at one time is to look in the left menu bar on the download page for the link marked “VBR ZIP” under the category “Play/Download.” Either right-click or control-click that link, and then save it to your computer. (It will take a while to download, depending on your connection speed.)

Once the file is fully downloaded, simply “double-click” the file (i.e. click on the link twice, and very quickly). Your computer may then warn you that this is a file from the Internet, and ask you if you really want to open it. This file is VERY safe to open. So affirm that you want to open it by clicking whatever button your computer provides for you to do so, and then your computer will “unzip” that file into a brand new folder within the same location as the original “zip” file.

Inside that new folder you will be able to see all the individual MP3 session files (eight in total, numbered from 1 to 7B). Simply double-click on session 1, and it should begin playing within your default media player on your computer. As you finish each session, simply close them out, and then “double-click” on the next session file in the numerical sequence in order to continue through the entire series one session at a time.

If you would prefer to download each file one at a time, then you must scroll down the download page to see all the individual files. For most users, we recommend that you ONLY download the files in the column marked “VBR MP3,” and that you simply ignore the other versions (unless you know what they are and how to utilize them.)

(Click the graphic to view the MP3 DOWNLOAD page within a new browser window.)

You can also copy/paste the following link into your web browser:

http://archive.org/details/TheFundamentalsOfTheRealGospel

Once you are on that page, you will see the download links BOTH in the left column of that page, and listed as individual file links toward the bottom of that page. Again, these latter links can be viewed by simply scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Enjoy! :)

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“Judging”: Hypocritical vs. Biblical

May 14, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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“Judging”: Hypocritical vs. Biblical

 

Judgement-Hypocritical_vs_Righteous

A contrast of opposites: The “hypocrite” on the left is wearing a dark suit to demonstrate his dark character, and looks away from the light to admire his “white mask” of pretense and hypocrisy. The righteous man looks to the light, and has taken a firm stand for truth. Which are you, when it comes to “judging” others? (Click to enlarge)

Donna and I have been very blessed by all the encouraging comments and correspondence that we receive for our ministry efforts here on this website, as well as our several other online outreaches (the list of which is in the column to your right under “Rich’s Other Websites”).

The outpouring of gratitude from those who have been set free from lying doctrines and false “wolves in sheep’s clothing” has been so fulfilling to us, and of course, a great source of motivation to keep going in our efforts — even in the face of persecution and opposition.

Yes, it may surprise some (though certainly not to many others) that we do get some very angry correspondence too from time to time. Most of the time, those are filed away (without being fully read) in a special folder which we have entitled, “Fools and Blind,” based on the use of that phrase by Jesus Himself:

Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?

(Matthew 23:16-19, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

The thing to note about Jesus’ use of that phrase above is that He applied it specifically to a group of people who invented their own doctrines in OPPOSITION to the Truth of God’s Word. Similarly, many of those who contact us have either invented their own twisted doctrines, or alternately, have embraced the twisted doctrines of others. So in their “folly” and “blindness” they consider themselves “experts” on the subjects that they address — just like the “fools and blind” that Jesus rebuked above — while all the while, their doctrines are unbiblical and full of logical fallacies.

So rather than bother reading that tripe (since we are so often busy and would rather invest our time into responding to those with either sincere questions, or are in genuine need of ministry), these “fools and blind” comments and emails simply get tossed into the folder we have set aside for that purpose…once we see which way such notes are going. This is especially true with those that are openly hostile and/or contain the use of profanity — however, those typically get deleted before being fully read, instead of merely being “filed.” ;)

From time to time, however, I consider it helpful to our readers if we make examples out of some of these absurd correspondences by dissecting them within a full article. This allows us to have some “case studies” intermixed into some helpful teaching, whereby our readers can learn true biblical practice/doctrine — AND even get some “ammo” to use in response to similar situations whenever they may face such things themselves. (Besides these benefits…these are just flat interesting and funny!)  :D

Of course, numerous people were made “examples” in the Bible by God — many of which were surely NOT funny to behold at the time. For example, there was. Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5, and Simeon the Sorcerer in Acts chapter 8. Paul wrote about heretics and their false doctrines (“Hymenaeus and Alexander” in 1 Timothy 1:20, and “Hymenaeus and Philetus” in 2 Timothy 2:17).

Even the apostle, John — who is often called the “Apostle of Love” because of his frequent use of the Greek words “agape” and “agapao” (Strong’s #s 26 and 25 respectively) in his writings by the Spirit — took the time to rebuke a man BY NAME in one of his own letters, promising to do it again IN PERSON should he come later to that town:

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.

(3 John vs. 9-12, NKJV, emphasis mine above, and in the Bible quotations that follow)

It is interesting to note that not only did John stated that the behavior of Diotrephes was “evil,” but he explicitly told the man to whom he was writing (Gaius) that he should NOT follow such evil people — and even suggested he stop attending that evil guy’s “church” !!! (And when we do that very same thing today, it STILL gets false pastors upset…because such “evil” men STILL always “love to have the preeminence.”) John then went so far as to name a good man of God (Demetrius) whose congregation Gaius would do well to attend.

Nevertheless, my main point in citing that passage above is to point out that “naming names” and calling their behavior “evil” (or unbiblical, ungodly, or any other such term justified by the facts at hand) is quite biblical and appropriate.

Consequently, I have taken a couple of the correspondences that were sent in to us in the past, and made examples out of them on this website. For instance, in When Wolves Remove Their Clothes I cited the identity and comments made by an alleged “minister” (who actually dared me to post his comments…chuckle), and then proceeded to dissect his fallacious tripe in order to reveal its heinous and unscriptural nature.

Similarly, in Why Do Glenn Beck’s “Fans” Hate Him So Much? I dissected the foolish comments submitted by an alleged “Christian” who tried to defend Mormons, despite admitting that they believe bizarre doctrines not found in Scripture (that is, the BIBLE only…excluding all the demonic heretical Mormon books that Joseph Smith, Jr. pawned off on them by deceit). Therein we revealed that the man was NOT truly “loving” those people, as he supposed — but HATING them instead, as he obviously could not care less if they went to Hell or not. As I said in that article, “If ‘friends don’t let friends drive drunk’ [as the old TV commercials used to say], they certainly do NOT let them go to Hell for eternity.” I believe that to still be true today, don’t you too?

Nevertheless, since we have gathered a few more since those articles were written, I thought it was about time to once again make examples out of a couple more emails. These will serve wonderfully to reveal how hypocritical those people are who profess to believe that we are not to “judge others” — for they obviously do not have any problem judging others fallaciously and erroneously, when they attempt to make that very point. Hereby, we can also clearly see — by both precept and example — the difference between “judging” hypocritically verses doing so biblically.

Let’s begin by exposing an alleged “pastor” who surely is not a genuine minister of Christ…

 

A False Shepherd

This first guy was intriguing, and a marvelous example of pure hypocrisy in regard to “judging others.” He said his name is “Stephen Garrepy,” and he was writing me from a location in Plymouth, Wisconsin (though I have no idea where his alleged “flock” itself might be located). See if you can detect the self-contradiction in what he wrote in this note dated March 6, 2012, before I elaborate upon it myself:

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Everything on your website is very entertaining. As I often tell my sheep, “We don’t need to be a Holy Ghost Junior, God is able to take care of those who are leading the sheep astray.”

Please, sir, get a life and stay the course and concentrate on the Gospel.

___________________________________

 

Do you see the self-contradiction above? This guy begins by referencing his “doctrine” (if you can call it that, as it was something he obviously made up or learned elsewhere, for it is NOT found in the Bible — which fact, of course, qualifies him as a “fool” and “blind” as Jesus stated further above). He defines his absurd thesis both explicitly and implicitly to contain the following points:

  • That people are not to oppose those who are leading God’s people (sheep) astray.
  • That God Himself will take care of such “wolves in sheep’s clothing” Himself.
  • That anyone trying to interfere with such false ministers and heretics is trying to play “Holy Ghost Junior,” i.e. that they are trying to do the job of the Holy Spirit…
  • … and thus, that such people have NO BUSINESS criticizing those they feel are in error.

Question: If this guy REALLY believes what he said he teaches…THEN WHY was he writing me? Is he not playing “Holy Ghost Junior” according to his own stated doctrine? Why did he not leave me to God for Him to “take care of” instead of trying to get in the way of what God wanted to do?

In short, this man does NOT believe his own professed doctrine, because he acts directly in opposition to what he stated that he teaches others? What does that make him, therefore? Note:

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things….

Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.

(An excerpt from Romans chapter two, NKJV)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

(Matthew 23:25, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

Mr. Garrepy stated what he teaches OTHERS, but by so doing, demonstrated that he does NOT follow that false doctrine himself. He seems to have no problem teaching “his sheep” (which nasty phrase we will address shortly) to essentially “mind your own business,” while he himself seems to easily to the opposite. He has refuted himself through self-contradiction, and thus, completely negated his criticism of me.

However, since I will address the essence of this type of hypocrisy further below in detail, let me turn to what I wrote him as I utterly refuted his alleged “doctrine” directly in my reply. Before you read my rather blunt reply, however, please keep in mind the following passages from the Bible:

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

(James 3:1, NKJV)

Those [elders] who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

(1 Timothy 5:20, NKJV, bracketed note added)

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

(Galatians 2:1-3, NKJV)

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My Rebuke of a False Shepherd

In short, by identifying himself as a [false] pastor in his correspondence, his hypocrisy demanded a VERY stern response in “stricter judgment” as I opposed his absurd notions very bluntly. With that in mind, here is my reply to him:

___________________________________

[Mr. Garrepy,]

I gather from your email that you do not know it, yet; but you have just insulted Jesus, the apostles Paul and Peter, Jame and Jude (the half-brothers of the Lord), and EVERY prophet of the Old Testament. Here are only a few examples from the New Testament of how utterly absurd your stated doctrine really is:

Jude v. 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ….22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Galatians 2:11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

Now, pay attention to that last passage above in particular: Jesus was ANGRY with the Church in Pergamos because they “allowed” false teachers (heretics) in their midst. What do you think the Lord’s attitude might be towards the way you are instructing people to essentially do the SAME THING? You said below that you TEACH “YOUR” sheep not to interfere with others, when the NT clearly says otherwise!

Um…and let me fill you in on something…they are NOT “your” sheep, you foolish man:

1 Peter 5:1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

I normally do not resort to “ad hominem” on the rare occasion that I reply to such ignorant emails, but in your case it is clearly justified by the facts at hand. Thus, it is not fallacious ad hominem but warranted because (1) It seems to be factually true; and (2) Certainly relevant to your email’s content. It is also a biblical term:

James 2:20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

I would suggest to you in reply that you REPENT of claiming God’s Blood-bought sheep for your own, and for teaching them absurd doctrine that is so blatantly contrary to the Bible’s message.

Then learn to read your Bible and how to form good theology instead of that tripe that you were so brazen to send me. Your “Holy Ghost Junior” doctrine might be cute in your eyes, but it is flatly unbiblical — and ungodly. You could NOT care one bit about a MAN’S SOUL? How can I call you ANYTHING but a “foolish man” when you are so blind to your own state?

Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!
-Charles Spurgeon

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

[End of my reply to Mr. Garrepy]

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Of course, this man — who is biblically qualified as a “fool” according to his own behavior in the light of many Scriptures — never did reply with any further correspondences (and that reply above was sent to him over two months ago). His “doctrine” was profoundly unbiblicaland easily proven to be so — and his email hypocritical. So it is no wonder he thought best to keep his “Holy Ghost Junior” opinions to himself from that point forward. ;)

 

Another Hypocrite

About a week ago, someone else used our contact form to send a note to Donna and I about her post Lifting Up Their Faces (Surgically). Like the false pastor’s note above, this one was also strikingly hypocritical.

However, instead of being indignant within my reply to this second person, I had a hilarious time responding to them as I attempted to explain the difference between biblical judgement of others, and the hypocritical variant which he (or she…I’m not sure which they might be) was demonstrating in their email.

Once again, you are about to see how silly the people we deal with are at times. More beneficially, however, you will also see how sometimes I deal with such unbiblical, fallacious , and self-refuting people (though, again, most of the time I merely ignore them). Moreover, as we progress through this article you will discover how such a hard-line response is clearly biblical and appropriate, if we truly love such people (i.e. not in human affection, but in the “agape” covenant-love in which Jesus commanded us to walk, see John 14:15). In other words, I will demonstrate biblical “judgement” (and confrontation of error) in contrast to the hypocritical “judgement” that they demonstrated through their self-contradiction.

Here is what “Lineo” wrote us, from a location in South Africa, Gauteng, Pretoria (with his/her typos corrected):

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Guys, guys, guys! Opinion is one thing but lambasting other Christians? What about the scriptures where JESUS says we are NOT to judge?

What makes your opinion so right? Are you holier than Gloria Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Paula White and those you are lambasting?

Please! REPENT!

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I am quite sure the self-contradiction of “Lineo” should be clear to most of my readers by this point. Yet, how I handled it in my reply, should prove to be very interesting to those of you who have run into similar “judge not” opposition from others who claimed that you were doing the “wrong thing” by trying to oppose heretics and evil people.

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Of Myths and Fables

Now before we get into my reply, let’s once again begin with some introductory remarks. Please notice that this person has swallowed one of the most common MYTHS in Christendom: That Jesus told us to “not judge others.” Actually, the OPPOSITE is true. Not only did He condone it…He actually COMMANDED us to judge the “fruit” of others:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

(Matthew 7:15-20, NKJV, Words of Christ in Red)

Jesus clearly explained that “trees” are known by their “fruits” as He used a metaphor to explain how to know true ministers from false “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” But how can you “know the fruit” if you did not JUDGE the fruit? Obviously, you have to use your God-given intellect to make a “judgment” about the nature of the “fruit” in question, in order to properly discern true and false ministers.

Note also how Jesus addressed the subject of confrontation of personal offenses:

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

(Matthew 18:15-17, NKJV, Words of Christ in Red)

Do you see the section I underlined above? The Greek word translated as “tell him his fault” is elegchō (Strong’s #1651), which The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament Edition, explains as meaning:

To shame, disgrace, but only in Classical Greek. In the New Testament, to convict, to prove one in the wrong, and thus to shame him. (I) To convict, to show to be wrong…to convict of error, refute, confute. (II) By implication, to reprove, rebuke, admonish…. to reprove by chastisement, correct, chastise in a moral sense….”

So we can easily see that to “tell him his fault” is more than just a quick comment about the matter. Rather, the picture painted by this Greek verb is to expose their error (Thayer’s Lexicon; see its use in Ephesians 5:11 & 13) through very direct confrontation, as one PROVES that the other person is clearly wrong, and thus, brings them to a point of shame about what they did.

Does that sound like you should “not judge” them? How absurd! You cannot possibly bring that level of confrontation to bear against a person’s behavior UNLESS you have not only personally “judged” them AND their behavior. Moreover, you have to actually go so far as to “build a case against them” by which you are intending to “convict” them of their faults!

 

Of Hypocrisy Condemned

But what did Jesus condemn if not judgment against others in general? Well, let’s look at the main passage in question and find out:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

(Matthew 7:1-5, NKJV, Words of Christ in red; compare also Luke 6:41-45)

Please note that Jesus clearly stated NOT merely “judge not” but “judge not that you be not judged.” In other words, the myth that Jesus condemned all judgment of others is based on quoting HALF a verse — and ignoring the next four verses too!

Jesus said that when YOU judge another person, you are inviting scrutiny of yourself on THAT point — and even related issues. Thus, “with what judgement YOU judge, YOU will be judged; and with the measure YOU use, it will be measured BACK to YOU.” So Jesus continues with a metaphor about a “speck” in relation to a “plank,” ending it with the CLEAR admonition, “HYPOCRITE! First remove the plank from your own eye, and THEN you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

In other words: We are SUPPOSED to removed the “specks” (and “planks”) from our brothers’ eyes — but NOT until we have examined ourselves first to ensure we are NOT being hypocrites when we do.

So Jesus ONLY condemned HYPOCRITICAL judgement…but at the very same time, clearly articulated the need to be concerned about our brothers and sisters in Christ — which, of course, requires us to “judge” that SOMETHING is “in their eye,” when we do address their faults.

 

My Reply

So what was my response to “Lineo’s” note? Well, first I had to point out very blatantly that “Lineo” was being a hypocrite. Why? Because with the “judgment” he (or she) judged us, I had to judge him (or her). And with the “measure” he (or she) used against us, we had to measure against him (or her).

So here was my reply (with a few minor edits for additional clarity, and my own typos corrected as well):

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“Lineo,”

Please forgive me for being rather frank in my reply, but you are hilarious! Do you realize that you just “judged” us, and then told us to “repent”…which is exactly what you are criticizing us for doing???? You don’t even believe your own doctrine! LOL!

;)

Of course, by hypocritically doing the VERY thing that you accuse us of doing, you have negated your “correction” — and demonstrated that it is in error. You negated it, by “correcting” us for what you are doing — which means that either what we are doing is actually RIGHT (and thus, that is why you are doing it too) or what YOU are doing is equally wrong (and thus, you have a plank to remove from your eye).

However, your doctrine is in clear error, because Jesus NEVER said what you think He said:

** Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Note: Jesus said that we ARE to remove the “specks” from our brothers’ eyes…but ONLY after ensuring that we are NOT hypocrites, doing the same things ourselves! (See also Romans chapter 2.) Thus, your doctrine is FALSE, and you actually violated the very passage you professed to be exhorting us to follow. Here are a few other passages that clearly indicate your doctrine is wrong, and thus, why — in your heart — you do not even believe the silly “do not judge” doctrine that you profess:

** John 7:24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

** James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

** Galatians 2:11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed…

What do these passages above demonstrate? That we are to TRULY judge people according to their deeds and actions, and to bring godly correction when they are in error — even REBUKING them when necessary:

** 2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

The Greek word translated as “convince” in the NKJV above is Strong’s #1651, and means “to convict, to prove to be wrong, to the point of bringing them to shame” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary, NT edition). Sometimes it is translated as “reprove” or “rebuke,” but “convict and prove to be wrong” would be the best phrase to use, with “convict” being the best one-word equivalent.

It is used in many places of the NT in regard to confrontation of sin and error in others, to include this passage in 1 Timothy 5:20, “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” In other words, such “convicting” is often done even publicly. Here is another place (in bold) where that word is used:

** Titus 1:10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

Oh, wow! Paul sure is being “judgmental” is he not? He even told Titus to do the same thing!

Obviously, your professed doctrine is silly, because the New Testament (NT) is FULL of people “judging” other people ACCORDING to God’s Word, and trying to do something about their error — even PUBLICLY confronting them! In fact, from Genesis to Revelation, TRUE men and women of God have done that throughout ALL of history!

Moreover, the Greek word translated as “rebuke further above in the 2 Timothy 4 passage is Strong’s #2008, and means simply a REBUKE regardless of the effect on the other person (i.e. regardless of whether it brings them under “conviction,” which the first Greek word emphasizes). So we are to REBUKE people (i.e. perform the act) and do our best to bring “conviction” upon them for their error when we do — but regardless, we are to confront their sin and error in TRUE biblical love, if we are to “turn them away from their error” as James said above. (See also 1 John chapter 3 in its entirety.)

ALL OF THIS requires us to first “judge” the fact that their behavior is CONTRARY to biblical precepts. Thus, your professed doctrine is VERY unbiblical, but also ungodly — and you do not even believe it yourself anyway.

I hope you will appreciate the fact that I took the time to reply and to point out your hypocrisy — which, by the way, is true love for me to do, as I just explained above. So my behavior in replying to you so bluntly is not only biblical — but it is without hypocrisy.

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Let me insert a note here to emphasize what I said immediately above in my reply to “Lineo”: Namely, that this very reply to him (or her) was a demonstration of consistency in my practice and doctrine. In other words, I am not only articulating what the Bible REALLY teaches on these subjects, but actually acting upon that very doctrine in replying to this individual. Thus, my demonstrated behavior was consistent with my professed beliefs. However, in contrast, “Lineo’s” email professed to believe something that his (or her) actions clearly denied. Now back to my reply…

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As Paul said in Romans 2:1, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” So I would suggest that you re-evaluate your OWN behavior before attempting to tend to our behavior any further (see again Matthew 7:1 above too).

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Let me insert another note to point out that I just told “Lineo” to remove his (or her) “plank” from their eye, in order to clear their vision. This is, of course, what Jesus commanded in Matthew 7:5 above. Back to my reply, as I turn my attention toward my concerns about their eternal welfare…

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I also encourage you to also consider soberly the warnings of Paul in 2 Corinthians:

** 2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?

His warning above, was in the light of the SINS of the Corinthians that he had just described in chapter 12 previously, and his concern for their OWN eternal destiny. This, of course, is perfectly congruent with Jesus’ teaching LATER in Matthew 7, in regard to making sure that you are truly SAVED, and not following “wolves” down the “broad way that leads to destruction.”

** Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

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!’

In the light of your email, I have the same concern for YOU that Paul did for the Corinthians. So please be prayerful about that, for your eternal welfare depends on you getting through the “narrow gate” that leads to the “difficult narrow way” which itself leads to “eternal life.”

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This is another important point to emphasize: It is of little value to refute the person’s hypocrisy if you do not also turn their attention toward the possibility that they may NOT actually be saved — especially when the person’s doctrine is so poor, and so obviously influenced by false teachers.

Note in Matthew 7:13-14 above that Jesus said that the TRUE Gospel of Jesus Christ is a “narrow gate” that FEW find…and that the “way” (or “road”) behind that gate is both “narrow” (i.e. specific, and constrained by the Bible to certain specifications) and “difficult” (i.e. contains persecution, problems, and other things which result specifically from the fact that one is on that “path of righteousness”…see also Psalm 23). In contrast, Jesus further explained that “MANY” find the “broad gate.” What is that? ANY alleged “plan of salvation” (or “blessing”) that does NOT conform to the VERY SPECIFIC one given by Jesus to His apostles, and handed down to us through the New Testament (see also Galatians chapter one, 2 Peter chapters two and three, and the entire book of Jude).

Behind that “broad gate” is a “broad way” (or “broad road”) that leads to “destruction” (i.e. damnation). Thus, in Matthew 7:21-23 above, Jesus explains that “MANY” (i.e. the same quantity that He previously stated will find the “broad gate”) will discover — to their HORROR, and TOO LATE — that despite their profession of faith in His Name, that they were never born again. Thus, “MANY” such people will hear the terrifying words, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

Oh, the HORROR! We must “evangelize in the pews,” my friends, because “many” sitting there are on the “broad way” that leads to eternal damnation, while only “few” are truly born again through the “narrow gate” of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ! (And to read more about this, please see my article The Supreme Value of Righteousness here on this website right away, to ensure you and your loved ones are not counted among this terrified number.)

Now back to my reply, to see how I addressed “Lineo’s” closing question about our “holiness”…

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Oh, and in answer to your question at the end, “Are you holier than Gloria Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Paula White and those you are lambasting?” Yes, we are. And the documents that detail the sins of these people on that article about them, as well as on KennethCopelandBlog.com (in regard to Gloria), attest to that fact.

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Let me also note here that we are much holier (biblically speaking) than Joyce Meyer too, which is obvious by the fact that she is teaching Masonic doctrines about the “all seeing eye” of Freemasonry, which is demonic heresy. We are also MUCH holier (biblically speaking) than Paula White too, given her wolfish behavior in general, coupled with her propensity to be caught in extra-marital affairs (and click here for more about her ungodly behavior). Now, back to my reply…

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Just like Titus was holier than the Cretans, and needed to rebuke them for their error, we are ourselves much holier than these wolves — in the biblical sense of the word — for we are not “wolves in sheep’s clothing” as they demonstrably are. Thus, we are not being hypocritical in our analysis of them (i.e. as you were regarding us). And, in fact, we are demonstrating TRUE LOVE toward them, as we “convict, prove to be wrong, and shame” them for their many sins PUBLICLY — in hope that they will eventually repent of their error (and in further hope to warn others to stay way from those wolves…as TRUE ministers of Christ are supposed to do).

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

[End of my reply to “Lineo”]

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Jesus’ Attitude

Now, some reading the above replies might be tempted to “judge” them as being unloving (and please note the appropriate pun that was intentionally made in this sentence). In response, let me first point out that the “Fools and Blind!” passages quoted at the top of this article clearly indicate that Jesus was not always “nice” toward those He corrected when walking the earth two-thousand years ago.

However, to further avert the potential of someone defaulting to such an erroneous opinion, let me ask you a direct question: What was Jesus’ attitude toward hypocrites? Let’s find out by consulting the Scriptures:

Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips,but their heart is far from Me.'”

(Matthew 15:7-8, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.

(Matthew 16:2-4, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?… Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of Hell?

(Matthew 23:12-17, & 33, NKJV, Words of Christ in red)

One thing is VERY clear from the above passages: Jesus HATES hypocrisy, and was VERY confrontational about such behavior when He ran across it.

Consider this also: Jesus walked the earth as “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16) because He is God Himself (e.g. John 1:1-4 & 14; Hebrews 1:8-12; Colossians 1:13-18; etc.). Furthermore,”God is love” (Greek, agape, Strong’s #26; a covenant-love that is NOT based upon emotions, but upon covenant relationships; which “love” can also be hostile toward those OUTSIDE of that covenant, as Psalm 136 clearly attests, as does Revelation 21:8). THEREFORE, since Jesus was “Agape manifest in the flesh” then TRUE agape-love is NOT the emotional “touchy, feely” kind of affection that people falsely assume, but a very specific kind of “love” that will kill people (Psalm 136, which uses “agape” in the Greek translation of that Psalm for the Hebrew word “chased,” which is translated into English as “mercy”); AND such covenant-love will even throw people into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8) if they are OUTSIDE of that VERY critical covenant that offers them eternal life (the benefits for which are listed in the previous verse).

So if you want to know what REAL love is toward hypocrites, then you need to study and emulate the example that Jesus gave us — which surely includes NOT being “nice” to such people any more.

(But first, of course, make sure you are NOT a hypocrite yourself! Look for both “planks” and “specks” in your own eye, BEFORE looking for those same things in the eyes of others…Matthew 7:5.)

Since we are commanded to do what He did (e.g. John 13:34 in comparison with John 14:15) and to walk as He walked (e.g. 1 John 2:3-6), then it necessarily follows that GENUINE ministry in the Name of Christ will consistently be doing just that. Again, we pointed about above that Paul COMMANDED Timothy by the Spirit to:

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

(2 Timothy 4:2-4, NKJV)

And again, the Greek word translated as “convince” in the NKJV translation of the passage above is elegchō (Strong’s #1651), which The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament Edition, explains as meaning:

“To shame, disgrace, but only in Classical Greek. In the New Testament, to convict, to prove one in the wrong, and thus to shame him. (I) To convict, to show to be wrong…to convict of error, refute, confute. (II) By implication, to reprove, rebuke, admonish…. to reprove by chastisement, correct, chastise in a moral sense….”

So Paul was NOT commanding Timothy to be “nice” but to be VERY DIRECT, and to the point — even bringing people to SHAME by proving their error. Moreover, Paul even explained by the Spirit to Titus that this is a requisite trait (i.e. required characteristic) for genuine ministers of Christ, in order for them to be QUALIFIED for ministry:

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you — if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

(Titus 1:5-9, NKJV)

Once again, the Greek word correctly translated as “convict” in the NKJV citation above is this same word, elegchō. (It is also interesting to note that in the passage above — as well as in 1 Peter 5:1-4 and Acts 20:17-38 — that the words “elder” and “overseer”…transliterated into English as “bishop,” are unused interchangeably to denote the SAME office. But that is another sermon for another time…)

Paul even told Titus, by the Spirit, to do that very thing a few verses later when he wrote, “

This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.

(Titus 1:13-14, NKJV)

And once again, the Greek word correctly translated as “rebuke” in the NKJV citation above is this same word, elegchō.

So to be a TRUE minister of Christ, a man or woman of God must be able to “convict” others of their error (even being rather rude about it at times), by the sound doctrine they themselves hold dear. In so doing, they are imitating the very attitude of Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 5:1-13) toward those manifesting evil and hypocrisy — as the quotes of Jesus provided further above clearly attest.

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The Even Bigger Picture

However, there is another thing that is very clear from Jesus’ statements to hypocrites:

THEY GO TO HELL!

Again, Jesus said things like, “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of Hell?“ when addressing people He had already called “hypocrites” and “fools and blind.” This is VERY serious, and to be pondered soberly!

(And for those of you who have used “hypocrites” as an excuse for not becoming a Christian…please keep in mind that you will spend eternity WITH those very hypocrites in torment, if you do NOT stop being a hypocrite, repent, and get saved YOURSELF. Again, please read The Supreme Value of Righteousness without delay.)

So which is more loving?

Hypocrite-masks-red_background

  • To act like Jesus, and VERY directly, boldly, and lovingly, confront a hypocrite in firm rebuke, in regard to  their error, sin, and the state of their souls?

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  • Or to “be nice”  in reply — and thereby perhaps allow them go to Hell because they were not boldly “convicted” beforehand by someone who loved them enough to confront them in righteousness?

Personally, I think the first answer above is the more correct. Please note again, in closing:

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

(James 5:19-20, NKJV)

Yep! Though unpleasant, both Mr. Garrepy and “Lineo” received very strong holy “dosages” of TRUE Agape-love in those replies. May they take that clear and irrefutable “conviction” to heart, come to their senses, and repent of walking on the “broad way” that leads to destruction.

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

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“Recommendations” Project Launched

March 5, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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“Recommendations” Project Launched

 

Announcing that our "Recommendations" project has been launched!After a tremendous amount of work, Donna and I are pleased to announce that a new resource has been added to RichVermillon.com. This new “Recommendations” project is intended to provide our website’s visitors with a handy list of the “best of the best” of the study materials and resources that we ourselves own—and which we have often recommend to others individually throughout the years.

The first phase of this project is complete. The Logic, Apologetics, and Evangelism materials that we most frequently recommend to others have been listed and explained upon one page. However, this is not a mere catalog of what we have on our own bookshelves. Rather, this robust resource contains also the following:

  • Introductory teaching on the subjects of logic, apologetics, and evangelism.
  • Some important teaching about the necessity of the Bible to the Christian faith.
  • Demonstration of the use of logic within several of the discussions.
  • Brief explanations of some powerful apologetic concepts.
  • A description of the ONLY biblical method of evangelism—i.e. the one that Jesus and the apostles used.
  • Detailed explanations of the materials that we most often recommend to others in these categories of teaching resources.
  • International links by which our readers from around the world can easily research these materials further and/or acquire them for themselves.
  • Some personal testimony, and thus, a unique “glimpse” into the Vermillion household that is not found anywhere else on the Internet.  ;)

There’s more to the first phase of this project than the simple bullet-list above (and those pages explain themselves more fully). But the items listed above will hopefully give you at least some idea of the benefit we expect that this project will provide for our readers—as well as the labor that was involved in preparing it.

We are hoping that this proves to be a VERY useful resource and reference for all our website guests—and most especially for our regular visitors, who frequent this website to enjoy the teaching that we offer on here free of charge to everyone.

Please feel free to share it with others if you deem it a blessing. You can do this by email, and by hitting the “Like/Tweet” buttons. We also have a “Share/Save” feature at the top and bottom of every page that is very handy for both bookmarking the page for easy future reference, as well as to spread the word through social media websites and other methods.

Other phases to this Recommendation project will be forthcoming as our time allows, and as reader enthusiasm for the first phase encourages us to create more pages. There are other categories of study resources and faith-building materials that we ourselves use and would like to recommend to everyone on here as well. :)

Donna and I have other various projects in the works also. So there will be more announcements in the weeks and months to come regarding those. If you are not already signed-up, please feel free also to subscribe to our Feedburner email list in order to be updated when those are released.

However, please avail yourself of this new Recommendations project resource in the mean time.

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

(Ephesians 6:23-24, NKJV)

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

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Authority AND Responsibility: Two Sides of the Very Same Coin

February 23, 2012 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Authority AND Responsibility:
Two Sides of the Very Same Coin

Here is a very useful and important truth that I believe would be good to explain, in order to help people avoid being abused. Donna and I were discussing this topic the other night: Namely, the relationship between “authority” and “responsibility.” When there is a failure to understand that these two concept are merely different aspects of the same thing, abuse is the necessary result (to one degree or another).

I will discuss this especially in regards to ministry, but the principle is universal. What I will explain here applies just as much in the business world, families, and the military, just as much as it does in the Church. Thus, in multiple facets of your life, this short lesson will prove to be very applicable — and will probably clarify issues that you have dealt with in times past yourself, and/or might even facing now.

Let us begin by noting what Jesus said about this topic. This principle was revealed by the Lord within a parable that addressed both His Second Coming AND what He expects of His Own leaders within the Church:

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 24:45-51, NKJV, words of Jesus in red)

Here we have a contrast given between two different kinds of “servants.” It is interesting to note first that the word used here in the original Greek language of the New Testament (NT) is doulos (Strong’s #1401), which means “a slave, bondman, man of servile condition” (Thayer’s Lexicon). So we are certainly talking about people who are “under authority.” But the passage clearly says that these two contrasting types of “subordinates” have also been GIVEN a responsibilitydelegated to them by his or her ultimate Superior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Along with that responsibility is clearly given an accompanying amount of suitable authority over the “food” that they are to distribute, as well as over the people to whom it will be distributed. This authority over people is specifically in regard to the assignment that they have been given — but not beyond that. In other words, this authority is limited in scope.

Now let us look at the two types of “servant” that Jesus described…

The first type of servant is one who is given authority, but UNDERSTANDS that it is given to him for a SPECIFIC PURPOSE: To carry out a delegated responsibility. This person realizes that what they have been given to them in terms of “power” was intended merely to supply them the ability to carry out the assigned task. They are diligent to “feed” the people to whom they were assigned, and to be faithful with the “food” entrusted to them. They are simple servants, who wish only to please their Master:

So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.”

(Luke 17:10, NKJV, words of Jesus in red)

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

(2 Corinthians 5:9-11, NKJV)

The second type of “servant,” on the other hand, is one who appears to be nothing more than a self-serving wretch. They seem to think that “authority” is a “free pass” to voluptuous living at the expense of others. This second “servant” utterly fails to carry out the delegated responsibility, but also ABUSES those to whom he or she was assigned to “feed.” Consequently, this second type is soundly judged by his or her Master when He returns:

the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 24:50-51, NKJV, words of Jesus in red)

In Jesus’ simple—but profound—parable, I believe that we can identify two very important truths:

  1. ALL authority is delegated FOR the purpose of fulfilling some specific responsibility, to which it is attached.
  2. All responsibility REQUIRES an appropriate amount of delegated authority in order to get the job done properly.

This is a universal principle, of course. A police man needs the necessary authority in order to “keep the peace” (which is their responsibility). Parents are endowed (by God…and NOT by any earthly government) with authority over their children for the purpose of raising them “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). And, of course, ministers are endowed by God with a certain amount of authority for the purpose of tending lovingly to God’s people on His behalf:

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

(Hebrews 13:17, NKJV))

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

(1 Peter 5:1-4, NKJV)

I have seen cases of absurd abuses of both aspects of this principle. I am fairly confident that you have as well:

CASE ONE: I have seen some person given a “responsibility” by some paranoid “leader” who retains all the authority to themselves. They refuse to delegate that necessary “ability” to the person because they are afraid of “loosing control.” In such an instance, the “responsibility” itself turns into an “abuse” of the subordinate, because they are expected to accomplish something that they are NOT properly equipped to do.

Without the necessary accompanying authority, it is only a matter of time before the “responsibility” either gets away from them, or it refuses to respond to their efforts. In either case, the subordinate is blamed for the failure to fulfill the assigned responsibility — but in reality, they were never truly ALLOWED to carry out that task, because they were not properly equipped. Thus, the “job” given them amounted to nothing more than being ABUSED by the so-called “leader.” It was an exercise in futility, with both the superior and subordinate suffering the ill results…but the subordinate suffering the abuse.

To use a military metaphor: The subordinate was like a foot soldier, placed in front of the charging enemy army — with a command to stop the oncoming assault. However, they were put there WITHOUT any weapons or ammunition! They were made “cannon fodder” — but then were blamed for being blown up in the battle.

CASE TWO: We have ALL seen cases where, as in the parable by Jesus above, an arrogant person comes into “authority” and utterly fails to understand that they are supposed to DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE with that authority — i.e. to carry out a specific responsibility. This could be an arrogant supervisor at work, or a superior in the military whose “rank” has gone to their heads. In the Body of Christ, “wolves in sheep’s clothing” prowling around looking for prey (see Matthew 7:13-23), ALL come under this category. Consequently, we can understand the extreme irritation express by God toward false shepherds in Ezekiel chapter thirty-four in the light of this point:

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”

‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

(Ezekiel 34:1-10, NKJV; but that entire chapter discusses this same theme)

So to quickly recap the short lesson above:

  • Responsibility delegated without corresponding authority, always constitutes a form of abuse of the person to whom the task was assigned.
  • Authority accepted (or worse, usurped) without regard to fulfilling the corresponding responsibility of that “position” or “office,” always results in abuse of power (to one degree or another).

This principle, therefore, is one that should be understood by all people — whether supervisors or subordinates — because failure to understand these things will result in someone being abused.

In THE CHURCH, this concept needs to be clearly understood even more, because “abuse” seems ALL too often to be “the norm” in many places these days. These things ought NOT to be so, but be sure of this: Such abuse will SURELY be judged by the Lord. Thus, a healthy fear of God is always advised — even among Christians — and especially among leaders.

Even the apostle, Paul, had a VERY healthy dose of the fear of God guiding his behavior within his own ministry. And he advised that ALL Christians adopt that same attitude:

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

(2 Corinthians 5:9-11, NKJV)

Your thoughts? The comments section is open below for discussion.

Always in Jesus,

-Rich

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