Back in the Saddle Again

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With my latest post, How God Uses Heretics, being well-acclaimed and promulgated around the Internet (even other websites), some of my regular readers have probably wondered why it took so long for RichVermillion.com to be populated with new articles. My Google Feedburner™ subscribers have probably also wondered why they have not received any emails.

Well, the reason my Feedburner™ subscribers have not been updated was an error with the settings for Google’s service (which I just fixed). However, the main reason for a lack of posts is that I was taking time away from this website to I spent more time in prayer and study. However, I am now returning attention towards this website to populate it with additional articles.

So, my apologies for being so absent from my own website. Nevertheless, as the say in Texas, “I’m back in the saddle again.” I have plans for several more biblical and thought-provoking posts, which should come out soon — so stay tuned!

Always in Jesus,

-Rich Vermillion

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Church, Religion and tagged .

15 Comments

  1. Hey Rich I look forward to more of your postings! You have considered Joel Osteen a heretic of which I heartily agree. I was in the word of faith for many years. (25+) I also have a sibling who is a Rhema grad. So I’m well versed in “WoF” doctrine. Copeland in my view is every bit as much a heretic as Joel is. Sadly so are both Hagins Jr. and Sr. This is not say that there aren’t genuine believers in “WoF” churches there are. However if one follows “WoF” teaching to the letter,then I’d say one is on very shaky ground. Jesse DuPlantis in my view is a bold faced liar in regard to his “trip” to Heaven.

    • Thanks, “Hey Bro,” for the “amen” and enthusiasm. 🙂

      I heartily agree with you on most points. I am particularly bothered by the blatant blasphemy and heresy that Jesse Duplantis has been pandering lately. This YouTube video is one of the most blasphemous and unscriptural things I have ever heard a professing ‘Christian’ say; and shows that Jesse is now deifying man while humanizing God.

      Regarding Hagin, Sr., however, I agree that he was in error on some points; but in reviewing some of his teaching again recently, I was surprised how “on track” he was on other points. For example, he would sometimes refer to “saints or ain’ts” in a clear reference to unsaved ‘Christians’ sitting in the pews among genuine believers. I found many other solid points of theology in his teachings that I had overlooked before (probably because he seemed to take it for granted that his audience understood his points without further elaboration). I also consider his “faith” teaching far more balanced than those of his proteges such as Copeland and others — though I agree that various of his points are somewhat without scriptural justification.

      That said, I also caution people that listen/read Hagin’s materials to have their Bible handy and a “Berean” attitude (see Acts 17) that tests everything he says. This helps the person to “eat the hay, and spit out the sticks” as Hagin himself used to say. I also highly recommend that they feed off of the classic theologians of the past (e.g John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Finney, some of Luther’s earlier works, such as his Commentary on Galatians, and etc.) so that they have a healthy diet of teaching. Thereby, the person is MUCH better equipped to discern between “hay” and “sticks” when listening to ANY modern minister. 😉

      As far as “Jr.” goes, I cannot say. I only ever liked one of his messages (a series on Obedience from years ago) and could never really get into his stuff. So I really do not know what he teaches, but I would certainly be very wary of him. I have met him and his son, Craig, and consider them both of poor character by what I saw within those encounters (plus the many stupid things they have both done publicly).

      There are some genuine believers among “WoF” churches, I agree with you. I even think that some of what is taught in those circles is quite Scriptural and helpful to their hearers. However, I think you will agree with me that “WoF” churches, in the way they sorely misrepresent the Gospel, are VERY guilty of filling their padded chairs with false converts who have never truly repented of their sins. So there needs to be a MAJOR reformation in WoF circles for me to ever consider generally recommending that someone attend one of their churches, without FIRST vetting that church thoroughly.

      Thanks for posting!

      Always in Jesus,

      -Rich

      • Me again Rich. I agree with some of your points on Hagin Sr. As far as Luther,Spurgeon,and Bunyan. I’d throw Calvin in as well. However I totally disagree about Finney. I have a site for you to see. Go to spurgeon.org Phil Johnson exposes Finney for what he truly was. I’d urge you to take a look see.

      • Phil Johnson has an article about Finney called,”A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing.” I’d like to clarify that without Luther and Calvin there would’ve been no Protestant Reformation. More than likely no U.S.A. as well.

      • I can’t find the article you mentioned, so could you post a link? Thanks.

        BTW: I am aware that in the Winter of 1843, Charles G. Finney was alone in Boston away from his ailing wife, suffering himself from some physical issues, and way over extended in his ministry pursuits. He became very distressed during that time with his own weaknesses and got a “revelation” about sanctification that is CLEARLY not biblical. He tried teaching it off and on for a couple of years publicly, but it did not go over too well. To his credit, however, he mostly abandoned “teaching” on that topic and stayed with the safe doctrines with which he had so successfully won so many to the Lord over the previous years: e.g. Justification by faith, etc…

        Thus, agree with you that there are some aspects of his teaching that is unbiblical (and actually, his thoughts on sanctification were quite weird). So let me clarify that it his his teachings on revival, and his approach to evangelism, which I most highly admire and respect. Not everything he taught, however, should be absorbed. So thank you for inspiring me to clarify my position on his ministry/teaching. 🙂

        Thanks for your posts again!

        Always in Jesus,

        -Rich

    • Bro, I have read Finney’s autobiography through about three times now, and that is ridiculous. I have not ever seen anything in his doctrine, as he espoused it therein, which supports such an assertion as you say that Phil has made.

      I have read some of Charles Finney’s other sermons, and again, nothing to support such an allegation.

      In reality, Finney preached just the OPPOSITE from what I have read. He was very strong on the atonement, and justification by faith alone.

      I’ll try to find that post to see what Phil said later, when I have more time. But for now, let me simply be clear that in what I have read of Finney’s material to date, NOTHING supports that charge.

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention, however; as I need to know what people think out there about things (true or not) when I write.

      Always in Jesus,

      -Rich

      • Well I ask take a look anyway. Phil Johnson says don’t be duped by sanitized 20th century writings about Finney. Many in the Reformed camp such as R. C. Sproul have condemned Finney as a Pelagian heretic. As I’ve said I agree with you on Luther and Spurgeon they were great Theologians.

  2. I’m not sure how to send you a link on this site. You’ll find the article at spurgeon.org Phil’s bookmarks,Hall Of Church History. Scroll down to A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing.

    • Actually I see the link did go through it took it a long time I guess. You can even Google A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing and find it. I’ve seen DuPlantis’s disgusting teaching on Adam “giving life to the animals.” I have his “Heaven” book as well,equally disgusting!

  3. Hey Bro,

    I found the article in question using your link. I then created a hyperlink on your post to make it “clickable” for others to read who might want to reference that article by Phil Johnson.

    In reading it, I found it quite dishonest. I have read Finney’s autobiography about three times through (and am doing so again now with the kids out loud). Consequently, I am well-aware of most of the statements he cited and their full context, and I fully disagree with his analysis.

    Furthermore, his take on Charles Finney’s position on “justification by faith” twists what the man believe terribly. Let me cite a direct quote from Finney’s Systemic Theology found on pages 362-363:

    3. Faith in Christ is, in the same sense, another condition of justification. We have already examined into the nature and necessity of faith. I fear that there has been much of error in the conceptions of many upon this subject. They have talked of justification by faith, as if they supposed that, by an arbitrary appointment of God, faith was the condition, and the only condition of justification. This seems to be the antinomian view. The class of persons alluded to speak of justification by faith; as if it were by faith, and net by Christ through faith, that the penitent sinner is justified; as if faith, and not Christ, were our justification. They seem to regard faith not as a natural, but merely as a mystical condition of justification; as bringing us into a covenant and mystical relation to Christ, in consequence of which his righteousness or personal obedience is imputed to us. It should never be forgotten that the faith that is the condition of justification, is the faith that works by love. It is the faith through and by which Christ sanctifies the soul. A sanctifying faith unites the believer to Christ as his justification; but be it always remembered, that no faith receives Christ as a justification, that does not receive him as a sanctification, to reign within the heart. We have seen that repentance, as well as faith, is a condition of justification. We shall see that perseverance in obedience to the end of life is also a condition of justification. Faith is often spoken of in scripture as if it were the sole condition of salvation, because, as we have seen, from its very nature it implies repentance and every virtue.

    That faith is a naturally necessary condition of justification, we have seen. Let the following passages of scripture serve as examples of the manner in which the scriptures speak upon this
    subject.

    Mark xiv. 15. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
    creature. 16. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be
    damned.”

    John i. 12. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even
    to them that believe on his name.”

    John iii. 16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever
    believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 36. He that believeth on the Son hath
    everlasting….

    There were more Scriptures given than I included above, but for space’s sake I omitted them since I quoted enough to make my point. (This also tends to negate Phil’s argument that Finney had an aversion to quoting Scripture.)

    Let me also add that the Charles G. Finney position on the topic, as indicated in the quote above, is consistent with that expressed by Paul to King Agrippa in Acts 26:20:

    First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. (NIV)

    It is clear from the citation above that Finney’s position was that the “faith” preachers of his day were forgetting “repentance” (much like today’s WoF preachers do); and that they had forgotten that it is Christ (and faith in HIM) that should be emphasized. Johnson seemed to COMPLETELY misrepresent Finney’s position within his “A Wold in Sheep’s Clothing” article.

    While I have not yet taken the time to fully analyze Finney’s position on “Original Sin” I have read enough to know that Phil Johnson has misrepresented Finney’s views on that topic too. Citation again from Systemic Theology, pages 226-227:

    In examining this part of the subject, it is necessary to have distinctly in view that which constitutes moral depravity. All the error that has existed upon this subject, has been founded in false assumptions in regard to the nature or essence of moral depravity. It has been almost universally true, that no distinction has been made between moral and physical depravity; and consequently, physical depravity has been confounded with and treated of, as moral depravity. This of course has led to vast confusion and nonsense upon this subject. Let the following fact, which has been shown in former lectures, be distinctly borne in mind.

    That moral depravity consists in selfishness, or in the choice of self-interest, self-gratification, or self-indulgence, as an end. Consequently it cannot consist [of],

    (1.) In a sinful constitution, or in a constitutional appetency or craving for sin. This has been shown in a former lecture, on what is not implied in disobedience to the moral law.
    (2.) Moral depravity is sin itself, and not the cause of sin. It is not something prior to sin, that sustains to it the relation of a cause, but it is the essence and the whole of sin.
    (3.) It cannot be an attribute of human nature, considered simply as such, for this would be physical, and not moral depravity.
    (4.) Moral depravity is not then to be accounted for by ascribing it to a nature or constitution sinful in itself. To talk of a sinful nature, or sinful constitution, in the sense of physical sinfulness, is to ascribe sinfulness to the Creator, who is the author of nature. It is to overlook the essential nature of sin, and to make sin a physical virus, instead of a voluntary and responsible choice. Both sound philosophy and the Bible, make sin to consist in obeying the flesh, or in the spirit of self-pleasing, or self-indulgence, or, which is the same thing, in selfishness—in a carnal mind, or in minding the flesh. But writers on moral depravity have assumed, that moral depravity was distinct from, and the cause of sin, that is, of actual transgression. They call it original sin, indwelling sin, a sinful nature, an appetite for sin, an attribute of human nature, and the like. We shall presently see what has led to this view of the subject.

    So in essence, Charles Finney seems to be trying to distinguish a physical condition from a moral one, as he attempts to build his case for his position. This is more a matter of terminology dispute (in my initial observation) than a doctrinal error, as Phil would express it. Finney clearly believes that SIN exists, and is in the human realm of existence: He is just attempting to clarify what he believes to be a mix-up in terminological use between a “sin by choice” (i.e. moral) and a “sinfulness by nature” (which he interprets to be linked to the physical attributes of humans). I cannot see ANY justification in this brief examination of his views for Johnson, R.C. Sproul, or anyone else, considering Charles G. Finney to be a “Pelagian heretic.” That seems to twist Finney’s views terrible once again (as I already know they have on the justification by faith issue).

    Again, I will study Finney’s doctrines more closely for a fuller understanding of his views. However, reading Phil Johnson’s “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” article in the light of what I already know about Charles G. Finney, and the few citations I have brought out in this comment, leads me to believe that Johnson was LESS concerned with understanding what the man ACTUALLY taught/believed than he should have been in order to give an HONEST assessment of the man.

    I cannot help but think that Johnson was either misled about the man by someone else before writing that article (and therefore pre-judged Finney) or he was simply being dishonest.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, however. This is useful to me, and has made me want to do more study of these issues in order to separate “fact from fiction” where Finney and his doctrines are concerned.

    Always in Jesus,

    -Rich

    • It is necessary to realize when reading Finney’s critics that they generally consider anyone who does not fall into their Calvinist beliefs to be somewhere in the Pelagian camp. These same critics will bemoan that so many Christians subscribe to the “Arminian heresy”.
      You’re either completely with them or you’re against them.

      • That has been my general experience with what I call “pseudo-Calvinists” as well. I call them that because John Calvin was a great theologian who loved God and His Word, and was humble enough to know that he was NOT omniscient (and thus, was likely wrong on some points). Most of those who call themselves “Calvinists” these days, however, seem to walk in an arrogant pride that is totally unlike John Calvin’s own demeanor. Such insistence that they alone have the sum total of all “truth” implies that they believe that they are themselves omniscient, which demonstrates their ignorance and folly quite well. Calvin had enough sense to know that he was human and fallible. These pseudo-Calvinist nuts who hide behind his name have no such concept, it seems at times.

        Many of these Pharisees have not even read the man’s actual works, but only those of other alleged “Calvinists” who have similarly not properly studies Calvin’s works. Those that have read them, have obviously interpreted Calvin’s writings through the “lens” of that false nutty understanding of the man and his doctrines. So in short, I have labeled these guys “pseudo-Calvinists” because they bear little resemblance to the character and true humility of John Calvin.

        When you add to the facts above the Pharisaical behavior of many, and the outright lies and distortions they convey regarding the theological positions of others (e.g. Finney, but I have been victimized by that myself, as have most others who don’t fit into their bizarre doctrinal mold); and include the fact that many cannot even quote Scripture to make their points (instead relying on theological terminologies and various “heretic” labels, falsely applied in many cases); and you realize that most within this pseudo-Calvinistic camp worship their DOCTRINE and not the God of the Bible (e.g. their T.U.L.I.P. five-point thesis, which was NOT taught by Calvin, and which is absurd as a “summary” of the man’s thousands of pages of theological writings); then you will likely come to the same conclusion that I have in many cases: That pseudo-Calvinists are often unregenerate (were never born again) and are too Pharisaical to realize that they need to get saved (just like the Pharisees that Jesus often confronted within the Gospel accounts). They are to busy playing with “TULIPs” to read their Bibles and get saved, much less to examine the weaknesses of their own doctrines.

        So in short: I just love John Calvin, but have a real problem with the arrogant and bitter pseudo-Calvinists that masquerade behind that godly man’s name as something that they surely are NOT. (And it would appear from your comment above that you have a similar point of view yourself.)

        I do not agree with Calvin on many points, and can provide strong biblical proofs that he was demonstrably wrong on several points. And he was even somewhat hypocritical at times, though I don’t think he realized it. His position on the absolute submission to earthly sovereigns being one such case…which was hypocritical because he was a reformer who lived in exile because Calvin was NOT in submission to his king’s demands (plus that doctrine’s conflict with many passage of Scripture; after all, most of the heroes of the Bible were in rebellion against their governments, e.g. Moses, the prophets, the apostles, etc.).

        Anyway, that’s my “two cents” on the matter. 😉 Thanks for popping by, Mike, and giving me your take on that controversy.

        Always in Jesus,

        -Rich

  4. Let me also make another quick point: Luther was a great theologian most of his saved life; but towards the end became a bitter anti-Semite. Hitler even used some of Luther’s later writings to justify his murder of Jewish people. So we need to be honest about ALL the great theologians: Luther and Finney included. None of them should be read with blinders on, but rather, with honest Berean attitudes:

    Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. (Acts 17:11-12, NIV)

    We need to always search our Bibles to analyze all teaching, and never take anything as being “scriptural” simply because of the person the teaching came through.

    As a minister, I always push people toward their Bibles and admonish them to love God’s word more than any preacher (and that includes even me). 😉

    That is the safest way to avoid being led astray, should a particular minister ever get off the right path later on (like Luther did, and as other preachers I know about have). It is the lazy and slothful believers, who do not spend time in the Bibles, who find themselves so easily following error simply because they hold men’s persons in too much respect.

    Well, that’s my two “extra” cents on the topic today. 🙂

    Always in Jesus,

    -Rich

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