Thursday, August 22, 2019

Is it too late for Josh Harris? - Bryan Fischer

In the article below, Bryan Fischer revisits the standard denunciation of apostates in the classical Eternal Security doctrine, as people who never had genuine salvation to begin with.  He pointed out that teaching that Christians who are currently on fire for the LORD might indeed not be genuinely converted and might sometime in the future be shown for who they "truly are", is likely to promote more of "eternal insecurity" in people than the "eternal security" it purports to promote! Josh Harris who recently categorically denounced his faith in the Lord Jesus is the reference point here.

August 15, 2019

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Josh Harris of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" has quite publicly and unreservedly renounced his faith. "I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus," he writes on Instagram. "The popular phrase for this is 'deconstruction,' the biblical phrase is 'falling away.' By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian." (Emphasis added.)

This naturally raises questions in the mind of every sincere Christian observer. Was he ever a true Christian? If he was, how could he so flatly repudiate his faith? And where does all this leave him with regard to his eternal destiny?

There will be those reading this who are firmly in the "once-saved, always-saved" camp, which believes it is impossible to forfeit one's salvation. Someone may look like a genuine believer for a long time, but if he ever falls away, it will simply demonstrate he was never a Christian to begin with.

I grew up with this view, and believed it until I finished my training in the biblical languages at Dallas Theological Seminary, which paradoxically still stands firmly in the always-saved camp. I still have many friends, including pastors, who believe the always-saved view, and I have no interest in starting a quarrel with them or anyone else. I respect them, and my disagreement with them on this issue is not personal but biblical.

There is a flaw in the always-saved view that I'm not sure its advocates recognize. They look at the always-saved view as a matter of eternal security. But, if people can look like the real thing for decades and then be exposed as inauthentic, how can any of us know for sure we're not one of them, and just haven't lived long enough for our inauthenticity to be revealed? The traditional view might actually create eternal insecurity.

Their explanation for Josh Harris is that he was never truly converted in the first place. It might have looked that way while he was writing his book on dating, it might have looked that way while he was successfully pastoring congregations (and fooling them the whole time), but his faith was counterfeit.

For myself, I see no reason to doubt the authenticity of Harris' Christian faith. He seems to fit the profile found in Hebrews of those who were genuinely converted, who genuinely walked with Christ for a long time, and who then got pulled away from Christ by the world, the flesh, and the devil. This is a very precarious place to be, if the writer of Hebrews is to be believed.

"It is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, to restore them again to repentance" (Hebrews 6:4-6).

In 10:32, "enlightened" refers to salvation, "tasted" refers to a genuine experience of something, as Christ "taste[d] death for everyone" in 2:9, and "restore...again to repentance" means they once were repentant.

How does someone get to where Josh Harris is today after beginning as he did? The writer warns us that we must be careful to pay close attention to the Word, "lest we drift away from it" (Hebrews 2:3). It's not deliberate at first, just an almost imperceptible drift from the shore. But if we do not become aware of the drift, and right the boat, we can soon find ourselves carried by the tides a long way from home.

Eventually the "drift" becomes willful and defiant. We will not find our way to shore even when we still can. "If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of fire that will consume the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27).

God has given us the precious gift of free will, and does not revoke that gift when we come to faith in him. Our free will can be used to continue to trust in God for our salvation and everything else, or it can be used to turn our back on him and the salvation we once knew. The choice is ours.

Some believe the tailgate is up on the back of the pickup, others believe it is down. Either way, the point is to ride as close to the cab as we can.

What does all this mean for Josh Harris? He may, without even being fully aware of it, have put himself at risk of eternal separation from God. "It is a fearful thing," says Hebrews, "to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31.)

The apostle warned us that dangerous apostates would arise even from the leadership of the church. "I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock, and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30).

Is it too late for Josh Harris? It might be.

Let's pray that he has not in fact gone too far to be reeled back into shore. And let's pray that we ourselves will notice the slightest drift from God in our own lives and correct course immediately. The consequences of not doing so are too dreadful to contemplate.

© Bryan Fischer

VIDEO: Prophecy Update End-Time News Headlines (From Olive Tree Ministries)

VIDEO: Prophecy Update End-Time News Headlines

Enjoy this very short video that looks at current news headlines that tie to the Bible and to Bible prophecy. Access at the link below or above . . . . . 
View Short Video »

Friday, August 9, 2019


Very credibly, soberly put together, Busola Dakolo, wife of popular artiste and mother of three opened up on how Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, Senior Pastor at the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) on two occasions within one week forcefully had carnal knowledge of her while she was a teenage member of that church.  It would appear that Fatoyinbo and his circle of friends had dared Timi Dakolo and his wife to come out clear on non-specific cryptic allegations which Timi had been making on some social media.  The Dakolos took the challenge and what resulted was a two-hour interview with media personality Chude Jideonwo. The video has since gone viral on several platforms.

Initially, there was no response from Fatoyinbo or COZA, but surrogates fiercely shot down Mrs Dakolo using unprintable names.  This only heated the polity the more, with many sympathizers spontaneously arising to her defence.  The climax was a mass protest led by some media personalities to COZA demanding the matter be investigated.  At this juncture, Fatoyinbo announced that he had been advised by his mentors to step down for a while, possibly to let things cool down.

Meanwhile the heat was turned full blast on the Dakolos.  After an initial gestapo-style arrest by the Police was thwarted, the police came out frontally with a warrant inviting the couple to come answer charges of defamation against Fatoyinbo!  The invitation letter bore the full detailed address of the Dakolos and was made public.  The security implication was obvious and alarming.  At the same time, the Police  apparently ignored  the initial letter of complaint the Dakolos had officially filed against Fatoyinbo.  

More heat for the Dakolos as outspoken and nationally respected Femi Fani Kayode (even while disclosing that his wife attends COZA), poured bitter vitriols on Mrs Dakolo, denouncing her as “accuser of the brethren.”    At the same time, two notable members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) paid a solidarity visit to COZA, where they were quoted as saying: "We are in support of your pastor. We stand by him and this church … the gate of hell shall not prevail against this church."  

The national body of CAN had previously demonstrated considerable vacillation on the matter, first arguing that the issue, though condemnable if true, does not concern the CAN since COZA does not subscribe to CAN membership.  Later, CAN reasoned that since both the accused and the accuser are Christians, both are automatically members of the CAN and the matter will be investigated and settled  by CAN “as a family issue”.  However, following the public outrage that trailed the solidarity visit to COZA, the national body of CAN through one of her Directors, hurriedly dissociated itself from the visit and eventually concurred that an official police investigation would be the appropriate line of action.

Church Arise! considers it shameful and incredible that ordinarily reasonable people will summarily denounce a credible victim rather than support a call for an impartial investigation. Or at worst, a quiet private settlement of the matter.  

Truth of the matter is that CA! is not at all surprise at the allegation.  And we believe that were it not for the popular personalities involved, the matter would probably not have caught the attention of a public whose conscience has become deadened to the  myriads of incidents of sexual molestations now at an epidemic level in our society. 

Even with Mr Fatoyinbo, there were other allegations of rape, showing that the case with Busola Dakolo was not a one-off event.  But for us, the most revealing of the stories was that by the lady, simply known as Ese Walter, who insisted her extensive sexual affairs with Fatoyinbo were largely consensual acts between two adults.  She however clearly narrated how she was lured into the affair by Mr Fatoyinbo. Ese has since deleted her Blog. But a copy can be found here:
Our interest in this case, is to draw attention to a statement by the said Ese.  She said after getting through the initial shock of her respected Pastor luring her into sex and the affairs became regular, she at a point asked Fatoyinbo how he could be at peace with their relationship, while at the same time continuing to passionately preach against the very act.  In her actual words:
“At some point, I got really confused about what Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and I were doing that I had to ask how he handles it. I will never forget what he said to me. He said and I quote, “I will teach you a level of grace that you don’t understand.” 

Yes, it all boils down to “grace” or actually more accurately, hypergrace - a meaningless coinage that attempts to hype the already superlative concept of Grace!

On her blog, Ese recorded her response to this offer of more ‘indepth teaching:’
“My mind couldn’t fathom that somehow grace was enough covering for not just fornication on my path, adultery on his path and the many lies that was bound to follow what we were doing that was clearly abominable….. I had no intention of understanding a grace that would permit me to go on doing things that were wrong..” 

This indeed is the elephant in the room, which everybody is pretending not to see!  This whole case is all about the hypergrace doctrine of the Once-Saved-Always-Saved crowd.  The statement attributed to Fatoyinbo is indeed a standard cliché that has been repeated over and over by several hypergrace teachers in various climes. According to the standard teaching in hypergrace, catching the deeper meaning of grace supposedly enables one to commit any sin with impunity.  The movement insists (contrary to scriptures, e,g. 1 Jhn 5:16-17) that all sins are equal; and while for some their besetting sin might be gossip, or prayelessness for instance, for others, it might be a proclivity to sexually abuse minors and others under their trust.  And all the sins, no matter the category, have been pre-forgiven, so the sinner, provided he/she is sufficiently instructed in the message of “grace,” might as well continue in sin and watch grace abound to take care of the sin!

The critical fallacy of the grace-turned-lasciviousness hypergrace doctrine is that while the “magnitude” of sins might indeed not make any difference with the LORD, the “quality” of sin does.  Any sin, no matter how “trivial” that is deliberately committed by a Christian, is an affront to the Almighty, and is tantamount to “mocking God.”  Galatians 6:7 however assures that God’s goodness cannot be mocked, and people who persist in such type of sins might sooner or later find themselves in the very dangerous position that none can “renew them again unto repentance”  (Heb. 6:6). Anyone who cannot repent is done for and clearly hell-bound!

Our position in this write-up is that there are really two victims in this trending rape saga.  Pastor Fatoyinbo is as much a victim just as Busola is!  And the real villain, the teaching of hypergrace, quietly manages to keep itself out of the fray, waiting for the next set of victims.

This position is eloquently illustrated by the testimony of an old friend of Pastor Fatoyinbo. Fellow cult member with him at the University of Ilorin, Rev Dapo Daramola  is now a clergy as well as the Head of Media and Communications at the Methodist Church.  He gave a sober description of Fatoyinbo’s gradual descent from a fire-brand irreproachable lover of Christ to a man who could now be credibly accused of being a serial rapist.

Referring to himself and Fatoyinbo, Rev. Daramola quipped:
“Did we give our lives to Jesus genuinely? Yes, we did. Did we face challenges that tested our faith? Yes, we did. Was Abiodun Fatoyinbo starting a church because he wanted money? No, because the parents were well to do; in fact, his father till he died was a chieftain of the PDP and was even given an honour by our church. It wasn’t money. I have always been Orthodox in Christ. I know when he started; I know how many times we did 40 and 70 days of prayer and fasting. We were serious Christians. …We didn’t start up like bread and butter Christians. We knew that we were vulnerable to other fraternities who couldn’t do anything to us because they knew that we were Black Axe, but because we were now alone, there was no shield. …Black Axe was not going to fight on our behalf or defend us, so we, more or less, risked our lives to serve God. We knew where we were coming from.”

Hitting the nail on the head, Rev Daramola delved into an area no member of the Hypergrace family wants to hear:
“Can a man fall into temptation as he grows in faith? Yes! It’s very much possible…..For you to be a Christian, it means you must recognize that you have certain challenges which need to be deliberately worked upon. We take grace for granted, we misuse grace for liberty and for unending license to misbehave. It was self-indulging…..For me, it is self-indulgence, something that you know you ought to deal with but you refused to deal with it because you feel that grace will be sufficient”

He closed with an advice for his former friend:
“I believe God is using this process to talk to him on something and I think it’s beyond all of these things we are even looking at. I think if he does a proper soul-searching, he will come to terms with what it is”.

In our opinion, instead of arguing endlessly about whether Fatoyinbo raped then teenage girl Busola and others or not; he or any of the pastors in the hypergrace movement, should rather be challenged to come out to publicly denounce rapists as slaves of sin (John 8:34).  Would they publicly agree that people who having lost control of themselves are secretly indulging in actions they themselves are ashamed to own up to are children of darkness (Eph 5:11-12)?  And consequently are hell-bound except they repent (Eph. 5:5)?  

Of course, doing that will exactly throw the axe at the very root of their central defining doctrine!  This is precisely why CA! has devoted several regular editions and a special edition to alert the Body of Christ of this menace that is currently wrecking unimaginable havoc, corrupting our youths in particular. 

Denominational doctrines may indeed differ.  But all Christians ought to be able to agree on the answer to this simple and urgent question: Should a sexual predator be admonished to repent of his deed and seek help to prevent further acts?  Or should he be encouraged to continue in his “weakness” assured that even future episodes are already pre-forgiven him of God?  It is a sign of the end times that the Church cannot boldly ask such a straightforward question.  Nor dare address the open denunciation of repentance by many so-called men of God who preach that repenting from sin and confessing such is indeed the ultimate sin which should never be contemplated? Ouch!

One good thing that could come out of this sordid and sad story is the Church in Nigeria paying attention to the damning and destructive influence of the hypergrace doctrine and addressing it squarely once and for all.  Please see our detailed writeup on the Hypergrace doctrine here.