Do you believe once a Christian is saved, such a Christian is saved forever?
Grace itself is a scriptural message. But we are beginning to see extreme imbalance of grace teaching.
Can grace be extreme?
The teaching of it can be. And that is by overstretching scriptures and saying scriptures says what it does not. That’s why the scripture talks about us not doing violence to the word of God. We can do violence to the word of God.
Even Satan himself quoted scriptures to Jesus to let you know Satan can deal with the scriptures. He quoted the scriptures he used to talk to Jesus. God is a God of grace and the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of grace.
But like every other thing in the scripture, teachings on grace must be balanced. The devil can come and push a thing to imbalance and cause a lot of troubles for the body and that is the problem we are having now concerning this hyper grace, extreme grace teaching.
The grace that reduces your conscious of holiness is unbiblical and unscriptural. Titus 2 : 11 says “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men teaching us….” The real grace of God is a teacher and it teaches something to us that deny godliness.
Anybody who teaches grace but does not teach it to deny ungodliness is not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Any kind of grace teacher or grace teaching that makes you feel careless about living godly and makes you feel this issue of holiness and Christian living is too hard is not from God. Real graces teaches us to live holy and soberly.
The proponents of extreme grace teaching are worried Christianity is becoming a legalistic religion that expects people to conform to certain stereotypes. What is your take on this?
You see you cannot throw away the baby with the dirty birth water. Jesus was against the Pharisees and the Sadducees yet His messages were not watered down. The fact that some people are putting the children of God to bondage of legalism does not mean you should be preaching this strange grace type of messages.
Teaching on extreme grace is swinging the body of Christ to the other side of the pendulum. And both extreme are bondages. We are talking of balanced, wholesome, sound doctrine and this strange wind of weird grace that is coming in is not balanced doctrine.
What would be the balanced doctrine?
The balanced doctrine simply is yes we are not saved by works but there is a work you must put into your life after you are saved. We are saved by grace by putting our faith in the finished works of Christ.
But when you receive that, the Bible says work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Examine yourself whether you are in the faith. You cannot throw caution to the wind and think that is true Christianity. You see as a disciple, the word disciple comes from discipline; it took a while before Christians were called Christians and they were just basically called disciples- that mean discipline.
A disciple is a disciplined follower of Christ. That means the call mark of the follower of Christ was discipline. Now we say ‘come as you are with the way you are dressed. It doesn’t matter and all that’. Yea, when you first come to Christ, He’s not judging you based on the cloth you wear.
But as soon as you come you get saved. The salvation that will not affect your dressing is not true salvation. The Holy Spirit you received that will let you understand moderation is what the bible teaches. The bible says let your moderation be known unto all men, the Lord is at hand.
If the Holy Spirit does not bring that scripture to you, I wonder what you call the Holy Spirit. And so I have talked to quite a few ministers who have started pushing some of these doctrines and I have told them. I entered the full time doctrine in 1987 and I have seen some of these winds of doctrines come and go. Usually the people that push them, they don’t end up well.
And so, this is not a child’s play. These are the last days; the devil is entering the church and beginning to preach. The bible talks about doctrine of the devil. The bible teaches that in the last days, people will heap unto themselves teachers because they have itching ears.
They don’t want to endure sound doctrines anymore. It seems like this strange grace, hyper grace seems to probably, potentially pull in a lot of crowd in the house. But what kind of crowd? What kind of so- called bigness?
There are two kinds of bigness that can happen. It is not crowd at all cost that God is after. If you look at those who have elephantiasis, their legs are big too. That is not proper growth but swelling, disease- induced swelling. There is some bigness that is elephantiasis bigness in the body of Christ. It is not healthy bigness and so we ministers must resist the trapping of success that big size congregation produces.
What is leading to big size? Is it the sound doctrines of the word of God? Are these the disciples multiplying? The Bible says the number of disciples multiplied greatly. So we need to very careful. This hyper grace doctrine will not produce disciples.
When there is a major shaking, they will fall away and as ministers Jesus warn us if any little one falls away, we are in troubles. Romans11:22 saysbehold therefore, the goodness and severity of God… That is balanced teaching.
A balanced teacher refers to the goodness and severity of God. If you teach only the severity of God, you will put the people of God in bondage. If you preach only the goodness of God, you will put the people of God into bondage. You must focus on both at the same time.
If you know Jesus only as the lamb, you get into errors. If you know Him only as a lion, you will get into errors. So, you must know Him both as a lamb and a lion. This is mature, balanced Christianity. I know striking a balanced can be challenging. You need to depend on the Holy Spirit because the devil will always want you to swing the body into one of the extremes.
It’s like the terminal of a battery. There’s the positive and negative. When you connect both, the engine kicks to life and moves. If you connect only one, say for example, the positive, it won’t go. If you remove the positive and put the negative, it won’t work. You must combine both for the engine to move.
So, you preach and teach the severity and goodness of God to produce strong Christians.
You spoke about the trapping of big churches. Is that to say you don’t buy the idea of mega churches?
I buy the idea of mega churches because there is nothing that can stop the body of Christ from getting huge and growing more. Isaiah 9 says of the increase of His kingdom and His government, there shall be no end. So, it’s going to increase and increase. That also mean you find out certain local congregation will also increase and increase.
It’s part of revival but at the same time, there is some increase you can get without the Holy Spirit being involved. If a pastor is a strong willed type A choleric kind of person, who can step on anybody to achieve success and have money at his disposal, he can gather crowd.
A human being may not even be called and yet gather tens of thousands of people with money, especially in developing world. So we have to be very careful to know what growth is. Is it the Holy Spirit engineered growth? Is He the one gathering these people or its just massive gathering and finances pumped into the system?
So what would you tell extreme grace preachers?
My message to them is I want you to pull back a little bit and search your conscience. Ask yourself ‘why am I preaching this’?‘Why won’t I listen and subject this teaching to other people who are very mature in faith’?
Jesus said wide is the road that leads to destruction. Broad is the way that lead to destruction and many are the people going there. But then narrow is the road that leads to life and very few are going there. Genuine Christianity is not as popular as we’ve made it to look.
Christianity is not a popular faith?
It’s not a populist like we want everyone to come. If you check Acts of Apostle, the Lord gave them favour but those that were not serious did not join them because they did not preach a message that watered down the gospel.
They taught message of the standard of Christianity. The saints that are gone in heaven, I’m sure they look down at us on earth and hear some messages. They wonder what we are preaching. They will be saying, ‘this is not what we left’.
The bible says we must not remove the ancient landmarks. I don’t believe in legalism at all and I don’t live a legalistic life. At the same time, the name of our church is Grace Family International Church. So nobody can tell me I don’t believe in grace.
But the grace of the bible we are talking about believes in holiness, purity and sanctification. I believe that without holiness no one man will see God. I believe the need to perfect holiness is the fear of the Lord.
The message of the church is not a populist message because it’s confrontational. It comes against sin, worldliness and ungodliness. We are swimming against the currents. The tide of this world is a tide of perversion, looseness, gratifying the flesh and indiscipline all in the name of sophistication, westernization and modernisation.
But you cannot modernise the message. You cannot tamper with the message. There’s a curse Jesus placed on anyone that tampers with the message of the Bible as it is. You cannot review the message. You can use different methods but the message remains the same.