|"Barnes and his Fellow-Prisoners Seeking Forgiveness", |
from an 1887 edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs,
illustrated by Kronheim.
This letter is in regard to the subject of "false conversions" in the church. Several have written on the topic and some consider "false conversions" to be part of an "Epidemic in the Modern Church." This letter approaches the concern from a slightly different angle and offers a reconciled conclusion. Quickly grab a pen and a piece of paper. Let us work through this together in Christ.
CONFESSION ONE: I believe that I have never encountered a "false convert."
Can you picture one of the "false converts" that you have met?
Does He or She have a name?
If He or She does have a name, please write it down.
Now, let us consider.
How do you know, for sure (without a shadow of a doubt), that this person was (or is) a "false convert?"
When were they converted? Were you there? Are you witness to their conversion?
What is their personal testimony of salvation?
What made (or makes) them "false" in your eyes?
Is there any hope remaining for them -or- are they doomed to be lost forever?
Please write down your answers to the above questions.
If you were able to answer ALL of the above questions, I would love to hear from you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, please drop me a note about your experience.
However, I do not expect to hear from many of you on this matter.
Because many believers don't know that much about each other.
However, before we go too far into our personal experiences, let us consider the following fact...
The term "false convert" does not appear in the Bible.
Selah (pause and think of this).
CONFESSION TWO: I believe that I have encountered all of the following in scripture.
I have encountered carnally-minded believers (1 Corinthians 3:1-4, Romans 8:6-7).
I have encountered believers who, for a moment (or many moments), have taken on the nature of the flesh (Galatians 5:1-26).
I have encountered believers (converts) who have fallen into sin (Galatians 6:1, Matthew 18:15-20).
I have encountered anti-Christ (unbelievers) - unconverted people - who do not believe that Jesus Christ has come "in the flesh" (1 John 4:1-21).
I have encountered certain ungodly men that believed not, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4-5).
I have encountered men with an unclean spirits (Mark 5:1-20).
I have encountered the unsaved delusional that believe a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).
I have encountered sons of God, who have walked in disobedience (Luke 15:11-32).
I have encountered disorderly believers (2 Thessalonians 3:11-15).
I have encountered believers of all four types of soil (Mark 4:1-41).
I have encountered the unprofitable servant - both the good kind (Luke 17:1-10) and the bad kind (Matthew 25:14-30).
I have encountered false prophets, ravening wolves who are recognized by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20).
I have encountered murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. (Jude 1:16)
I have encountered many of them! for they have gone in the way of Cain [envy and murder], and ran greedily after the error of Balaam [the love of money] for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core [rebellion against established authorities - insurrectionists] (Jude 1:11).
Yes, all of these cases exist (the carnally-minded, the sinful of the flesh, the anti-Christ, the unclean, the unsaved delusional, the disobedient sons, the disorderly, the four types of soil, the unprofitable servant, the false prophets, the murmurers, the judgmental, the murderers, the money hungry, and the insurrectionist). All of these cases are present in the Bible with solid scriptural understanding. Note that Biblical references are provided for each of the above.
But what about the "false-convert?"
Where is the Biblical example of the "false-convert" in the Bible before or after the cross of Jesus Christ? Who has falsely received the Holy Spirit of God? Who has falsely been changed into a new creation in Christ? Does God change people and then change them back? Or, is the new creation forever changed by God? (ref. 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Selah (pause and think of this).
Note: Some hold up Simon the Sorcerer as an example of a "false-convert" or even "the first false-convert" (Acts 8:9-25). Others explain that Simon was a believer in Christ that was caught up in sin and confronted directly about it - as should be. The ultimate outcome of Simon the Sorcerer is not revealed completely in scripture. Who but Christ Jesus can prove if Simon the Sorcerer was saved or lost forever?
THINK AGAIN: Where is the example of the "false convert" in scripture?
Where does the idea of "false conversion" originate?
Who coined the term?
Since it is not in scripture, where can one find the earliest use of this phrase?
Since the idea of "false conversion" doesn't appear in the word of God, what would lead me to think that the idea of "false conversion" is from the mind of Christ?
Selah (pause and think of this).
LET US CONSIDER...
What if the idea of "false conversion" it is a doctrine of man - a work of the flesh according to Galatians 5?
The idea of "false conversion" certainly has the traits and the fruit of the flesh - it implants doubt, it leaves no hope, it condemns, and it divides.
That kind of fruit is rotten to the core.
CONFESSION THREE: As a result of this study, I now believe that the entire idea of "false conversion" it is a doctrine of man - a work of the flesh according to Galatians 5.
I believe that the idea of the "false convert" is not a teaching of Christ Jesus.
The idea of the "false convert" judges and condemns.
Jesus didn't come to condemn the world (John 3:17, John 12:47). He came to save the world.
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
~ Jesus of Nazareth (John 3:17)
"And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world."
~ Jesus of Nazareth (John 12:47)
The idea of the "false convert" casts doubt, confuses, and removes hope.
Jesus is hope (1 Peter 1:3-6, Matthew 12:21). Faith is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). The Spirit of God is of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Jesus can't deny who He is. Jesus is full of faith, hope, power, love, and is of a completely sound mind.
The idea of the "false convert" casts doubt upon the power of God. It says things like: "You didn't do it right, so it wasn't done."
The idea of the "false convert" denies the Word of God. The idea places more faith in what it sees, than in what it can't see. It places more faith in the actions of man than in the faith of God. The idea of the "false convert" is contrary to the faith in Christ Jesus.
Additional references: 2 Corinthians 5:7, Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 10:9-13, Acts 16:31, Mark 16:16
CONFESSION FOUR: As a result of this study, I now believe that there is no such thing as a "false convert" in the body of Christ.
There is no legitimate (proven) example of a "false convert" in scripture.
There is no legitimate (proven) example of a "false convert" in practice.
The idea of the "false convert" it is a doctrine (an idea) of man that divides the body of Christ.
Jesus did not pray for His body to be divided.
"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
~ Jesus of Nazareth (John 17:20-23)
If a person is in the body of Christ, then the person is truly in the body - not "falsely" in the body.
CONFESSION FIVE: I do not expect this letter to be well received by everyone.
Because it is contrary to the traditional teachings of man.
The following are answers and exhortations in regard to foreseen objections...
It is true that Jesus (the Word) comes with a double-edged sword (ref. Matthew 10:34 and Hebrews 4:12). It is true that The Lord shall divide the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31–46). It is true that The Lord's angels shall separate the wheat from the tares (Matthew 13:24-30 explained in Matthew 13:36-43). It is true that not everyone that says unto Jesus, "Lord, Lord," shall enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).
Brothers and sisters in Christ: Let us consider our positions carefully. Let us ask ourselves often. "When did I become an angel of The Lord to separate?" "When did I become The Lord Himself to divide the sheep from the goats?" Let us be mindful of our positions - always. Jesus is the Lord!
"Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." (1 Corinthians 12:3)
Today, it is the Holy Spirit of God who abides in the believer that comforts and convicts (John 14:26, John 16:7-8).
It is the believer in Christ that plants and waters the good seed ... And God shall bring the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).
The Lord God is faithful!
Brothers and sisters in Christ: Make sure that your fruit is of The Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:1-26, Matthew 5-7).
"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
~ Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 7:20-27)
It is true that judgment should begin in the house of The Lord (1 Peter 4:17).
However, brothers and sisters in Christ: Beware of ministering, living, and preaching out of the flesh. The flesh profits nothing.
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:6)
Clear instructions are already given the body of Christ in regard to judgment and discipline.
REALITY OF AND PROTOCOL FOR HANDLING SIN - Including RUMORS and the SPREADING OF RUMORS ... GOSSIP and SLANDER ...
For example, exact instructions are given in the word of God for the handling and treatment of a disorderly believer.
"...we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly ... if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him AS A BROTHER." (2 Thessalonians 3:11-15 KJV)
This person, the disorderly, should be treated "AS A BROTHER."
LOVE AND PRAY IN CHRIST - FOR ALL
CONFESSION SIX: I believe that the idea of the "false convert" is a temptation that causes brothers to treat each other not as brothers and even less than neighbors.
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these... If ye love me, keep my commandments."
~ Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 12:30-31, John 14:15-31)
CONCLUSION: The idea of the "false convert" is error and it should be found in the mouths of the brethren.
"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, THESE THINGS OUGHT NOT SO TO BE. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." James 3:10-17 KJV
God bless you brothers and sisters in Christ.
Matthew Foutch (email@example.com)