Have I feared the crowd or the contempt of the masses, so that I kept quiet and stayed indoors? (Job 31:34 NLT)

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Email from Jennifer About Her Aching Heart If All This Is True

Jennifer Email August 2, 2010

I must admit that I've been having some doubts about some of the writings of Paul myself. I heard someone talked about your work on a radio show. I was interested, so I did a search for your book "Jesus Words Only." I just read some of the comments on Amazon and I was quite engaged. I'm looking forward to reading your book.

I have one question that has been haunting me: Why in the world would Our Heavenly Father allow this massive deception for so long? What about the reformers? What about the people who have died in the faith prior to this knowledge being made available? Where do we go from here?

Why,why,why? I'm so grieved. My heart is aching.  Any light that you can share on these questions, would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

My Reply

Dear Jennifer:

You wonder why God did not allow us to know about this false stumbling-block in our path sooner. God tells us the answer.

First, Jesus warned of false prophets to come in His name. And they would "have signs and wonders" so that they could deceive even the elect. Matthew 7:15-23; 24:11,24; Mark 13:22-23. Paul expressly said his validity turned on "signs and wonders." (2 Cor. 12:12.) Thus, if we are surprised, it is not God's fault for He warned us beforehand. God even let Paul utter words that would allow our Lord's words hit precisely their mark. Our failure to listen is the age old problem of sin / inattention. The problem is not with God.

Second, Jesus said these false prophets with "signs and wonders" would be like a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and a "ravening wolf" who to come in His name but are workers of "anomia." (Matt. 7:15, ravening wolf 23 works anomia.)

This Greek word "anomia" meant either "lawlessness" (iniquity) or "negator of the Mosaic Law." (JWO: 2.) Jesus was talking about Paul -- thinly veiled.

In fact, Jesus's words in Matt. 7:15, 23 were calculated to recall Jacob's prophecy in Gen. 49:27 of the "ravening wolf" from the "tribe of Benjamin" who would begin as a murderer but end as a divider of the "spoils" -- divide those he previously murdered. (See JWO:331 et seq.)

The Benjamite Paul in his post-conversion period clearly taught the negation of all of the Mosaic law. (See JWO:71 et seq.) God gave the clear identification in Genesis to look for a "ravening wolf" from the Tribe of Benjamin, and Jesus said such a "ravening wolf" would be a "wolf in sheep's clothing" -- the Benjamite Ravening wolf of Gen. 49:27 - who would come in Jesus's name. God made it clear whom fulfilled this prophecy. Paul fulfilled the prophecy of being a worker of "anomia" -- negaor of the Law/Torah so that Paul's own words would unmistakeably identify Paul, the Benjamite, as the object of our Lord's warnings. Thus, the failure to see the identification is our own fault, not God's fault.

Third, God tells us in Deut. 13:1-5 that He allows false prophets to test whether we love God with our whole heart, mind and soul. Again, our failure to identify the false prophet points to the age-old problem of sin. It is not a problem with our Creator.

Fourth, at the beginning of the Reformation, two men led it - Luther and Carlstadt. It was Carlstadt who then wrote a book advising that we should understand different levels of inspiration in the NT just like the Jews accepted in the Original Testament. (On the fact the "Writings" in the OT was third-tier authority after the first tier "Law" and second tier "Prophets," see this knol.) Carlstadt insisted Paul was on a lower level of authority than Jesus. (See our webpage on this.)

However, Luther vehemently opposed this idea, and wrote a book attacking Carlstadt as "The New Judas." Luther engaged the civil authorities to drive Carlstadt from the movement (and Germany) and to persecute those who believed Jesus's words had a priority over Paul's words. See our webpage on these events.

Thus, there was a chance during the Reformation to retrieve the information about Jesus's Words Only that puts Jesus on a higher plane than Paul. This effort by Carlstadt led to violent persecuting behavior from 1521-1525 from Luther that destroyed the Jesus' Words Only revival in its infancy.

Regardless, reformers like Tyndale and Luther did in the end realize that their salvation doctrine was flawed because it only relied upon Paul. Beginning in 1530 both changed their emphasis back to Jesus. But because they had made such insistence on 'faith alone' previously based upon Paul, they more quietly tried to advance the doctrine of double justification to include Jesus's requirements of repentance and obedience. They reconciled the two contrary principles from Paul and Jesus by saying Jesus's principles came into play only when you were previously justified by faith alone. Thus faith alone was an initial justification and repentance/obedience was a secondary justification. Luther and Tyndale belatedly endorsed double justification to merge Paul and Jesus's doctrines on salvation. A clever semantic device. See JWOS Preface at this webpage.

Unfortunately, due in part to the obscure manner in which Luther sought to reform the faith, after these two died double justification which they belatedly advanced was then formally reversed in 1580. The new catechisms said faith alone was the exclusive means of salvation in Lutheran lands for both the unbeliever and believer. See Preface to Jesus Words on Salvation.

Yet, this episode proves that even the reformers knew about what I am saying. However, they had done such a good job selling Paul that it became impossible for them to effectively sell what Jesus said when they realized their prior mistake. Again, the problem was cowardice in not boldly admitting their mistake -- the age old problem of sin. It is not God with whom the fault rests.

Finally, please do not be worried about Christians who obeyed Christ but simply thought Paul was edifying or even inspired. A great many Christians fit into this category. If they died in that state, they are saved. If they are living, and they learn the Master calls them to an undivided loyalty, and they properly respond, they are still saved. However, if they reject Jesus in favor of following Paul's different doctrine, and then disobey Christ on His commands, then they are lost. (It is particularly these people I am trying to reach.)

But if they died in the confused state most exist in now, it does not necessarily mean they are lost. Jesus taught in the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 that the heretic (i.e., the Samaritan -- who denied the Prophets were inspired, only accepting the Torah as inspired) was on the path to eternal life despite wrong beliefs while the Levite who accepted the Prophets as inspired was on the wrong path due to disobedience to God's will despite correct beliefs. (For further discussion, see Jesus' Words on Salvation at 120.) Hence, wrong belief on nonessentials is not necessarily fatal, while correct belief is not necessarily a guarantee of salvation either. Thus, you don't have to correct or worry about most Christians if you sense they still honor and obey Jesus's words as applicable today.

I pray this has given you some means of restoring your joy in Christ.  Jesus told us to be "of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." (John 16:33.) As long as we evangelize Jesus's message, we are obeying Christ's great commission, and thus doing all we were told to do to avoid lost souls.  If we have any anxiety over the past, we are told to cast our "cares on Christ for He cares for us." (1 Peter 5:7.) I pray the Lord gives you a renewed sense of Joy and many blessings.

Blessings in the Lord Yeshua,

Doug