Dear Dr. John Ankerberg:
Greetings in Jesus' name.
Before I proceed with the main purpose of this letter, let me commend you for numerous fine shows in the past during which you exposed many dangerous teachings -- Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, Catholicism, The New Age Movement, Masonry, etc. Certainly, many have been blessed and helped by them. Again, thank you for doing these fine shows.
This letter primarily comes as a result of your June 1995 News Magazine (Vol. 2, No. 6). You devoted the entire issue to the subject of sexual behavior, emphasizing the immoral aspects of sex outside of marriage.
You gave many shocking statistics regarding sexual immorality in the days in which we live. Two such statistics are:"According to American Health magazine, by age 19, 75 percent of unmarried women have had or are having sexual intercourse. The sexual proclivity of men would indicate at least a similar percentage for them.
Perhaps it is not surprising then that the Center for Family Life Education declares that 50 percent of the population contracts a sexually transmitted disease by the time they are 24 years of age. Every day, 35,000 to 40,000 Americans acquire a sexually transmitted disease."(1)
The Skull and Crossbones Winners Are Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John WeldonPerhaps the most disturbing part of your News Magazine is the following quote you cited from a book co-authored by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler where they refer to the Barna Research Group:"The [study] participants are youth who are intensely involved in church activity (Sunday school, worship, youth group, Bible study) .... Yet ... the survey reveals that our youth are living on the moral edge, closer to disaster than we ever imagined .... Large proportions of our youth -- a majority of whom say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ -- are involved in inappropriate, immoral, even illegal behavior .... The data show that young people from good Christian homes are succumbing to the pressures of our society. By the time they reach the age of 18, over half (55 percent) have engaged in fondling breasts, genitals, and/or sexual intercourse.These results illustrate that even Christian young people from committed Christian homes are adopting the world's view of morality and sexuality. While the study did clearly prove that Christian faith and values make a significant difference in sexual behavior, it also revealed that perception of what is "morally acceptable" is what allows young people to engage in a given behavior -- whether they are Christian or non-Christian. Further, it was found that the behavior of Christian youth is more influenced by their view of what is true than by whether or not they are born-again. Apparently then, there are large numbers of Christian young people who have experienced spiritual rebirth but who have never been intellectually trained in and convinced of the truth of Christian moral views. Thus, "Born-again youth [who do not accept absolute truth] are two times as likely to consider premarital sex a moral activity. In other words, your child's morality will be positively affected by a born-again experience, but even more so by the development of strong convictions regarding morality .... This applies not only to the area of sexual involvement; it is true across the board, in every area of behavior and belief" (emphasis his).(2)Then on page 4 of your News Magazine, you quoted Eph. 5:3 which says:"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because they are improper for God's holy people."It is unfortunate that you stopped before citing verses 5-7:"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person -- such a man is an idolater -- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them."These verses clarify the extreme danger connected with these types of sins. Also, on page 4 you wrote:" ... Christians will not be judged eternally for their sins. The penalty for all their sins was fully paid for by Jesus Christ at the cross (Eph. 1:7; Col. 2:13). But Christians may still lose rewards in heaven. Indeed, we can only wonder what some Christians will feel like and experience on that day when they lose those heavenly rewards because of the spiritually numbing and other consequences of fornication or adultery while on earth? It will certainly be an infinitely poor exchange -- losing eternal rewards in heaven for a few fleeting moments of sexual pleasure on earth" (bold emphasis ours).By writing this, you reveal that you are an eternal security proponent. Moreover, you nullify the word of God by this particular doctrine that you embrace! I say this, especially with Rev. 21:8 in mind. This verse, spoken after the infinite, atoning work of Christ on the cross, could not be more clear or relevant for it mentions the sexually immoral, the very subject of your article. God, seated on His throne, said:"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."Please note the consequences of being sexually immoral will, most definitely, far exceed the loss of Heavenly rewards. God Himself said such will end up in the lake of fire! This could not be more clear. Furthermore, there are several other verses which corroborate with Rev. 21:8. They are 1 Cor. 6:9,10, Gal. 5:19-21 and Jude 7. Please note, these verses include anyone who does these sinful acts, even if they were once saved. By teaching that a person who becomes a Christian and afterwards becomes sexually immoral will still go to Heaven, you change the grace of God into a license for immorality, the very thing a specialized ministry like yours claims to "contend" against (Jude 3,4)! To put this issue in question form, does true grace allow the sexually immoral in Heaven? The answer is a crystal-clear "No," according to the aforementioned Biblical references. In contrast to Scripture, the doctrine you embrace also known as "once saved, always saved" (or unconditional eternal security) declares the opposite! There is an infinite difference between just losing one's rewards and going to the lake of fire! Many people who were once saved will, without much hesitation, yield to sexual sin at the expense of some heavenly reward; but the same person might not if he knew he was jeopardizing his salvation, as Scripture teaches! Though you deny this possibility -- even strongly oppose it -- the Lord Himself also clearly taught this. Jesus declared the Prodigal, when sexually immoral with the prostitutes, was both dead [spiritually] and lost. This is found in Lk. 15:24:"For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."See also verse 32. The word again in these two verses clearly shows the Prodigal's spiritual condition went from alive to dead and lost [when sexually immoral] to alive again after he repented! Please note that Jesus taught that such a person could repent [turn from evil] and get saved again! See also Rom. 11:22,23.
While the darkened world in which we live would advocate "safe sex" with anyone through the use of condoms, a form of this same godless philosophy has crept into the church by way of unconditional eternal security! As one would interpret your article, it becomes apparent that there exists a "safe sex" for everyone who was ever saved, that is, "safe" for they will not go to Hell for their immorality, but just suffer to some infinitely lesser degree in Heaven because they lost some rewards. Certainly, this doctrinal distortion taught under the banner of grace has deceived multitudes and has been the cause of sending millions to Hell. By embracing such, you are partly responsible for this deadly deception. The truth is: All sexual activity outside of a legitimate marriage in God's sight will send one to Hell (Matt. 5:28,29; 5:32; 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:15 cf. Rev. 21:8), even if there was once true regeneration. There must be repentance for such, if forgiveness is to be found, as the Lord Jesus taught in the case of the Prodigal Son.
Furthermore, in Mk. 7:20-23 the Lord mentioned sexual immorality, among other things, "make[s] a man 'unclean'" and according to Rev. 21:8, unsaved. This is another way of saying "rejected" and applies to all -- even those formerly cleansed by the blood of Christ. James told us how it all occurs:"But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (1:14,15).Paul similarly wrote:"For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live" (Rom 8:13)."Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life" (Gal. 6:7,8).In a different work of yours, you co-authored a book with Dr. John Weldon entitled, Protestants & Catholics: Do They Now Agree? On page 99 you contrast Catholicism with the Bible. Unfortunately, you present the following as the Biblical teaching on reconciliation:"All sins are forgiven at the point of salvation: past, present and future because Christ's death satisfied all God's wrath against sin."It seems that you get this faulty interpretation primarily from Eph. 1:7 and Col. 2:13. Certainly, neither of these verses can include all future sins a Christian would commit, for 1 Jn. 1:9 is clear in stating the condition of confessing them [to God] to be forgiven and purified. Repentance is also understood based upon Prov. 28:13. Furthermore, Jesus taught we must also forgive others who sin against us or our sins after salvation won't be forgiven (Mt. 6:14,15). Clearly, Jesus was speaking about Christians forgiving others to get their sins forgiven, for only a Christian has the Heavenly Father as their father! See also Mt. 18:35.
In contrast to these verses, you have adopted a position regarding the Christian's sins that neglects to mention confession of that sin to God, repentance or forgiving others who sin against us, yet forgiveness is always assured and even before these sins are actually committed! Again, your understanding of the believer's security is flawed and thereby adversely affects your understanding of these passages and many others that aren't mentioned here.
One final comment regarding your News Magazine. On page 15 you wrote:"Dating a person who is not a committed Christian is usually not that different from dating a non-Christian."In writing this, you apparently have adopted the "carnal Christian" view as taught by Charles Stanley, Zane Hodges, Charles Ryrie, Tony Evans and others who embrace the extreme eternal security position. That view is that the behavior of a carnal Christian is indistinguishable from an unbeliever! This is not only antithetical to Scripture, but distorts the image of Christianity as a whole! 1 Jn. 3:10 could not be more clear in showing that one's present-tense behavior does reveal his spiritual condition:"This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."In addition to the passages already given, see also 1 Thess. 4:7,8; Jam. 2:14; Rom. 2:7-9; Titus 1:16a; Jn. 5:29; etc. The belief that a carnal Christian's behavior is indistinguishable from an unbeliever has been refuted in more detail in our booklet, The Gospel According To Charles Stanley. Regarding his teachings, Dr. Stanley has preached sound sermons that have blessed many. However, he is mixing spiritual poison in with his sermons when he proclaims his view of the believer's security. Therefore, the previously cited, fully-documented booklet was written out of the command to "contend" for the faith against those who have changed the grace of God into a "license for immorality" (Jude 3,4)! Unfortunately, I now have no choice but to indict you with the same charge after reading and rereading your aforementioned News Magazine!
- Sincerely And In Christ,
- Dan Corner
(1) News Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 6, June 1995 (The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute), p.2.
(2) Ibid., pp.1,2.
The True Plan of Salvation
The true plan of salvation is repentance towards God and faith in Christ Jesus (Acts 20:21). We prove our repentance by our deeds (Acts 26:20). The Lord Jesus taught the road to life is "hard" and only a "few" will find it (Mt. 7:13,14, NKJV). Many get saved, but afterwards fall away (Lk. 8:13; Jn. 6:66; 1 Tim. 1:19; etc.). In other words, after initial salvation we must endure to the "end" to enter the kingdom of God and escape the lake of fire (Mt. 10:22; Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:10,11). Eternal life comes to the repentant the moment such believe on Jesus for salvation (Jn. 3:16; 6:47; 1 Jn. 5:12,13), but there is another important aspect of eternal life that many are totally unware of in our day because of the false teaching of eternal security. According to true grace teaching, eternal life is also a HOPE (Titus 3:7), yet to be REAPED (Gal. 6:8,9) in the AGE TO COME (Mk. 10:30) for only the ones who PERSIST IN DOING GOOD (Rom. 2:7) and DO NOT GROW WEARY AND GIVE UP (Gal. 6:9).
If a saved person sows to please his sinful nature he'll die spiritually (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8,9). The prodigal is a clear example of this (Lk. 15:24,32). The end result of sin is spiritual death, so DO NOT BE DECEIVED (James 1:14-16). For more information regarding the believer's security, see The Believer's Conditional Security, our 801 page book, which is the most exhaustive and comprehensive refutation to eternal security ever written. It will not be refuted!
Because of the teaching of once saved always saved, grace has been taught as a license for immorality for so long, and without challenge, that when Scripture is quoted, such as 1 Cor. 6:9,10 or Rev. 21:8, it is disregarded, and the giver of God's Word is falsely accused of teaching legalism, bondage, works, etc. This reflects how truly dark are the days in which we live!
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