Archive for December, 2011

A False Gospel, by Charles Lawson

 A False Gospel

by Charles Lawson

 

“Let the subject be made distinct and plain that it is not possible to effect anything in our standing before God or in the gift of God to us through creature merit. Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins. Salvation, then, is partly of debt, that may be earned as wages. If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly of grace, received by man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus. It is wholly a free gift. Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy. And all this controversy is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him.” {FW 19.3}

One of the strong positions taken by those indoctrinated into the Pippenger material is the idea that certain doctrines they teach are necessary for salvation. Among them is the idea that one must accept the “Daily” in order to be saved in the last days, that those who don't belief in the 2520 time prophecy found on the Millerite charts, and accepting the 1843 and 1850 charts will be lost. 

It is helpful to us that Jeff Pippenger stands unmoved on the idea that you must believe in the "daily" as paganism or be lost, because it so clearly shows that this message is not in harmony with Ellen White's teaching on the subject. For a good look at what Ellen White taught about the controversy over the daily, read Steve Wohlberg's article on this site and Ty Gibson's Letter to Jeff Pippenger.

At a recent meeting that Jeff Pippenger held at a Baptist church in Newport, WA Jeff said the following: 

“If you do not hold on to these two charts, then you are not a partaker of Jesus Christ according to Paul.”

In Manuscript releases, page 70, Ellen White says:

I wish to impress upon you the fact that those who have Jesus abiding in the heart by faith have actually received the Holy SpiritEvery individual who receives Jesus as his personal Saviour just as surely receives the Holy Spirit to be his Counselor, Sanctifier, Guide, and Witness.

There is no qualifier here. When a person accepts Jesus as his Saviour he or she is "in-Christ." But Jeff is using mind control to force people to accept his teachings by claiming that you can't be a partaker of Jesus unless you accept the Millerite Charts! This statement should be cause enough to see that Jeff is teaching a false gospel. It is arrogant to claim that all Adventists will reject the Sabbath in the future if they don't ascribe to the 2520 time prophecy. We maintain that no such test has been given by Ellen White or the Bible. I'm sorry, but Jeff has no right or place to tell anyone that they don't have Jesus unless they have the charts! 

The claim is made that all who reject the 2520 have stepped off the platform of truth. If you are waiting for a train to come take you home and you step off the platform before it comes and don’t get back on, you won’t make it to your destination. In this way, Jeff again uses a form of mind control to force people to accept his wrong interpretation of the Bible.

Look at a very strong comment by Jeff Pippenger:

“To say that she doesn’t endorse the 2520 is to oppose her prophetic gift, but also you must reject the light that Gabriel revealed to Miller. Where did Gabriel get his understanding of prophecy from? Jesus Christ and God the Father! So now we must call into question the Father and the Son’s knowledge of prophecy. If Miller was wrong about the 2520, then Sister White is a false prophet, Gabriel is an angel from the bottomless pit, and God the Father and God the Son are false gods!”

Let’s look at what Jeff Pippenger is really saying here; if you don’t accept the 2520, you are saying Sister White is a false prophet, Gabriel is an angel from the bottomless pit, and God the Father and God the Son are false gods! These kinds of statements force people into an enslaved mindset. Much like members who belong to churches that teach if you don’t belong to their church you are lost. This builds a wall in a members mind, so that, no matter what evidence they see in God’s Word they will not accept it. If you want to control people’s minds build walls into their thinking.

The worst part about this kind of teaching is that people are taught that a mental ascent to a Bible teaching warrant salvation. The idea that one must believe a point of doctrine (other than what is revealed in God’s word about the gospel) in order to have salvation is a false gospel.

Most hard-line Pippenger followers are convinced a person must believe that the “daily” is paganism or they will be lost. If you say you must believe that the “daily” is paganism or be lost, it is equally true that in believing it you are saved! That is a false gospel. If what they teach on the “daily” is true you could say, “My belief in the “daily” will save me!" Will it?

Paul warned about this in his epistles:

2 Corinthians 11: 3,4

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

Galatians 1:6-9

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Paul is so emphatic about what he just said, he repeats himself twice. Let him be accursed. The word accursed in the Greek is Anathema. Here is the definition:

"a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if an animal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction a) a curse b) a man accursed, devoted to the direst of woes."

Paul says he fears lest the serpent (Satan) will corrupt our minds from the simplicity in Jesus Christ. He says if someone is trying to trouble you by perverting the Gospel of Christ, or the simplicity of the Gospel in Jesus, let them be doomed to destruction—strong words from the apostle.

Yet we quoted Jeff Pippenger as saying that those who do not hang on to the Millerite charts we are not in Christ.

What was apostle Paul's own testimony regarding the message he preached to the lost? 2 Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” That doesn’t mean Paul taught that the law of God was of little importance, for it is in the death of Jesus that the law is lifted up. If sin is the transgression of the law and where there is no law, there is no sin, then Jesus need not have died to redeem us from the curse of the law, which is death. If you uplift Jesus on the cross, you lift up and magnify the law.

But what does the Bible a man must do to have salvation?

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Jesus is here speaking with a Jew who understood that the 10 commandments were binding. To believe on Jesus is to accept Him as Lord and Master and follow His teachings found in the Word of God.

When Paul was in prison and an earthquake broke down the walls, the jailer was about to kill himself, when Paul told him everyone was still there. In the crisis of the moment, seeing this miracle and being convinced of Paul’s connection with God he said:

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.”

What about the thief on the cross? What did he have to ascent to before he could be saved? He said, “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Based on the repentant sinners plea, Jesus said He would be saved.

Note this clear message in Galatians 11:8-11

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”  (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Here are some additional texts that show what the true gospel is:

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord.

John 3:14-18 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned…

In the parable of the shepherd and the wolves Jesus illustrates this same point. Jesus is the only door into the fold. Those wolves who do not go in by the gate are thieves and robbers.

John 10:7-10 7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

Those who have entered the fold a different way (and teach others they must enter the fold a different way) other than through the merits and blood of Jesus are thieves and robbers.

Acts 4:11-12  11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Will those who don’t accept the 2520 or the “daily” be ashamed? This idea of shame comes from the judgment where we will be without the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Revelation 3:18 talks about the message to Laodicea and says, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…” Clearly this is talking about Christ’s robe of righteousness. That is what we must accept so we are not ashamed in the end.

Is there any basis found in the Bible, where ones salvation is based upon giving mental ascent to an obscure point on doctrine? Salvation comes through the merits of Jesus Christ alone. Anyone can come to him by faith, repent of his sins, accept Jesus as Lord and be saved. Daily he must make the same decision, but as long as one abides in Christ, he can have the assurance of salvation. Sadly, however, those caught up in this message look at their fellow members as lost who do not accept the 2520 time prophecy or the "daily" as paganism! Even though every day they yeild their lives to Jesus and have made Jesus the Lord of their lives. 

Note this powerful statement:

The law and the gospel are so blended that the truth cannot be presented as it is in Jesus, without blending these subjects in perfect agreement. The law is the gospel of Christ veiled; the gospel of Jesus is nothing more or less than the law defined, showing its far-reaching principles. Ellen White Materials 1888 p. 674

Salvation, then, is found in repentance and acceptance of the merits of Jesus for our sins (breaking His law) and reliying upon His power to fulfill the royal law of liberty in our lives. It is a strange thing to then insert into the equation of salvation the statement that we cannot be in Christ if we don't hold on to the 1843 and 1850 prophecy charts, or that we don't accept the "daily" as paganism. This postion is immediately exposed for what it is, another gospel, "believe this and you will be saved." How is hanging on to the Millerite charts fulfilling the divine law?

On a broader basis though, the Pippenger movement has missed the real meaning of what Christianity looks like and what is important to God, namely the golden rule, the principle of doing for others what we would want them to do for us. Bound up with the golden rule is the idea that, “if you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”

Note what Ellen White says will determine if we stand or fall in the judgment:

“When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and suffering!”

“Christ's rule of life, by which every one must stand or fall in the judgment, is, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”  In Heavenly Places, p. 255

You may be thinking, what about love to God? Ellen White answers the question: “Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God.” DA 641  That is why we stand or fall in the judgment based on what we did for our fellow men. This is the real test in the judgment we must all pass.  

The salvational nature of Christianity is really quite simple. We sinned, our natures fell, we could no longer keep God’s law, self took over and we needed a power outside humanity to help restore us back to obedience and redemption through Christ from the wages of sin, which is death. The great controversy between good and evil can be summed up in this brief concept.

How do these statements sound to you in light of the truth about the gospel of Jesus Christ: 1) Believe on the ten commandments and you shall be saved? 2) Believe in the state of the dead and you will be saved 3) Believe that the “daily” is paganism and you will be saved! That is not what the Bible teaches regarding salvation and the gospel. It is clear that anytime something other than the merits of the blood of Christ and His righteousness is the basis of salvation, it is a false gospel.

It makes one wonder if people who teach and believe you must accept the “daily” as paganism understand salvation and the true gospel. Note the following statement by Ellen White on meriting salvation by anything in man:

“If you would gather together everything that is good and holy and noble and lovely in man (including what he believes), and then present the subject to the angels of God as acting a part in the salvation of the human soul or in merit, the proposition would be rejected as treason. 1888 816   The Ellen White Materials

To say, “you must believe my understanding of Daniel 12 or be lost” is the same as offering up human merit to be saved. Believing in the correct view of the “daily” in no way contributes to your salvation. What is critical to salvation? Jesus said it well, “If you love me keep my commandments.” When you consider that the two great principles of which the ten commandments hang are defined by love, it is easy to see why Jesus asks us to keep them. It’s like saying, “if you love me, you will really love me!” Or another way of looking at it would be to say, “if you love me, love me with all your heart, body, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.” Of course we love Him for what He did for us on Calvary and we keep His commandments by the power of that love working in the soul. That is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jeff Pippenger claims that understanding the experience of the great disappointment is the message for this hour—present truth that we need to be saved. Listen to what Ellen White says is the message for this hour:

“The theme that attracts the heart of the sinner is Christ, and Him crucified. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus stands revealed to the world in unparalleled love. Present Him thus to the hungering multitudes, and the light of His love will win men from darkness to light, from transgression to obedience and true holiness. Beholding Jesus upon the cross of Calvary arouses the conscience to the heinous character of sin as nothing else can do.

Will not our church members keep their eyes fixed on a crucified and risen Saviour, in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered? This is our message, our argument, our doctrine, our warning to the impenitent, our encouragement for the sorrowing, the hope for every believer. If we can awaken an interest in men's minds that will cause them to fix their eyes on Christ, we may step aside, and ask them only to continue to fix their eyes upon the Lamb of God. . . . He whose eyes are fixed on Jesus will leave all. He will die to selfishness. He will believe in all the Word of God, which is so gloriously and wonderfully exalted in Christ.  Maranatha 99

To anyone who has spent a great deal of time listening to the many hours of lectures by Jeff Pippenger, or studied his material, we ask, is the focus of his message the cross and beauty of Jesus Christ? The law exemplified in the life through the power of Christ’s love? What information are you required to accept in order to be saved? Because of this, ask the top leaders in the movement, “What must I do to be saved,” and you are likely to get a long extended answer. Why, because if the gospel message is true, we don’t need to accept their tests of faith to be saved and the force of their position is taken away.

If you took the ending of each of his DVD series and listen to the conclusion of the matter, you will see that Jeff definitely teaches that if you don’t believe what he is saying you will be lost.

We repeat, if you are required to believe anything other than in Jesus Christ for the merits of salvation, it is a false gospel message.

There is definitely a spirit of independence in the movement, an unwillingness to be counseled by the brethren, a posture towards the church that is accusing and the idea that only those who embrace this message are really God’s people. And herein are the elements that will lead down a path of separation from God’s true church.

We end with a quote:

"You will take passages in the Testimonies that speak of the close of probation, of the shaking among God's people, and you will talk of a coming out from this people of a purer, holier people that will arise. Now all this pleases the enemy…Should many accept the views you advance, and talk and act upon them, we would see on eof the greatest fanatical excitements that has ever been witnessed among Seventh-day Adventists. This is what Satan wants." 1SM 179 (1890)

We, like the Apostle Paul reject any message, whether from an Angel or Jeff Pippenger that is a different gospel that that the disciples preached and Jesus taught through His word. Red flags should be going off in people's heads when they hear they must believe this or that to be saved unless they have forgotten the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We must say of those caught up in the Pippenger movement, that they are wanting to be ready for Jesus to come, they want to be more committed in their relationship with God and putting away of sin in their lives. But this does not change the fact that truth is mixed with error, rendering it more likely to be taken unawares and still as deadly. 

December 07 2011 | The Jeff Pippenger Movement | Comments Off

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