TWISTING AND TURNING DONE HERE!
T. PIERCE BROWN
We may have seen a sign in front of a wrought iron shop that said, “All kinds of twisting and turning done here.” We have seen that happen when a false teacher tries to escape from a difficulty in which his false doctrine puts him. I recently had an experience with two kinds that I had not previously encountered, which may be of some value to you.
I was discussing the doctrine of the impossibility of apostasy with a preacher who thought that once a person was saved, he could never be lost. We looked at 1 Timothy 4:1-4, which starts like this, “But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron.” I asked, “What is the difference in the destiny or a man who is true to the faith, teaching the doctrine of Christ with a good conscience, and a man who departs from the faith and teaches the doctrine of demons?” He replied, “The last man will be saved, but will simply lose his reward.” When I enquired, “What reward?” His answer was, “Fellowship with God, peace and joy.” Can you imagine being in heaven forever, with no fellowship with God, no peace and no joy?
I discovered the same kind of argument with a premillenialist whose theory demands that the covenant God made with Abraham was unconditional. That is, God promised to Abraham and his seed the land forever. It makes no difference what they did or failed to do, the unconditional nature of the covenant means that the promised land always belongs to the Jews. Then he made the following interesting observation, “To safeguard thinking on this point, it should be observed that an unconditional covenant, which binds the one making the covenant to a certain course of action, may have blessings attached to the covenant that are conditioned upon the response of the recipient of the covenant— but these conditions do not change the unconditional character of the covenant.”
To a person unaccustomed to dealing in sophistry, that may sound sensible. Analyze its meaning and implications. A covenant is unconditional. However, you may not receive any of the blessings of it unless you meet certain conditions. What is the difference in that and a conditional covenant is rather difficult to perceive. What is the value of, or even the logic of, calling a covenant unconditional if any or all of the blessings are conditional? This kind of logic (?) leads him to this conclusion about the New Covenant. “The New Covenant must also be unconditional. Salvation is solely the work of God. Thus the covenant that guarantees salvation to the nationIsraelmust be apart from all human agency and therefore unconditional.” This is Calvinism gone to seed! He teaches that God not only saves us by His grace, without any conditions, but when he saves the nation ofIsrael, it will not be by converting them by the power of the gospel, but arbitrarily and without conditions! Almost all false doctrine not only contradicts the Bible, but also usually contradicts itself. We have brethren (?) who agree with that kind of doctrine!