95. Beware those who preach love, but who love lawlessness!
Hot on the heels of the New Age encroachment came the infiltrating false prophets of 'love', who used to regularly turn up in Calvary Baptist Church from their dens around Canton, in Cardiff, preaching 'God is love' and concentrating on a favourite text (Romans 3:8 :'Love one another; for he who loves his fellow-man has fulfilled the law', which they used to explain away their lawlessness! These were applied in the Wheelhouse way - devoid of justice and truth! No wonder the spirit of false love reared its ugly head in this meeting. Perhaps churches in Cardiff remember one of their ring-leaders, Frank Lister, who claimed to have been a pilot, Mathematics teacher, and Bible translator in Africa! He would secretly distribute David 'Moses' Berg ('Children of God', 'flirty fishing', 'hookers for Jesus') tracts while trying to infiltrate churches and Christian homes, and would openly brag about the pastors who befriended him and gave him a roof over his head - perhaps they had never read (2 John 1:9-11):
9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
We interviewed Frank for some hours, during which time he was utterly contradictory, particularly when Zoë insisted he tell her 'in whose authority he had come.' He insisted that 'his government sent him' and that 'he used to believe what Christians believe - but had now 'matured beyond that!' 'Gnostics' have always been both in the church and lurking outside striving to deceive believers with their false maturity which they try and present as higher spirituality.
Those who put 'love' in opposition to law reject the objective law of God in favour of their own subjective impressions which they present as correct moral behaviour. Having no absolute morals they prove by their actions that 'love' can condone virtually any sin. Instead of fulfilling the law, they unashamedly break it and mimic the blatant immorality of such Antinomians as David 'Moses' Berg and his 'Family of Love,' claiming that 'God's only law is love,' and therefore 'I don't have to keep the Ten Commandments! All Is have to do is love and do whatever I do in love.' Those who are led by demons, as Berg was, finish up banging their heads against brick-walls, as demonically inspired Wheelhouse did in his study (see the testimony of Bonnie Jones!)
It is clear that there is law in the life of grace just as there was grace in the giving of the law. The law is so much a part of the Christian life that the apostle John insisted that those who do not keep God's law have no reason to suppose that they are Christians at all (1 John 2v3-7):
3. And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.
Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones also addressed the issue in this way: 'If the "grace" you have received does not help you to keep the law, you have not received grace' (Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (1959), Vol.1, p.197. Inter-Varsity Fellowship).
It is no surprise to read that God's law was even written on the hearts of those who had not received it on 'tablets of stone' (Romans 2:14):
14. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.
Adam and Eve suffered the consequences of breaking the law, as did Cain, because that Law was written on the hearts of all men, as just proved, and re-iterated powerfully in the time of Moses in order to define and condemn sin (Romans 4:1-14):
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: 7 "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. 8 "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT." 9 Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, "FAITH WAS RECKONED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." 10 How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. 13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified.
So when Wheelhouse preached 'the 10 commandments', on the 15th November, 1998, was his intention 'to make heirs'? How many times was faith even mentioned? I've recorded it - both times (see Page ff.):
1. 'Not laying again the foundation of repentance, have faith in God, instruction about baptism, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment.'
2. 'A community activity! A witnessing of the faith together!.......HYMN!'
And who are we to have faith in? The cross of Calvary and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ is not mentioned once. So who is the one in whom we put our faith! This is Wimberism - evangelism without an evangel!
Roman Catholics, and many sects and cults who are also taking their members to 'hell in a handcart', would agree with these quotes. It is the unique offer of the Lord Jesus Christ that separates orthodoxy form heterodoxy and which separates true believers from ecumenism and every other deceiving 'ism.'
Romans 4 continues from verse 15: 'for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation.' So contrary to Wheelhouse's assertion, if we don't mention the Law how can the unsaved know that there is something to be saved from?! The Law won't knock them down as he says because they have nothing to violate! Verse 16 re-emphasises this:
16 For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all …'Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned 13 for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law (Romans 5: 12)
John actually describes sin as 'lawlessness' or 'the transgression of the law' (I John 3:4). To be saved from sin clearly means to be saved from transgressing the law - and thus we must have been enabled to keep it. The Ten Commandments were clearly and obviously applied to God's redeemed people (Exodus 20:1-17). Antinomians have tried to argue that, with the advent of the New Covenant, those commandments must have lapsed, but this is patently untrue for the Lord Jesus Christ declared their perpetual validity (Matthew 5:17-18):
'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfil them. For I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished'
How can we miss this serious warning against the Antinomian position when Jesus warned and commanded those who practice and teach the law:
'Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 5:19).
Most Christians will know that Christ rid the commandments of the misinterpretations of the Pharisees and did not say 'unless your righteousness surpasses that of Moses' but 'that of the Pharisees' (Matthew 5:20). Christ showed the essential spirituality of the law and how it is concerned primarily with men's motives, and not merely with their actions. So when God declared, 'You shall not murder,' He also included the source of such sin - unrighteous anger. Again, His clarification of, 'You shall not commit adultery,' made it clear to humanity that the command also demanded the rejection of lustful thoughts that precede adultery! Why did Christ make the commandments harder when He was bringing in the gospel of utter grace, we may ask? Clearly so that the realisation that no man can be justified in the sight of God by his own 'good' works comes home to every sinner - no matter how 'good' he thinks himself to be. Without the law these things would not be exposed - no law, no grace!
Romans 6:14 is a verse that declares that Christians are 'not under law but under grace' - but the apostle means that Christians are not required to keep the Law in order to obtain justification. Since it is spiritually impossible to justify ourselves by works, we must be justified by grace through faith alone. If any obedience of our own rendered to the law could justify, then Christ died in vain (Galatians 2:21). The Law cannot justify, but the fault does not lie in the Law, which is holy, but in man's sin (Romans 7:7-14). Galatians 3:13 asserts that 'Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law'. This has been interpreted by the Wheelhouse's of the world to mean that the Law can do nothing but curse - or 'make us worse!' But here again, Paul is dealing with justification. The Law only pronounces a curse on those who are misguided enough to seek justification by their own 'good' works, and those under conviction of sin may view the Law as a cruel tyrant and taskmaster threatening eternal punishment for failure to do the impossible. However, the converted man should see the curse as a blessing in disguise, for it is the teacher which drove him to the Christ who bore that curse for him! Again, this does not make the Law wrong or bad (who in their right mind would dare to suggest that God's Holy Law is anything but perfect!); it is from the curse of the Law that we are redeemed, not from the Law itself. When Romans 7: 14 says that we died to the Law, it obviously does not mean that the Law died, but that we died to the Law while the Law is very much alive - the change that occurs is not in the Law but in us. Now we have been raised with Christ to new life we should now love the same Law which once we 'hated'! True conversion melts a man's heart to love God's eternal Law so that he now seeks to obey it with every fibre of his being - unless he is truly infected with Antinomianism.
God's promise in the new covenant was to put His Law in the mind and write it on the heart (Jeremiah 31:33), which is why Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians:
'You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts' (2 Corinthians. 3:3).
Antinomians claim, either directly or by inference, that if we have 'love' we do not need any external law to guide us. J. I. Packer wrote: 'Law is needed as love's eyes; love is needed as law's heartbeat. Law without love is Pharisaism; love without law is Antinomianism.' It is no surprise that the congregation affected by Antinomianism should voice the deception through the mouth of members such as Ruth Nelmes who put 'love' of error in front of love of God's Word which frames His Law that all might be saved. The Apostle Paul made this clear:
'He who loves his fellow-man has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery', 'Do not murder', 'Do not steal', 'Do not covet', and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbour as yourself ' (Romans 13: 8-10).
How did some members of Calvary Baptist Church fail to recognise this fact: love is essentially obedience to the law. The Apostle John also wrote in the same vein:
'This is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands' (2 John 6).
The fall of Wheelhouse came on a night when feelings ran amok, but Scripture makes it clear that it is not feelings that count but loving action. Martin Luther said this verse described 'the gospel in a nutshell':
'God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son' (John 3:16)
How do we show our love? By our actions as explicitly prescribed by God's holy law, in the words of the apostle Paul:
'Carry each other's burdens, 'and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ' (Galatians. 6:2).
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said: 'If you love me, you will obey what I command' (John 14:15).
John Wesley wrote, 'Keep close to the law if thou wilt keep close to Christ' and the words are reiterated by Dr Lloyd-Jones, 'Holiness is not an experience you have; holiness is keeping the law of God.'
In his Epistle to the Galatians, Paul asks what purpose was served by the giving of the law, and then answers the question the spirit asks: 'It was added because of transgressions' (Galatians 3:19). This means that one purpose that God had in giving the law - it was certainly not His only purpose - was to keep sin in bounds. This is certainly not the view put about by such as Roger Wheelhouse, who isn't much bothered if people hear that they are 'Sinners In the Hands of An Angry God' (the title of a famous Jonathan Edwards sermon) in case they 'feel ten times worse.' Unfortunately Roger's own behaviour towards others, putting his own ego trip before the opportunity to present the true gospel to non-believers, shows that even those who denigrate the Law are ready to use their own standards to judge others, even declaring a member of his flock to be 'the most evil man I've ever met.'
The Word of God clearly affirms that the law is primarily positive and can be summarised as love to God and to man, but the Ten Commandments contain negative elements which were clearly intended to restrain immoral and criminal behaviour (sin!), something we need to do, as much as ever in human history, in today's lawless society which is not going to look to a wimpish church for guidance. Men are still commanded not to worship false gods, not to kill, not to steal, not to commit adultery, and simply not to do anything else that makes life on earth a problem for our neighbour. So God still comes first, our neighbour second, and self last! The promulgation of clear black and white laws certainly has a deterrent effect, as every government knows - accept the British Government perhaps!
96. Beware failure to present the Law which teaches sinners to recognise their need for grace
People may ask why Wheelhouse would preach 'keeping the commandments' to be a disciple of Christ if he was an Antinomian? Others, such as Roy James (see earlier text) have already put the reason as 'confusion' to excuse this state, but the evidence of his behaviour towards others speaks of deliberate self-seeking heretical acts. The Apostle Paul answered this thoroughly in the first part of the Epistle to the Romans, a passage used by Luther in his reply to Agricola ('Against the Antinomians', 1539). The Apostle makes it clear that one function of the law is to reveal sin: 'Through the law we become conscious of sin' (Romans 3:20), and he adds later in the Epistle, 'I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, 'Do not covet'' (Romans 7:7). How well this speaks of the current deceptions running amok in our churches today. It is not just the Alpha Course that is bringing people into the church as supposed born again Christians when research shows that they cannot even spell out the basics of the faith. 'Easy Believism' is rife in the church and revered men who have been put up on pedestals, such as Dr R.T. Kendall, have much to answer for because of their teachings.
It is the law alone that exposes sin for what it is. Ignorance of the law therefore spells ignorance of sin - no wonder the Wheelhouse's of the world treat people in a worldly manner. Ignorance of sin spells damnation, for salvation is salvation from sin and who can experience salvation from that of which they are ignorant? Unfortunately men like Chuck Colson and John Wimber have (or had) renewed Antinomianism in gospels they introduced which omit the mention of sin. Apparently sinners can now be saved by signs and wonders and ecumenism. These verses are sufficient to silence Antinomian complaints regarding the use of the law in evangelism, and contradictions such as those brought to South Wales by Wheelhouse.
The law does more than simply expose sin, for it throws it into greater relief as Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: 'the law was added so that the trespass might increase' (Romans 5:20) - the very opposite of Roger Wheelhouse's contention! Man begins to see how offensive sin is - 'that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful' (Romans 7:13). IF it makes you feel 'possibly ten times worse' it is because it was meant to!
All this leads to a conviction that the sinner is guilty before God: 'Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God' (Romans 3:19).
It is clear that it was the giving of the law that enabled God to impute to man the guilt of sin: 'For before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law' (Romans 5: 13). Once the law was given, guilt came, and with guilt came wrath, as planned by God:
'The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness' (Romans 1:18).
People who try and hide their guilt are clearly warned, for it is the law that calls forth God's wrath:
'Because the law brings wrath; and where there is no law there is no transgression' (Romans 4:15).
The case for preaching the law to man is absolutely complete. Notice that Wheelhouse did not even fall back on this as a vindication of his baptismal service message, but insisted that the law 'leaves us in our sin.' It doesn't - it points to the need of a Perfect Saviour - the Lord Jesus Christ and is therefore exactly the Teacher that Paul wrote of in Galatians 3:24: 'Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.'
The great gospel preachers of the Protestant era laid down the law as the foundation on which to build the gospel. They argued from these Scriptures that men needed to feel the enormity of their sin before they would feel constrained to seek relief for that sin in the gospel. But they didn't attack the law or denigrate it in any way. How this differs from the 'easy believism' of so much of the 'Alpha Course' and contemporary evangelism generally. If there is anyone who has trustingly accepted everything they learnt at an 'Alpha Course', or a similar evangelical outreach, I would advise them to carefully check that they have really accepted the Lord Jesus Christ alone as Saviour and are not putting their trust in any sacraments, good works, baptism or a 'co-savior', or 'Mediatrix', such as Mary, mother of Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 9:12-13) made it clear that:
'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance' It is the sick, not the healthy who go to the doctor.'
It is 'sinners', not the 'righteous', who come to Christ for spiritual healing, but how can they know they need him without the law as a Teacher? J. C. Ryle wrote, 'The beginning of the way to heaven is to feel that we are on the way to hell'. This conviction of sin comes through the law and the law demands absolute perfection:
'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind . . . And love your neighbour as yourself (Matt. 22:37,39).
This seeking after perfection in every thought, word and deed, every second of our lives drove the apostle Paul and men like Martin Luther to the cross and Christ! They recognised that the slightest deviation at any point disqualifies us from God's heaven, so we are all doomed to failure before we ever begin. It was the recognition of what the law meant that drove Paul to cry out in abject despair: 'What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?' (Romans 7.24).
It all comes down to man's basic problem of sin! Who can remove the burden and guilt of sin, or make amends for even one sin, let alone the countless thousands and millions we all commit on earth? The Apostle John defines sin as 'lawlessness' (1 John 3:4), for it is God's law that constitutes the yardstick of judgment and means that Antinomians are wrong from the start. This makes it essential to introduce a statement on the nature of sin to those whom you witness to under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Incorrect views of sin radically affect a man's theology, especially his view of such vital matters as evangelism, repentance and sanctification - as witnessed by the ministry of Roger Wheelhouse, the flabby Alpha Course embraced by so many denominations today, and the inability to confront sinners with their sin as exhibited by so many presenting the 'social gospel' instead of the genuine biblical gospel, such as the Assemblies of God in Australasia.
The Bible is clear that man is born with an inbuilt bias to sin, as David declared: 'I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me' (Psalm 51:5). David did not blame his adultery with Bathsheba on others, or on society in general, but blamed himself. Scripture repeatedly affirms this diagnosis of sin as in-born, and the psalmist is unequivocal: 'Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies' (Psalms 58:3), and Jeremiah concurs: 'The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure' (Jeremiah I7:9). The apostle Paul was inspired to write that 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23) and the Lord Jesus Christ made this devastating analysis of the human condition in response to the Pharisaical tenet that failure to wash properly before meals was at the seat of the problem:
'What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. For from within, out of men hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean' (Mk. 7:20-23).
There is an increasing tendency to misunderstand the words of the Apostle Paul:
'Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes' (Romans 10:4).
This does not mean that Christ has brought our relationship to the law to an end, but that Christ is the perfection of the law who, as the sinless God-man, embodies in His person the righteousness which the law requires of man and the law therefore leads to Him as its 'end'. The significance of God's law is that it makes the mind aware of sin: 'through the law we become conscious of sin' (Romans 3:20). Again, contrary to the views of Wheelhouse, no law means no knowledge of sin: no knowledge of sin means no repentance: no repentance means no salvation!
How does the law bring knowledge of sin, and how does an attack on law affect a church in which a lawless leader runs amok? Law brings knowledge of sin by revealing the truth about God - His glory, His greatness, His holiness and His justice - as well as His love, His mercy and His kindness. If a church allows any leader to preach an unbalanced gospel, preaching 'love' while ignoring teaching on deception (as Calvary Baptist Church allowed for years prior to Wheelhouse's introduction to its pulpit), sinners remain unaware of the potential for deception. How many churches today hear that sin leads to eternity in Hell and not an escape clause reprieve of annihilation as taught by un-Scriptural leaders, such as Roger Forster. I have heard the doctrine of Hell mentioned just three times in Christian meetings in my many years as a born again believer - and once was in a mocking fashion by Kevin Dare! This results in an unbalanced emphasis on 'love' at the expense of truth and justice. The claims witnessed by Wheelhouse's supporters and recorded in this text are clear: anyone who opposes the 'pastors' teaching is 'unloving and ungracious!' Is it any wonder that the Holy Spirit conveyed the words highlighted in Section 37 to the church. The light of God's Word reveals His perfect attributes which brings knowledge of sin as man is made aware of his own corruption. Paul's letter to the church at Corinth revealed how their deep repentance had affected their hearts:
'Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done' (2 Corinthians. 7:10-11).
This is the difference brought by godly sorrow and Wheelhouse's claim that: 'if the law doesn't make you ten times worse - I don't know what does, because it brings death … law reveals the sin - and that's what makes us feel worse. But, because it doesn't save, it leaves us in our sins.' It is 'worldly sorrow' that 'brings death' and no one could accuse our God of bringing a law that was worldly! God's ways are so much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9: 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts') and His 'foolishness' so far above our wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25: 'Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men'), yet we are careering towards another tower of Babel in our attempts to make ourselves like God (Isaiah 14:14) - the sin of Satan! Today's 'law' is weak, vacillating, and polluted by the mind of man with his vain philosophies and false religions that seek the glorification of man and his achievements rather than the glorification of God our Creator.