Why Some of Our Writings
It’s Easy to be Fooled
It is not our practice to use the comments and statments of secular personalities. Yet, while the following quote was not necessarily directed at Christians by the author, we find it too important to ignore. It addresses a problem which has plagued the Christian Church since its beginning. Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), better known by his pen name as Mark Twain, was a popular sectarian author and intellectual - and was known by some as "the Father of American literature." According to historical records, Twain was associated with the Presbyterian denomination, but held certain views that opposed organized religion. He was known for his ability to simplify some of life's more complex problems into a single focused statement. We cite this particular quotation because it exposes "an ever present danger" that actually parallels some of Christ's teachings from Scripture.
Since its birth in the first century, one of the biggest problems confronting those who follow the Christian faith – is discovering the real truth about salvation provided by the Lord Jesus Christ, while dealing with the confusion caused by religious counterfeits. It’s a problem because there are many good people who claim to teach different versions of what they call ‘Biblical truth’. The correct path is often presented as membership in a particular church or denomination – promoted as a family tradition by a close relative. Also, some are influenced through an over-zealous friend or even a popular preacher who quotes the Bible and seems to understand the will and purposes of God. Yet, many times our quest for truth is simply the result of our own inward yearnings, which place us on the frustrating path of trying to learn things on our own. Whatever the situation, we must immediately make a difficult and important decision. When dealing with issues that carry such important eternal consequences; who do we listen to? Do we believe a family member or a close personal friend who quotes the Bible? Do we listen to a seminary-trained minister who seems to possess superior knowledge – but might be teaching one of the many erroneous systems of theology?
One of the goals of the Rock of Offence ministry is to allow Scripture to interpret itself and avoid the seductive path of “pleasing people at the cost of displeasing God”. Contrary to the beliefs of some (on both the Catholic and Protestant sides of the isle), the Holy Scriptures are the only source of official spiritual truth about how God operates – and not a particular church, denomination or minister. If Scripture (understood and interpreted literally and in context) is minimized, allegorized or set aside as God’s official standard for truth – then His will and intentions can be redefined into almost anything. Yet, the Bible warns that God refuses to honor these man-made brands of Christian theology (Mark 7:6-7).
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is called “the rock of offence”, which is why we chose the same term to describe this ministry. The reason is simple: The preaching of the cross offends (and even angers) many religious people who choose to believe things that contradict its Grace-based message. Through reading and studying Scripture, we discover that those who choose a “false religious path” tend to be the most offended at the unmerited “free gift of eternal life” Jesus came to provide. Even worse, many of these same offended individuals and their leaders insist that they represent authentic Christianity. But, the New Testament exposes them as ‘Christians in name only’ ... and Jesus calls them, ‘wolves in sheep clothing’. If the reader happens to be in this popular group, offense is unavoidable. Yet, in this particular case, we feel that no apology is necessary because of the eternal consequences. According to the New Testament Scriptures, offense and the authentic Gospel of Christ go “hand-in-hand”.
From Heaven’s perspective,
the following issue is the most
After the cross, God only accepts ‘His way through Christ’ and rejects all other ways, regardless of the godly behavior and intentions of the individual. This is why the focus of our ministry is on “the new and living way of Christ” (Hebrews 10:19-23), which provides God’s free gift of eternal life, apart from good works and personal merit - to all who simply call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (as stated in Romans 10:8-13, Romans 6:23, Romans 4:4-8, Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5-7).
During a great dinner at the
house of Levi, Jesus was
criticised by certain
religious leaders for eating
and associating with sinners.
Jesus responded by saying...
"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Matthew 9:12-13)
One pastor expressed these
truths in the following way;
There will be many bad people in
heaven who were simply saved
by calling upon the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ in faith...
according to Romans 10:8-13.
There will be many good people in
hell who tried to achieve their
salvation through one of the popular
religious paths that ‘seemed right’
but was rejected by God.
When confronting the falsely religious
people of His day, Jesus gave this
"There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God." (Luke 13:28-29)
We should understand that the
ones Jesus said would be
“thrust out” were generally
good people who claimed to love
God. Yet, they were fooled
into choosing 'the way that
seemed right'...but was actually
'the way of spiritual death.'
The Danger of being Fooled
Both our Lord Jesus Christ and Saint Paul (who wrote nearly half of the New Testament Scriptures) issued warnings that are often ignored because of their uncomfortable and divisive implications. Jesus said;
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matthew 24:24-27)
Several years later Paul warned
the Corinthian Church;
"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. 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!" (2 Corinthians 11:3-4 Emphasis Added)
In Matthew chapter 24, Jesus is speaking 'prophetically' to people living during the yet future Tribulation period – which occurs shortly before His physical Second Coming to earth. We know this to be true because of His previous words in verse 21; “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”. And then, in verses 27 and 29, Jesus describes His Second Coming as an event that takes place “immediately after the tribulation of those days.” It is not our goal to discuss the details and events of the end times. But, for the purpose of this commentary it’s important to notice that Jesus was specifically warning about the appearance of “false Christ’s”.
Jesus was referring to individuals acting as imposters. Yet, another version of this deception also appeared shortly after the birth of the Christian Church in the first century. It operates as a false perception of Christ – and produces a corrupt or reprobate form of religious faith that God ultimately rejects. More information concerning this subject is available HERE.
Paul warned both the Corinthian and Galatian congregations about this problem by calling it; ‘another Jesus and a different gospel’ (see Galatians 1:6-8). These warnings all involve 'a counterfeit Christ', which is a 'close copy or imitation' (similar to counterfeit money) designed to be nearly indistinguishable from the original. As a result, these spiritual counterfeits, if received and accepted, directly influence a person’s 'faith in Christ' – and the authenticity of their salvation. It means that both a true and a false 'faith in Christ' exist within Christendom, which is why Paul gave this warning;
"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified." (2 Corinthians 13:5)
The command given by Paul in this Scripture contradicts the popular assumption that everyone who calls themselves ‘Christian’ and claims to have ‘faith in Christ’ possesses authentic salvation. The Grace of Christ provided at the cross makes it simple to receive God’s free gift of eternal life. But, many Christians are taught by their church to redefine (or completely reject) the unmerited type of Grace recorded in the New Testament. As a result, they attempt to obtain salvation the Old Testament way – by trying to achieve it through religious behavior, righteous works and personal merit. Some Bible scholars refer to it as “meritorious or conditional salvation”. Tragically, this popular teaching produces a religious performance-based faith that God does not honor after the crucifixion of His Son. Various surveys reveal that a vast majority of Christendom embraces this incorrect way of believing the Bible. Yet, whether anyone is an authentic “born-again Christian” - or not - depends on whether they have the kind of faith that God accepts. As a result, Paul’s instruction to “test ourselves” produces a divisive kind of discernment and Godly contention that offends (and often angers) falsely religious people who consider themselves to be ‘devoted Bible-believers’. This dangerous yet common deception exists because their church or denomination taught them to believe and interpret the Bible incorrectly. Paul refers to it as a failure to “rightly divide the Word” in 2 Timothy 2:15 – and often causes its followers to choose “the way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
The Rock of Offence ministry utilizes Paul’s “examination principles” in many of its various commentaries and Bible studies, which explains the offensive nature of these writings.
Bible Believers Who Believe
the Bible the Wrong way
During one of his last sermons, an
old itinerant preacher made the
"During my lifetime I was invited to speak in many different churches and discovered a disturbing truth; A majority of good Christian folks believe things about the Bible that just aren't so..."
After observing modern church life and studying the Scriptures, I've found that this old preacher's words are even more true today. Many irreconcilable disagreements exist among professing Christians that will never be resolved until Jesus returns to set things straight. By then, it will be too late to change - and some of the spiritual consequences are unthinkable. Many of these irreconcilable issues involve the subject of eternal life and how it is obtained and kept.
Jesus paid the price for salvation (eternal life), which allows God to give it as an unmerited gift after the cross. This incredible Divine offer is correctly referred to as GRACE or;
God's - Riches - At - Christ's - Expense
Our Heavenly Father designed His salvation to be easily received and understood. But, there is a popular mainstream theology, which began in the first century that seeks to undermine and redefine this truth. It is widely accepted as "fundamental Christian doctrine" and embraced by many churches and denominations. Yet, according to the New Testament writings of Saint Paul, it’s a false (counterfeit) form of Christianity that God rejects.
Rather than trying to address
this complex subject here, a
separate Bible study is
provided below, which
contains far more information.
What Happens When Bible Beleivers...
Believe the Bible the Wrong Way
Billy Graham Warns About
'The Church Within
The following comments involves
an important truth all Christian
believers should learn;
Just because a church or movement
carries the label "Christian" and
claims to believe and teach the Bible
does not mean that they represent
Christ or our Heavenly Father.
Years ago, well-known evangelist Billy
Graham told the following story that
summarizes this truth;
I have a friend who was called to be the pastor of a rather large church. When I asked him how he liked his new responsibility, he replied, “I haven’t found the church yet. And if I don’t find it within a year, I am going to leave.”
Almost every minister will agree that there is a church within the church - that group of people, OFTEN A MINORITY, in almost every congregation who have personally met the living Christ and can never be the same again. The word church comes from a Greek word, ecclesia. This is from a verb meaning “to call out.” The church is composed of all those true believers from Pentecost onward who are united together in Christ. The Bible teaches that we are the Body of Christ, of which He is the Head (Ephesians 1:22-23). As such, the true church is a holy temple for the habitation of God through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22).
Therefore, within the vast complexities, bureaucracies, organizations and institutions of Christendom there exists the true Body of Christ. The members of this true Body are, for the most part, known only to God. They are the ones who have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27). They are scattered in all denominations, AND MANY ARE IN NO DENOMINATION AT ALL. They are the “called-out” ones. It is this church within the church against which Christ promised the gates of hell would never prevail (Matthew 16:18).
Quoted from BGEA Decision Magazine's
Article; "Billy Graham’s Challenge for
a Floundering Church". Complete article
is available HERE
Fair Use Disclaimer
Due to the non-profit research and educational
nature of the Rock of Offence website, we qualify
under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of the “fair use”
clause for copyrighted materials. For this reason,
any copyrighted work on this website is provided
under the “fair use” provision without profit or
payment for non-profit research, educational and
discussion purposes only.
Providing this information should not necessarily be
interpreted as complete agreement with the theology,
eschatology or political views of the Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association. It should also be understood
that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association may not
necessarily agree with all the teachings found on
Rock of Offence is an evangelistic internet ministry with a bias toward Christian apologetics which may offend some readers. Jesus taught that many who seek God's salvation are actually traveling through “the wide gate that leads to destruction”. Using modern terminology; these well-meaning and loving individuals teach the Scriptures, call themselves “Bible-believers" – and claim to have authentic faith in Christ. But tragically, the Jesus they believe in is what the New Testament calls “another Jesus and his different gospel”. It’s a popular religious path. It illegally mixes New Testament Grace with Old Testament Law - and refuses to acknowledge that the cross of Christ through the New Covenant radically changed all the Old Testament rules that previously governed salvation (Romans 8:2-4). Saint Paul calls this popular way of believing the Bible - a failure to "rightly divide" God's Word (2 Timothy 2:15). This failure produces a deceptive counterfeit evangelistic message that teaches a conditional salvation, which can only be received (and kept) through both faith in Christ PLUS obedience to the commandments found in Old Testament Law. There are approximately 613 commandments – and what’s known as “the Ten Commandments” are only a small part of the whole Law. Yet, if you desire to be saved under this kind of theology – you must keep all the commandments perfectly. James warned about this problem when he said;
"For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10)
Paul reinforces the words of James by saying;
"For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith..." (Galatians 3:10-12 - Emphasis Added)
This popular “faith in Christ plus works” evangelistic message teaches a merit-based (conditional) salvation that sounds good until you discover that it's impossible to have any assurance that heaven is your home. Why? You can't know if your level of obedience is enough to satisfy God's requirements to be saved. This lack of assurance forces us to keep working and laboring to be saved – without ever knowing we've successfully met God's conditions. The New Testament refers to it as religious bondage empowered by "the curse of the law". It is part of the Old Testament religious program that operated before the cross. It is not God's will for His children to live under this kind of torment.
"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Galatians 3:13-14)
"For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the Law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us (or imputed to us) who do not walk according to the flesh (or trying to earn salvation through works or religious merit) but according to the Spirit (or our faith in the finished work of Christ that does not require our works)." (Romans 8:2-4 – Emphasis and Comments Added)
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (1 John 5:13-15 - Emphasis Added)
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:8-13)
Scripture teaches that obedience to God is vitally important for the Christian believer. Yet, after the sacrificial death of Jesus at the cross, our Heavenly Father now forbids the use of the popular Old Testament rules (Saint Paul called it "the law of sin and death"), where behavior and obedience - involving righteous works, religious service and godly conduct – become additional requirements to be saved. Unfortunately, this counterfeit faith in Christ, often called "meritorious salvation", dominates both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism (and most everything in-between). Godly obedience and behavior should certainly be practiced by the Christian believer for the right reasons. However, God forbids these attributes to be used as pre-conditions to obtain and keep eternal life (salvation). Issues of godly character and Christ-like conduct only come into play after we receive eternal life, which God calls His unmerited gift given through “a faith without works” (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23, Romans 4:4-8, Titus 3:5-7). If obeying - or making a commitment to obey certain Biblical commandments is a requirement to be saved, then His gift is not really a gift and becomes nonsensical.
Many who believe in and preach “another Jesus” tend to attack God’s free and unmerited gift by calling it the sugar-coated gospel, easy believism and “greasy grace”. Red flags should go up when we hear these common phrases in a sermon. On his daily radio program, one angry pastor claimed that those who preach salvation as God's free and unmerited gift - are members of "the Grace cult" and suggested they were "of the devil". For these reasons, our commentaries and studies attempt to expose this popular yet dangerous theology, which has dominated Christendom since its birth in Acts chapter 2. It nearly destroyed the Galatian Church and motivated Saint Paul, who wrote nearly half of the New Testament canon, to both refute and publicly condemn its teachings for the remainder of his life.
We have decided to follow Paul’s
Keeping these things in mind,
we hope the information found
on this site will be beneficial
to your relationship with
the Lord Jesus Christ.
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