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Have you ever wondered why Antinomians are on the rise? You say, “I’ve never even heard the word, much less wondered why they were on the rise.”
It might surprise you to know that Godly men like A.W. Tozer, Charles G. Finney, D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Menno Simons, George Whitefield and others were all quite familiar with not only what it is, but with it’s unusual effects on the Church of God.
SO WHAT’S IT MEAN?
‘Antinomian’ is pronounced [an-ta-nome´-ee-ann]. The word itself can be traced back to the Greek of the New Testament. It comes from putting two Greek words together: `anti (anti) and nomos (nomos). The first word “anti” taken by itself means, “over against or instead of”, and corresponds to our English word “anti”, which means “opposed to”.
The second half of the word ‘Antinomian’, which is the word “nomos”, means: (1) a law, rule, standard; (2) a rule of life or moral conduct. This is the same word that is translated “law” in “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”-KJV. Rom. 3:31. Consequently, when these two Greek words are combined, it gives the meaning: lawlessness; without, opposed to or against laws, standards, or rules of moral conduct.
IS ‘ANTINOMIAN’ A BIBLE WORD?
Yes, it most certainly is (in the Greek Language, that is). It can be found in the following form 25 times throughout the New Testament. This time it again comes from taking the Greek word “nomos”, but prefixing it with the negative particle “a” to give the Greek word “anomos”. The Greek word “nomos” was previously defined as: a law, rule, standard; a rule of life or moral conduct. When the negative article “a” is prefixed to it, the exact same meaning as our English word ‘Antinomian’ is derived. The Greek translation for this New Testament word is: lawlessness; the condition of being without law; having contempt for law.
It is usually translated (Strongs # 458, 459) using vague words like ‘iniquity’, ‘wicked’, ‘unrighteousness’ or ‘transgressor’ (in the Authorized Version-KJV). It’s even more vague in all the newer translations. Only 6 times was it clearly translated (KJV) as ‘without law’, ‘lawless’, etc., in 3 verses only. However, understanding this word’s true meaning, brings new meaning and clarity to all verses that contain it. Even though it is found translated ‘iniquity in Matt. 7:23, the words ‘Antinomian’ or ‘lawlessness’ could rightfully be put there instead. It would then read, starting at verse 21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work “lawlessness” (Antinomianism).
Other verses that condemn Antinomians to hell are: “The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do ‘Antinomian(ism)’.” “And because ‘Antinomians’ shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with ‘Antinomians’? and what communion hath light with darkness?” “For the mystery of ‘Antinomian(ism)’ doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all ‘Antinomian(ism)’, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Matt.13:41; Matt. 24:12; 2 Cor. 6:14; 2 Thess. 2:7; Titus 2:14). With this in mind, it is interesting to see what men of God have said about it.
WHAT’S ITS BASIC DOCTRINE?
In his late book, Paths to Power, A.W. Tozer defined it this way. “Fundamental Christianity in our times is deeply influenced by that ancient enemy of righteousness, Antinomianism. The creed of the Antinomian is easily stated: We are saved by faith alone; works have no place in salvation; conduct is works, and is therefore of no importance. What we do cannot matter as long as we believe rightly. The divorce between creed and conduct is absolute and final. The question of sin is settled by the Cross; conduct is outside the circle of faith and cannot come between the believer and God. Such in brief, is the teaching of the Antinomian. And so fully has it permeated the Fundamental element in modern Christianity that it is accepted by the religious masses as the very truth of God. Antinomianism is the doctrine of grace carried by uncorrected logic to the point of absurdity. It takes the teaching of justification by faith and twists it into deformity.”
I know there are some (maybe you, dear reader) who might say, “That’s the gospel! That’s Grace! That’s what I believe and practice!” Oh, if we would only take the time to seek God, pray and read the Gospel, unfettered by the “Doctrines of Men”, we would surely find that Antinomianism is ANOTHER GOSPEL (i.e.- not Christianity).
Charles Finney in the 1800’s spoke of it “as the opposite extreme to legalism. Legalist are all work, Antinomians no work. Professing to have yielded up their whole agency to Christ, they throw all responsibility upon Him and do nothing. Under pretense of being led by the Spirit and of waiting for God to reveal His will to them, they give themselves up very much to spiritual indolence (idleness)1.”
Noah Webster, in his 1878 Dictionary, defined Antinomianism as: “one of a sect who were charged with maintaining that, under the gospel dispensation, the moral law is of no use or obligation.”
1-Webster’s 1878 Dictionary defined ‘indolence’ as “inaction, or want of exertion of body or mind, proceeding from love of ease or aversion to toil; habitually idle.”
A BRIEF HISTORY
Interesting enough, the Church is being plagued today with Antinomianism more than ever. In fact, it has almost “leavened the whole lump”. This is not the first time that it’s crept into the hearts of God’s people unawares. Historically, in Jeremiah’s day when Israel was deeply backslidden and God’s prophets were crying out against their wickedness, Antinomianism was the root cause. It was also one of the first signs of decay to hit the early Church. As the Bible teaches, the early Church fathers were well acquainted with what it was, and like Paul, found themselves in an ever present battle against its deadly effects.
By the 1700’s, Antinomianism had established itself so deeply in most of the colleges that produced pastors, that almost anyone simply professing faith in God was considered a Christian. This condition having spread to this country as well, found heart-motivated morality in the Church almost non-existent. After much sincere prayer and true repentance, a real ‘Revival’ did come from God during that time through men such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards and others. This revival reversed the course of Antinomianism but for a short while. By the start of the 19th. century, Antinomianism had made a strong comeback. Charles Finney and other Godly persons, who lived during that time, again found themselves facing it’s damning effects. Although Finney and others succeeded in stamping out numerous strongholds, it didn’t take long for it to make a comeback in this century.
This century has seen a huge rise of those who promise many ‘would be Christians’ liberty, while “they themselves are the servants of corruption” (2 Peter 2:19). Never before have there been so many who profess Christianity with their mouth, but live like and love the world. Why? Because Antinomianism has been the accepted gospel almost universally since the 50’s.
WHY IS IT WRONG?
The origin for Antinomianism is rooted in a general misunderstanding concerning the difference between what is meant by “conditions” and “works” (earnings/merits). Many devoted, but spiritually ignorant, religious teachers, in their zeal to explain the truth of our unmerited salvation and our inability to pay the debt for our own sins, have fallen into heresy.
“Heresy! That’s a pretty strong word”, you say. Yes, but that’s exactly what it is: “heresy”. The word “heresy”, from the New Testament Greek word “airesis”, simply means “a taking, school, selection”. A modern day dictionary defines it as “a school of thought”. The word represents a popular practice among the religious crowd. It describes the taking of truth and then selecting one’s favorite part or doctrine contained in it, over-emphasizing that point, and teaching it, usually to the complete negation of the rest of the picture.
Heresy in the Garden of Eden?
A perfect example of this is in what the devil told Eve in the garden of Eden. What he said wasn’t entirely wrong. He just excluded parts of the truth and over-emphasized other parts, to such an extent, that what was said became a lie. He said, “Ye shall not surely die:” (Gen. 3:4). This was true in one sense, only he simply left out the rest of the facts. It was true that they wouldn’t die, right then, probably based on their own vague understanding of death at the time (Bear in mind that up to this time no one had seen death). But what the devil left out was a big deal. They would indeed DIE another way, spiritually, right then, according to God’s real meaning. Their body would also start dying, from that time on as well. So… not presenting the whole picture, turned that short, partial truth into a huge deception. Next verse:
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5). Again, what the devil said was exactly true. However, if only he had added in the parts that he purposely left out, the whole picture would have taken on an entirely different meaning- a pretty scary, and ugly one at that. It’s like signing on the doted line without reading the small, fine print, ever! Considering how the devil’s heresy ruined the human race’s earthly future, does one have to wonder much at the root source of such a heresy as Antinomianism?
Earning by Works versus Conditions
“Taking” or focusing in on the truth, that we do not “merit” or earn God’s salvation and its attending blessings, has led many into Antinomianism. Yes, it IS true that we do NOT earn our salvation, nor our relationship with God. But that does not negate the fact that God DOES HAVE HIS “Conditions” respecting salvation.
Suppose, for instance, I were to read in my newspaper about a free milk giveaway happening at the local dairy. Let’s say the newspaper states that between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. on Thursday, March 16th., the dairy is pleased to give to every person over the age of 18 a fresh gallon of milk, for free. From such an ad, I’d understand that the milk would to be free, right? I wouldn’t have to pay for it or earn it. Also, anyone over 18 years old could receive a gallon if they wanted. Therefore, it would be fairly clear that there would be NO WAY anyone could earn, merit, pay for or deserve a free gallon of milk. It is a free gift.
However, at the same time, there are definite “conditions” to receiving the milk such as:
Firstly, one had to be over 18 years of age.
Secondly, they had to be present at the dairy.
Thirdly, only between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. on Thursday, March 16th. could it be received.
Meeting Conditions does NOT mean earning by works
By being at the dairy at the required time would not mean that anyone had earned, worked for or deserved the milk. No one would even be considered if they weren’t present there between the appointed times. Merit, works and deserving it have nothing to do with it. It is based totally on grace -i.e. the kindness of the dairy to give it away. The dairy is giving it away simply because they want to.
On the other hand, there are definite conditions to being able to receive a gallon of milk. How happy a person is about being able to get the milk makes no difference concerning whether they receive it or not. Even “faith alone” is not the deciding factor in them receiving the milk directly. If they don’t make it to the dairy in person as specified, they will simply loose out. The fact that these conditions have to be followed has nothing to do with anyone earning the milk or whether or not it is a gift. Having conditions has nothing whatsoever to do with the love, kindness and tender hearts of the dairy owners.
In the same way, parents sometimes have conditions for their children. Because of LOVE, parents may wish to give or do something for their children. However, just because they make it conditional, like first having to have either their room clean, face washed, hair combed or such like, doesn’t make the gift any less a gift. Knowing how children can think, only the mind of an immature child could think they were earning it. What does this tell us about the level of thought Antinomians use?
An example of salvation’s “conditions” was taught by Jesus in His parable concerning the wise and foolish virgins (Matt 25:1-13). The primary difference between the wise and foolish was whether or not they had met God’s conditions.
(Side note: some Antinomian teachers, in trying to explain this away, say that the foolish virgins only missed the rapture, etc., but will still have a second chance after the tribulation. We ask: when does the Bible say they get their “second chance”? Instead, Jesus said to them “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you”. In every place where Jesus says He doesn’t know them, the consequences are always disastrous eternally. So how do these “smooth talkers” get such a conclusion? Certainly not from the Bible. I’d hate to teach or base my eternal future on such unscriptural doctrines of men.)
WHY DO ANTINOMIANS EXIST?
Antinomianism is an entire doctrine built on religious confusion, or, more precisely, a complete lack of understanding concerning God’s “Conditions”. Sad to say, its root cause goes even deeper than misunderstanding “conditions”. The main battle isn’t really between bumbling heretics and those who understand God’s “conditions” – it’s between humanism and Christianity.
Humanism is summed up as this: the end of all being is the happiness of mankind. Its focus is on two words: ‘happiness’ and ‘mankind’. Therefore in humanism, everything a person does is centred around humanity’s happiness here on earth.
Christianity can be summed up as this: the end of all being is the glory of God. Its focus is on two words: ‘glory’ and ‘God’. Therefore in Christianity, everything a person does is centred around what pleases God, nothing less! This is why Jesus could say to his close friend and disciple, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men”; and “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven” and “If any will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:23, 7:21, 16:24). Do you see? The entire focus is on God and His glory, not man.
Let’s Get Together and Make Peace (on earth)
At the root of Antinomianism is humanism with a little Christianity mixed in, for good measure. How’s that? Instead of pure humanism, which is focused solely on man’s earthly life, this mixture looks like this: The end of Antinomian “Christianity” is the happiness of mankind both on earth and in heaven. Notice that it STILL focuses on the same two words that humanism does: ‘happiness’ and ‘mankind’. The only difference between humanism and Antinomian Christianity is this: mankind’s happiness has been extended beyond the grave. Does this mean that real Christians aren’t happy? No! However, they take their happiness in bringing glory to God, by doing only what pleases Him, never themselves. This usually goes over the head of an Antinomian.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that in Antinomianism, like humanism, everything the Church does (especially those in leadership) is centred around humanity’s happiness. This is the root of Antinomianism. Once we understand this, everything else that puzzles us about ourselves, &/or our Antinomian friends, will disappear: i.e.-the lack of heart motivated obedience to Christ; the struggles against giving up basic, elementary things like TV, worldly videos, sports, dancing, smoking, worldly music, worldly friendships, etc.; the lack of interest in personally reaching the lost; and the strong attachment to, and love for, this present world. This is why, when the subject of God’s “conditions” for salvation comes up, for an Antinomian, it does not compute. Because an Antinomian’s beliefs are rooted in humanism, when they hear the real Gospel, they think it’s heresy or some strange “Cult”.
Please remember that humanism is at the heart of
Antinomianism when you read the rest of this article.
How Did They Mix Christianity with Humanism?
Imagine this: you’ve enrolled in an Air Conditioning School. You try very hard to learn air conditioners, but it’s extremely difficult. You just can’t seem to remember the theory, much less fix anything. How it all works and fits together is beyond your comprehension. You and air conditioners simply don’t get along. You doubt the problem is your lifelong poor mechanical aptitude. Maybe the school is wrong, so you decide to quit. After you’re out, you begin to think about a theory of your own. You go so far as to put down on paper, a whole system for understanding air conditioners, all based entirely on your own misconceptions. Furthermore, you start your own air conditioning school. You’ve always been a good talker. Eventually, several of your students believe your theories, although nothing ever seems to work out quite right. Nevertheless, they learn to have lots of faith in that coming day when the class’s air conditioners will work correctly. Besides, they “feel good” about themselves and your simplified rationalizations, and that’s got to be more important.
On the other hand, some of your other students are growing frustrated at your bumbling. They just can’t accept the fact that nothing in practice works right. They even go so far as to tell you where they think you’re wrong. Never mind that these thinking students are the only ones who ever manage to fix any air conditioning problems. That isn’t what matters to you, so you accuse them of “causing divisions” and “defying authority”. When they continue to disagree, you have them removed from your school.
Sound crazy? Well, guess what? That’s exactly how this doctrine of Antinomianism came about. Only difference is that since it involves the spiritual, many consider theology mystical, hard to practice and abstract. Consequently, most never even stop to analyze Antinomianism to see if it actually works like scriptural Christianity. Instead, too many enjoy being on spiritual “Auto Pilot” because their ears feel good. True, they might be constantly falling into sin; their lives &/or family’s spiritual lives are a mess, but at least they can “think” they are “saved”, until they die and find out the truth (after it’s too late).
Please dear ones; read your Bibles; study and learn about your heritage. Is this how the early Christians lived and walked? No!
Somehow Antinomians see the desire to satisfy God’s “conditions” as trying to earn one’s salvation. Antinomianism has its entire focus on one piece of the truth – that is: we don’t “earn” (merit) our salvation. But, the rest of the picture “conditions”, is not only neglected, but actually taught and warned against. What this means is that perhaps millions are on their way to HELL while believing they are going to heaven. What a really scary surprise that’s going to be.
Can you imagine reading an ad someday about a new, revolutionary medicine that cures cancer and AIDS completely, instantly? Imagine hearing about it at special meetings, then going to months of seminars and being taught all about what it does and how to use it. Only one problem, though. No one seems to know how or where to actually get this marvelous cure-all. What would you think?
If you think that’s bad, then neglecting and even discouraging hungry folks from knowing about God’s “conditions” to His blessed gift of salvation has got to be worse! That’s exactly why Antinomianism is one of the worst and most dangerous heresies going. God’s “conditions” concerning salvation are more than just “believing” and “accepting” Christ. Otherwise explain what Jesus meant when He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21). Or what about “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works”? (Matt. 16:27). How about the scene in Matthew 25 with the sheep and the goats? Both apparently believed in Jesus and answered Him in a way that implied familiarity with who He was. However, the goats failed to fulfill His conditions as outlined there, no if’s, an’s or but’s about it.
The fruits of this cancer are readily seen. Just compare the difference between the witness real Christians had in Wesley’s, Finney’s, Menno Simons’, the Moravian’s and the Apostle’s day to that of today. Instead, the modern Antinomian comes to believe that they are “free in Christ” -free to do whatever they want, whether it is the will of the flesh or God’s. ‘A taking’ (heresy) of the Scripture which says, “All things are lawful unto me” (1Cor. 6:12; 10:23) out of context, effectively makes Antinomians a law unto themselves (licentiousness). Consequently, whatever happens to be the day’s conviction or lack thereof, is the way they live. Instead of God, they base everything on whether their motives are right. Instead of God’s will, if they can rationalize something, according to either their own or some respected “believers” example or teaching, they usually feel perfectly at liberty to do whatever they want. You can hear them say how God “told them” it was okay to do this or that, no matter what the Bible teaches. They soon become experts in examining the limit to which any of God’s moral laws can be stretched (legalism), while still maintaining a minimum show of Godliness. Because of this, their lives speak to an unbelieving world and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations” (Jer. 7:10).
Why did God say in Malachi 2:17, “You have wearied the Lord with your words”? It was because the Antinomian element was saying, “Everyone that does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them.” I’ve actually heard pastors preach that we don’t need to obey God unless we want to be used by Him. I’ve seen teaching tapes offered which explain: “It’s the Heart that counts. God looks at our hearts NOT at our outward actions. God knows and sees our intentions and it’s our heart that counts with Him.” Such theological nonsense must have been similar to what the prophets Malachi and Jeremiah heard. God, in rebuking the prophets and pastors, said, “I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none does return from his wickedness.” (Jer. 23:14). Sounds like today, where sinners are being comforted with, “It’s okay, God accepts you just the way you are. He knows you want to stop smoking, drinking, chewing, cursing, hating, loosing your temper, coveting, rock and rolling, being worldly minded but He loves you anyway. Just have faith and everything will turn out al…lll right.” Maybe my Bible is different for theirs, but I don’t think that’s going to cut it. There are huge lists in Rom. 1:29-31, 1 Corth. 5:11; 6:9-10, Gal. 5:19-21, Col. 3:5-6, Rev. 21:8, Ez. 18, etc., detailing exactly what will happen to folks who continue in such things. Oh, Lord, please have mercy on us.
The Antinomians (or as some call them “Carnal Christians”) have been taught how to encourage themselves by imagining that the holy men of old were just as carnal as they are. “They heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2Tim. 4:3-4). Instead of shock, sorrow and sadness, these religious worldly-ans actually enjoy hearing sermons about David’s adultery, Elijah’s fear of Jezebel, Peter’s denial and Paul and Barnabas’ disagreements.
Some believing that their worldly life-style (death-style) is Christian, have proudly placed a socially acceptable metal fish or bumper sticker on their car amongst their other ungodly, worldly stickers. With their bumper sticker neatly displayed, they have no convictions about the opposing messages being conveyed to the “lost”. As they zoom in and out of traffic on the city’s highways, it never occurs to them that they are witnessing to the world in a negative way. Since they feel “free in Christ”, exceeding the posted speed limits does not bother them in the least. As it turns out, if you didn’t know them, it would be extremely difficult to tell them from your good ole American carnal sinner.
How can anyone tell the difference?
They essentially act just as impolite and worldly on the highways and in public places as the rest of the world. Some are not even ashamed to state to the whole world that they are just like everyone else by displaying a “Christians aren’t perfect, only forgiven” bumper sticker. Instead, Jesus and Paul said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” “I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.” “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. 5:48; Rev. 3:3; Luke 14:34-35).
In his recent article published in the “Herald of His Coming” April ’95’, Elmer Klassen addressed this so aptly with the following:
“Why ask people to trust in Christ when it does not make much difference if they do? When there are as many divorces within the Church as outside the Church, the habits of the Christians essentially the same as non-Christians, the pleasures of sin just as much enjoyed in the Church as outside the Church, why all this effort of making people Christians?
“The Bible tells us that the Gospel is the power that will stop people from sinning, but if this is not happening in the Churches there is something basically wrong with our preaching. The Book of Romans does not urge us to prepare for a future heaven but promises a changed life here on earth to the one who will believe the book. I seldom find someone who does. To find someone who will confess chapter one as true is hard to find. And to find someone who will continue to believe the Gospel according to Romans on to chapter 16 becomes even more difficult.
“The Gospel according to Romans promises a completely changed life to whoever will believe it. But who believes this and confesses the book of Romans to be true in his own life? Could it be that we are so in the habit of reading the Book in an old style and in such a traditional way that the Book has lost its power to change lives?” (Used by permission)
F-L-O-D-D C-H-R-I-S-T (pronounced “flawed kris’t”)
Claiming to live by the Spirit, Antinomians have been taught to accept the fact that they don’t know God’s will for their lives, nor really hear His voice. There is little evidence in their daily conversation to suggest that they are soon to be married to their Beloved, Christ. No longer is Christianity to the Antinomian a passionate reunion and love affair with their God who died in agony for them. On the contrary, the Antinomian is one who feels God is just around to protect and help them. He’s their buddy, “daddy” and after their fun and frolic here on earth is over, they believe they will have a beautiful, ‘private’ split level home in heaven waiting for them. God is viewed as their servant who on command heals, makes them rich financially, and blesses them with anything their selfish little heart lusts after. Oh yes, they love to claim all of God’s promises of blessing for Israel in the Old Testament, but turn right around and claim that the New Testament frees them from any wrath or punishment, also promised to Israel for disobedience. No more are the warnings of Jesus and His followers in the Bible taken at face value.
F-This “Carnal Christian” theology has negated any ‘Fear’ or respect for God and His judgment. When they’re told something heavy, all they know is how to categorize and systematize it as fitting into this or that doctrinal slot.
L-Antinomians are essentially ‘Lawless’, hence the name, Antinomian. But God says to them, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” -Prov. 28:9
The scripture states very plainly “Do we then make void the law through faith?” That is about as plain as any statement could get. It asks the question in such clear, precise language that even a child could understand: “Do we” (you know, the very ones who wrote the New Testament; the exact ones who established each and every doctrine in the first Church; the particular ones Jesus had taught concerning the exact meaning of the New Covenant), are they (Paul in particular here) now eliminating the law of God in our lives because of our justification by faith? The answer: “God forbid (newer versions say “not at all!”, “By no means!”) yea, we **ESTABLISH** the law.”-Rom. 3:31. To establish something does not mean to put it out back in the wilderness or in a hidden place where no one has to see it or deal with it. So how do Antinomians come off with such an opposite idea that we aren’t under any obligation or responsibility to obey God’s moral law and commandments? Answer: It’s simple. Christianity was only meant to be followed and understood by those who had been born again by the Holy Spirit. It ONLY applied so that “they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2Cor 5:15). Bear in mind that Christianity’s atmosphere and environment was only for those who were DEAD to themselves. So when clever salesmen, in the 4th century down to our present day, started selling the benefits of the Christian life to the masses before they had been duly put to death and buried with Christ, the result was and still is our counterfeit belief system-Antinomianism.
O-As far as ‘Obedience’ is concerned, they view it as optional or only required when they feel “Led“. Their excuse that they are “not under the law” usually takes care of any conviction for disobedience.
D-Their lives are generally marked by the same ‘un-Disciplined’ life style manifested by any other moral non-Christians. They live, eat, socialize, entertain, fear, dress, react, play, talk, buy, sell and enjoy just like the world. Daily life for them is influenced by the world’s circumstances, not by God’s ordered discipline. They bounce out of bed in the morning without any thought of having a disciplined, ordered spiritual plan throughout the day. Consequently, their day consists of being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” based entirely on circumstances (Eph. 4:14). They think it’s natural to set their hearts on worldly goals.
Many Antinomians are easy to spot, because of the following trait:
It is extremely hard, if not impossible, for them to keep their attention on anything meaty or deep spiritually if it’s not exciting and new to them. They usually won’t read or hear anything that goes beyond their “feel good” attitude and beliefs. Things like praying for hours, dying to self, teachings against the latest fun spiritual manifestation (however false), sitting still and reading the Bible for hours, or attentively listening to someone’s heavy spiritual thoughts are usually considered boring. (I wonder how “bored” they’d be, having to live in abject poverty with a leaky roof, in a Communist country). One gets the feeling that they’d have to be dying before they’d listen to anything sobering. Most books and tracts (like this) of a serious nature usually collect dust. If it isn’t fun or “UPLIFTING”, they’re not interested. They have the same attitude a child does when let loose in a toy store. They can’t wait to jump from one exciting toy to the next. While they’re in the store surrounded by toys, they could care less that there is a bottomless pit right outside the entrance waiting for them.
Antinomians are on a spiritual merry-go-round. One moment they’re “UP”, and the next they’re “DOWN”. Their spirituality is constantly being “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine” or crisis in their life. It never dawns on them that there is something that they are “DOING” that is responsible for this. It’s like allowing little Johnnie to sit in front of Television all day long or do as he pleases, and then being surprised that he’s rebellious and ungodly in his teenage years.
What this verse means: “be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” is beyond the Antinomian, because their understanding has been made “of none effect through” their “traditions”-Antinomianism. (Gal. 6:7; Mark 7:13)
D-They base their acceptance of someone as a Brother/Sister almost entirely on whether this new Brother/Sister’s ‘Doctrines’ line up with theirs. If this Brother/Sister is in agreement with their own doctrinal statement, then they must be Christians. This is not to say that doctrines aren’t important. But these Churchians pay more attention to what comes out of someone’s mouth (words), than the person’s good fruits or lack thereof. This is very interesting, especially in light of the fact that the “the devils also believe, and tremble”- (James 2:19).
C-Although they profess faith in Christ and His Bible, they usually have no concept of how ‘Convictions’ relate to their everyday life. I once met a newly arrived pastor who told me all about the new Church he was pioneering. He told me about his concerns for the town and his hope for the ‘lost’ to get ‘saved’ at his Bible studies. After spending time on that, he went on to tell me about his upcoming job interview. He had applied at the local cable television company to be a salesman for their movie channels, just because he heard they were hiring. Somehow, he saw no connection between his spiritual concerns for the lost and taking a job that helped spread violence, drugs, sex and rock and roll. Amazingly, he had no concept on how his own convictions respecting his faith translated into his daily life.
God calls such persons “double minded”, which comes with His promise as well- “let not that man think that he shall receive ANYTHING of the Lord” (James 1:7).
Because an Antinomian’s Christianity is focused on fulfilling their own happiness, it is easy to see why their ‘Convictions’ aren’t heart motivated. They only relate to their ‘Convictions’ (as they call them) whenever circumstances closely coincide with what they’ve been “TAUGHT”. When a situation comes up that doesn’t closely coincide with their intellectual “rule book”, they aren’t ‘Convicted’ in the slightest. This is because their ‘Convictions’ are based solely on abstract “beliefs” that are in their mind, not written on the “fleshy tables of the heart”. This explains why an Antinomian may, one time, feel ‘Convicted’ against helping someone gamble or buy liquor at a Casino or Saloon, but, the next time, will have no ‘Convictions’ whatsoever about buying other items from, or doing work, for a Casino or Saloon. On the other hand, a true Christian would know, in their heart, that whether they gamble or just buy gasoline from a Casino or Saloon, they are helping to support its ungodliness, and would become “partakers of other men’s sins” (Eph. 5:7; 1Tim. 5:22; Rev. 18:4).
H-Antinomians are constantly trying to re-invent the wheel. They are grossly ignorant when it comes to knowing early Church ‘History’. Consequently, they are usually seeking to find some new spiritual truth, experience or doctrine. Whole Church groups have been formed just because of some ‘new’, revealed truth. What follows is usually fruitless for God, and sometimes even disastrous. By simply taking the time to study early Christianity, many would have discovered the tried and true paths. Jesus and His Apostles laid them down and they’ve never changed. Whenever the Church has returned to them, they have always produced wonderful fruit for God’s Kingdom. History confirms this.
R-‘Repentance’? What’s that word? To the Antinomian, repentance means, at the most, saying they’re sorry for their sin. As far as it being one of God’s absolute “conditions”, never would such a thought come into their mind. That would be salvation by works, right? Wrong! Although repentance is rarely preached about, it is an absolute necessity to our salvation. What it means is rarely understood correctly. Scripture alone makes it crystal clear that without Biblical repentance, there can be NO salvation. True repentance is NOT just feeling sorry for one’s sin. It is more than that. It means a complete change of mind respecting one’s sin and selfish ambitions. However, whoever heard of someone having a complete change in “thinking” without “seeing” the results in actions. Interested in the difference between true and false repentance? Read 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 and Hebrews 12:17 for starters.
I-The Church as a whole, especially in Western Church, is into ‘Idolatry’. How is that? By placing their leaders above Christ. They idolize them, their teachings and authority above God’s Word. “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mark 7:6-7).
S-One thing can be counted on in regard to an Antinomian, however. They are fairly consistent in making promises they feel no obligation before God to keep. To them ‘it’s the thought that counts’, in the heart, not the actions. They are free to ‘Say’ and not do. They’ll offer to do all sorts of loving, out of the ordinary caring acts, but if their own needs come in the way, which usually happens, guess what folks?
Instead Jesus, has some black and white words to say about this. He says, “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”, and “let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” or “lest ye fall into condemnation” (Matt. 12:36; Mt 5:37; James 5:12). Condemnation means going to hell, no matter what your teachers tell you.
T-Their emphasis on ‘Teachings’, seminars, retreats, Bible Schools, etc., take the place of being taught by God, Godly men and spending time with God in prayer and fasting. Their Christian focus is centred on this pastor’s or person’s teachings. They are ever going here and there following/attending this or that teaching. Elaborate sales pitches like “he is such a gifted/powerful speaker/teacher” or “it is such a life changing teaching or principle” are often heard with nary a mention of the Name of Jesus. I want my life given to Christ Jesus, not some teaching or principle. Antinomians seem to be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” After they have ‘matured’ in their (Antinomian) faith, “they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2Tim. 3:7; 4:3).
The Bible gives evidence that the early Church was on it’s guard against such heresy. In Romans 3:6-8, Paul said that already there were some teaching that he was preaching, “Let us do evil, that good may come”. He asked, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” His answer was (listen Antinomians!), “Certainly Not!” (Rom. 6:1-2). And yet I hear, time and time again, so called ‘Christians’ saying, “Of course, we know we will always sin every day, but God forgives us and always will”. If that’s Christianity, then they better rewrite their Bible to accommodate it!
James was very clear when he said, “I will show you my faith BY my works.” (James 2:18). However, the Antinomian is deceived into believing that they can live completely different from what they say they believe. Come on! We all know actions speak louder than words. However, when it comes to this point in modern Christianity, reality and logic fly right out the window.
Peter had much to say about those who are “free in Christ” to serve their own desires. “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption (2 Peter 2:10-12)
Reading on through verse 22, Peter makes it quite clear that they weren’t destined simply to miss the rapture, but a real fate worthy of their lawlessness awaits them.
Actually, I must confess that I feel fairly qualified to speak about this subject, having been sucked into it myself years ago. It does not work! I now look back on it with shame and a heart felt repentance, for if we have God’s Spirit, we should know better. I could write a book about this heresy of heresies. In our day, it usually develops from the “Sloppy Agape”, and “Greasy, Cheap Grace” preaching. However, God’s Word provides adequate teaching against such easy believism. If we will but cast off the spiritless logic from some systematic teachings and read the Bible for what it says and means to each one of us personally, then we “shall know the truth, and the truth shall make” us free.
However, I can not help but feel sadness and holy grief for those who would lure new, zealous lambs of God away and into Antinomianism. I have sadly witnessed many of my friends having their faith shipwrecked, because of it. Call it Antinomianism, Easy Believism, Grace only or the Carnal Christian doctrine; it doesn’t work! It’s 180° out of phase with reality and with what God wants, says and is.
In ending, I must be frank in saying that I believe very strongly that the widespread preaching of Antinomianism is the number one reason why the world today sees no reality in Christianity. If you don’t think that’s what the world thinks, then you haven’t been listening when they talk among themselves. With so many living and preaching Antinomianism, I believe it is the primary reason “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles” (Rom. 2:24). The life style of Antinomians is the “reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (1 Pet. 2:2). Because of it, Christianity has become and still is, from all anyone can see, just a another abstract BELIEF in certain doctrines and truths. In the end, it is nothing more than just a religious social club, like Rotary or Lions, with morals that, many times, aren’t any higher than the standards of these society clubs. The world no longer stands in awe of the person who is a “stranger and pilgrim on this earth”. No longer do they witness those who so love Jesus that they have counted “all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus”. The words of Jesus “for whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” have no place in the Antinomian’s mentality. Until Antinomians see what they are doing, having “counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done dispite to the Spirit of grace”, how can there be a revival?
The Ballad of the Antinomian
“It’s going to be fun to check out the latest sales at Feshouts”, Rosely said while glancing through her Dress for Success book.
“Oh, I’m so looking forward to seeing the latest fashion,” Sarah replied, while putting on the finishing touches to her make-up.
As they both walked gingerly towards Rosely’s BMW, Rosely casually asked, “Do you think we should wear our new clothes in Church? The ones I like are probably too revealing.”
“Everybody’s wearing them now, Rosely. I even saw Bonnie and Karen right after Church in Carn’s trying on a bundle of sexy outfits, and you know they’ll wear them in Church.”
“I guess you’re right. We’re all free in Christ anyway. Besides, He wants us to enjoy ‘this’ life to the fullest along with all it has to offer. Hey, look. I’ve got the latest Judas Priest cassette! It’s really good,” Rosely remarked, as they sped away down the street.
“What’s that noise, Rosely?” Sarah asked.
“It sounds like a siren!”
“Yeah, it sure does. And it’s right behind you!”
“It sure is! He’s pulling me over! What a fine way to start MY day!”
When the officer came near Rosely’s window, he leaned down and asked, “Hello. Can I please see your driver’s license and registration?”
“Yes, officer. What seems to be the problem?”
“I just clocked you going 45 plus in that 25 mile per hour zone.”
“What! You can’t be serious!” Rosely shouted angrily. “I couldn’t have been going more than 28 or 29!”
“Excuse me Ma’am, but I’ll be right back.”
“Can you believe that?!” Sarah exclaimed. “I sure hope no one from Church sees us. Aren’t you teaching on the crucified life in Sunday School this Sunday?”
“Yes, I sure am,” Rosely admitted. “That stupid cop would have to be here to catch me today; and on MY day off!”
After awhile the officer returned.
“Everything checks out. Is the address on your license current?”
“Yes it is, but…but you aren’t going to give me a ticket, are you?”
“I’m afraid I’ll have to. You need to slow down. You could have easily hit one of those children back there on their bikes. I clocked you at well over 45, but I’m only going write you for 35.”
Rosely unenthusiastically signed her ticket while mumbling a few “curse” words under her breath. After waiting for the policeman to leave, she drove off in a huff, both of them remaining silent.
Finally Sarah broke the silence.
“You’d think he’d been easier on you after he saw your Christian’s Aren’t Perfect, Only Forgiven bumper sticker.”
“You wait! I’m going to fight this all the way! I was only going 40 at the most and besides, everyone does it! I’ve got my rights! God doesn’t want us to just stand by and be door mats!”
Finally they arrived at Elite Villa shopping mall. Rosely quickly spotted and then zipped into a just vacated parking space, ignoring and cutting off another waiting car. They both bounced out of the car, as if no one else existed around them at that moment. After mumbling something about her valuables not being safe in the city, Rosely carefully checked and locked, and then rechecked, her car doors.
As they both confidently strode towards the shopping mall’s entrance, they could see an older, plainly dressed man standing near the entrance. He appeared to be passing out some sort of papers.
As they drew near, they could hear him shouting, “Repent, for God is coming to judge His Church!”
When his eyes caught hold of them, he boldly exclaimed, “Here, take one of these.”
“What! What’s this?!” Rosely demanded, half shouting.
“It’s a tract about how God is calling those who claim to be followers of Christ to repent of their love of this world, and its pleasures and turn to….”
“You fool! Are you saying I’m not a Christian?! Are you? You just get out of here and leave me alone, you heretic! Get out!” Rosely screamed.
After violently casting the wadded up tract down at his feet, Rosely grabbed Sarah and quickly walked into the shopping mall. When they entered Feshouts, Rosely exclaimed, “At last we’re here. I can’t believe it; what we had to go through to get here! Why doesn’t everybody just leave us alone?! (her voice raising) We are free in Christ! Our sins are forgiven and……….!”
“Rosely, Rosely, it’s okay! Calm down. We’re here, we’re here and you’re shouting.”
“Okay, okay, Sarah. But believe me; I’m going to talk about this on Sunday! You just wait!”
As Rosely gradually began to settle down, she started looking through the new styles on sale. On finding one that caught her eye, she held it up to herself in front of the mirror on the wall, and asked,
“Sarah? Don’t you think this outfit would look nice on me? It’s just like the ones I’ve seen advertised in Self magazine.” (June ’86’)
This know also, that in the last days perilous (Greek-harsh, fierce, savage) times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent (Greek-without self-control), fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (Greek.-turn self away from, to shun, avoid)-2 Tim. 3:1-5.