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Letter to Scott


You invited me to consider your thoughts about my answers to those discussing The Deadly Error of the Universalists on Tentmaker forum. I appreciate your offer and have done so. What follows is my reply to your comments for me and to your commentary on the forum. I would have posted this on the forum, but, as you know, I have been banned from doing that. Nevertheless, we will include this correspondence on our site for those who would like to hear the answers and to be edified by the Truth.

You took note that we have some common beliefs, and commented on what I said in "The Deadly Error":

"So it seems to me he is a believer in the salvation of all, but holds to a working out of that salvation in each and every life by the principles and requirements God has put forth in His word…."

How true! And doesn’t that say it all? Jesus is Lord, and only by knowing Him as such, in obedience to all things He requires, is His power to save fulfilled in a person. As James wrote:

"But someone will say, ‘One person has faith, another has actions.’ My answer is, ‘Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions’" (James 2:18 GNB).

And Paul:

"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12 EMTV).

I appreciate how you differentiated between what I was and was not saying in the paper:

"You will note He does not state the deadly error of Universalism, he states the deadly error OF THE UNIVERSALISTS, which is a BIG difference."

You also made this important point to those who accuse me of "knowing it all":

"… but both myself and Craig if he was still here would tell you that we know we do not know it all but put forth what we see as of right now."

What I have put forth is what I actually see (not think I see) and know from God, nothing added. Like my Brother, Jesus, I speak what the Father gives me, because I know His commandment is eternal life.

"Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph" (Amos 5:15 KJV).

Whoever rejects His judgment does not receive His grace.

Someone on the forum characterized what we preach as follows:

"Everyting that’s a fraction different is ‘deadly’"

Scott, you replied:

"I actually agree with that sentiment bro as there is only ONE truth, and anytime mans view is in place you will find that fraction deadly. My only problem here would be if Paul C thinks he knows all the truth for scripture itself tells us And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

But I am not sure Paul C is saying he knows everything, if he indeed is then he would do well to heed the scripture I just posted."

You are right again: Anything that man interjects or removes from the gospel of Christ is deadly. That is why Paul wrote as he did to the Galatians:

"But even if we or an angel from Heaven preach a gospel to you beside what we preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8 MKJV).

You are wrong, however, in your interpretation and application of the Scripture you quoted. How could servants of God not know "all the truth" regarding the gospel of Christ and its real life application, when it is God Who prepares and sends them to preach? He is the One testifying to men through His chosen vessels:

"For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father Who speaks in you" (Matthew 10:20 MKJV).

If this were not so, man would have no choice but to add or subtract from the gospel, being dependent on his limited human perspective to represent God to those whom he teaches. Going without the Mind of Christ, he couldn’t help but deviate and be accursed. But God does not work that way; He properly equips and sustains His ministers who do His work:

"You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men, it having been made plain that you are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, not having been written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart. And we have such trust through Christ toward God, not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God; Who also has made us able ministers of the new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive" (2 Corinthians 3:2-6 MKJV).

And the gift of God is to make all His children of one mind – His:

"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 MKJV).

Here is the Scripture you have wrongly interpreted, in context:

"Now concerning the things offered to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he has come to know nothing yet as he ought to know" (1 Corinthians 8:1-2 EMTV).

The apostle is not saying that we have no knowledge. In fact, he is saying the opposite. Even though we have knowledge, that is not our Help or Answer. Even were we to have all knowledge, as he says elsewhere (1 Corinthians 13:2), unless we are walking in the Spirit of God, we are as nothing and have nothing. Those who trust in their knowledge are not walking with God.

Therefore, you can’t conclude I know nothing because I speak with authority and say what is true. That is illogical and unScriptural. If it were possible, you need to show that what I say is untrue, not just say it is wrong based on your opinion backed by fallacious reasoning. Just because you find our words a "type of attitude of judgment" that you don’t like, that doesn’t qualify them as error. You may be wrong in your judgment of our judgment, both in where we are coming from and the validity of our words. That you do not even allow for this possibility shows you are already in error and don’t understand the most basic principles of godly judgment.

Thus you are led into making other false conclusions. What I wrote to the various posters on Tentmaker had nothing to do with being banned and getting my "knickers in a bunch" [Scott’s words]. After all, I was banned after I wrote many of those posts. I spoke the truth to these people without malice or harmful intentions, and their reactions show it is their “knickers in a bunch.” (If you have not, go see what has been going on since I was banned, on the thread where I introduced myself, and see how this is so.) We are not harmed at all by these reactions or the banning, but these people are surely destroying themselves in their ways.

One of your main concerns is that I have judged some on the forum to not be children of God based on what they believe. You are concerned that I am not differentiating between children who can only take milk and those mature enough to eat meat. You wonder if I am forcing meat on children, and when they cannot take it, dismissing them altogether as unbelievers.

That is not remotely the case. I was the one dismissed, and not over doctrine. Can you show otherwise? If you are going to bring forth accusatory conjectures you need to provide specifics or you simply should not speculate on such matters publicly. You are only adding to the confusion and abetting the wicked actions of others, who toss out the brethren of the Lord in their ignorance and darkness, thinking they do God service.

You wrongly presume to understand what I think, and err in your own understanding of the ways of God and the Scriptures. You write:

"What Paul C. needs to realise, that he does not seem to, is that a child of God whether he understands everything perfectly is still a child of God. Paul (the Apostle) never said those who believed in Christ were not children of God…."

You automatically take the word of any who says he or she is a Christian to be true. The apostle Paul never taught that. He taught the opposite:

"For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also men shall arise from your own selves, speaking perverse things in order to draw disciples away after them" (Acts 20:29-30 MKJV).

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:13-14 EMTV).

"For a time will be when they will not endure sound doctrine, but they will heap up teachers to themselves according to their own lusts, tickling the ear. And they will turn away their ears from the truth and will be turned to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4 MKJV).

The Lord Himself taught that many taking His Name would be the product of seed sown by the enemy:

Matthew 13:25-30 EMTV
(25) But while the men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went away.
(26) But when the stalk had sprouted and produced fruit, then the tares also appeared.
(27) So the servants of the master of the house approached and said to him, Sir, was it not good seed you sowed in your field? From where then does it have tares’
(28) He said to them, An enemy has done this. So the servants said to him, Do you wish then that we should go and gather them up?
(29) But he said, No, lest gathering up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
(30) Leave both to grow together until the harvest; and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather together the tares, and bind them into bundles to burn them, but gather together the wheat into my barn.

Are you not at all aware that there are tares as well as wheat? Are you not aware that there is salt that has lost its savor? Is talking to such the same as talking to children who are immature in understanding? You are not walking in discernment, Scott. You are not even aware there is such discernment, while giving me a lecture on discerning! You have some major backtracking to do on your theories. If you are Christ’s, you will hear, repent, learn, and follow.

Does the Lord tell His people to "come out from among them" in vain?

Another thing you don’t recognize is that there is a place for reproving, rebuking, and exhorting:

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV).

Are those things only for adults? Are not children most in need of correction, whereas mature adults ought to have learned discipline? But we know that only His children at any age receive correction. Bastards do not receive correction. Christ did not rebuke the Pharisees as God’s children, but as the children of the devil He openly said they were. They, as did these on the forum, protested that God was their Father, but the Lord refuted them:

"Therefore Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would have loved Me, for I came forth and have come from God; nor have I come from Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I say? Because you are unable to hear My word’" (John 8:42-43 EMTV).

Consider, if you can, what I am saying in light of your admonishment:

"Of course saying people are not children of God who believe in Christ is off base but it might be Paul C did not take into account the difference in age (spiritually) of Gods children. And if that is the case it might be that pointing this out to him might have corrected his error and I hope he reads this and realises his error in doing that. Force feeding a babe meat just chokes the baby is a good rule to remember when speaking of the things of God, yet we have ALL been guilty of doing it."

I have not been force-feeding babies, but rather rebuking Pharisees. How is it you assume a man of God cannot know the difference?

You are quite in error, Scott, and I will show you within the text of your posting where you diverge from the gospel of Christ revealed to Paul, having mixed in some of the deadly error of the Universalists in your gospel:

"Here is a question that a lady asked here awhile back and my response to it, I post it again in hopes that both Paul C and those who have had issue with what Paul C has said might understand the difference between the reconciliation which is pasts and the salvation which is promised as I believe this is where at least in part some of the confusion has come in.

Why preach the gospel at all?

For me the reason Jesus was sent and the reason Jesus sends us is to free people through Him from sin and death. Salvation is not complete just because one believes Jesus died for them. Believing is only the starting point on our journey toward full salvation, for we are reconciled by His death, but saved by His life.

All men everywhere are already reconciled by His death, this is a done deal because He died 2000 years ago for all men’s reconciliation and mans belief or unbelief CANNOT change this fact. If someone does not believe Jesus died for then simply does not change the fact that He did.

So then all men everywhere have already been reconciled [my emphasis added], but not all men are yet saved from sin and death."

You are talking about two different things and treating them as one. The first is the fact that Jesus Christ finished the work of atonement and sealed it by His death. "It is finished," He said. Nothing can change this – you are right. But this does not mean that you can automatically declare your second point, that because the Lord has completed the work now, all men are reconciled to God. If that were the case, there would be no need to preach repentance. Repentance, however, is the very first word of the gospel message:

"Now having heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brothers, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:37-38 EMTV).

They did not receive the forgiveness of sins until they repented. They were in unrest because they were made conscious of their sin – a very real matter and not just something in their heads. Peter didn’t answer their heartfelt cry according to your gospel, "You don’t have to do anything! Don’t you know your sins are already forgiven and you are already reconciled?"

Without the gift of repentance, which is a wholesale turning to God and away from sin, reconciliation cannot become reality. And even among those who have been granted the gift of repentance, reconciliation is not complete until we are made complete in Him:

"Now then, we serve as ambassadors for Christ, as though God were appealing through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:20-21 EMTV).

Continuing your post:

"Therefore Jesus send us out in order to proclaim His salvation by His LIFE."

Here is another common error of many evangelicals and other religious. They presume that Jesus made a commandment two thousand years ago to them. He did no such thing. He is a present, not a past, Lord. As is recounted in Acts:

"As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, So, then, separate Barnabas and Saul to Me for the work to which I have called them" (Acts 13:2 MKJV).

The sending of the Lord in His ministry is done by Him Personally and presently, as part of a calling and preparation He undertakes with every one of His servants. The Lord hasn’t sent you, Scott. No condemnation intended, but you will take it that way if you haven’t the love for the Truth.

Continuing:

"His death reconciled all men, but His LIFE is what saves all men, this salvation is not a one time deal as such, but is a long process of walking in His LIFE and forsaking our own. Taking up the cross and following Him and enduring unto the end that we might be saved."

All true.

"Thus we are told to proclaim His death and therefore His reconciliation for all men as a FACT that cannot be disputed , and we are to do this so that the entire world can have the same hope in His LIFE that we to have. Thus it is not by His death that sin and death are defeated but by His LIFE.

When we witness about that which Jesus done, we are first to tell all men that they have been reconciled because of His death, this fact breathes hope into the world that God does indeed love them. Then after people become aware of the fact of this reconciliation by His death we are to proclaim His resurrection. And it is because of the fact that He was resurrected OUT OF DEATH that the world is given hope of the same resurrection OUT OF DEATH. We are NOT saved from death, we are saved OUT OF DEATH, for it was while we were DEAD in sin that He died and was raised to life again for us."

While there is some truth in what you write, you have left out the foundation of any true conversion – repentance, and what must follow, the baptism in the Spirit of Christ. You have replaced these with a philosophical rationale that is as satisfactory for true spiritual life in Christ as a plastic orange tree is for food.

Men are not saved by knowledge of salvation any more than their hunger is satisfied by knowledge of food. You are offering people a false salvation, one that retains the flesh by leaving the carnal man in charge. Your hearers are now assured of their salvation without the Lord’s direct involvement. If they can comprehend what you tell them of what He has done, they can proceed in confidence as they choose. It is up to them. The journey they think to take for salvation turns out to be a fake, because they, and not God, are making it up as they go along. Nothing is happening from Him. They remain unregenerate. He is not building the house, so that they who labor are doing so in vain.

You are not saving people any more than the seven sons of Sceva were casting out a devil in the Name of the Lord Whom Paul preached. The devil said to them: "Jesus I know, and Paul I am acquainted with; but who are you?" (Acts 19:15 EMTV)

So is your gospel useless. You have to come up the right Way, through Him, and not just through a second-hand knowledge of Him. That is all you have, Scott. He has given us firsthand knowledge, which is what you and everyone on the forum find most objectionable. You do not want to hear from Him and what He requires, only your foolish ideas and the tickling of each other’s ears, just as Paul warned.

Concluding:

"So the resurrection is a moving from DEATH to LIFE, so as He died for all men, so to did He rise for all men, and this is the gospel of the good new toward ALL MEN EVERYWHERE.

If one believes Jesus died for all men, should it not go without saying that when He rose again that it was for all men also? Can we really separate His death from His resurrection? If so, how then can DEATH be swallowed up of LIFE?"

Yes, every man in his own order, according to His will. Being out of order will not cut it, though. That is what I found and exposed at Tentmaker, and hear in your preaching. You continue to manifest The Deadly Error of the Universalists. It may help you to read the entire section: Universalism.

Paul Cohen

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