Answering Bill Gordon

(This is a response to some comments Bill made on another post.  To see his comments in context, click here.  This exchange is similar to one I recently had with William17, which you can find above Bill’s and here.)

Bill,

When you mention seminaries like Covenant and Fuller, teaching ministries like Ligonier, and teachers past and present like Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Joel Beeke, and Sinclair Ferguson you think about how much I differ with them.  By contrast, when I think of those same names, I think about how much I’m in agreement with them.  For example, here are just a few of the beliefs we all share (which I also mentioned in an earlier comment to William17):

  • Jesus is Lord.
  • The Bible is the word of God
  • We are to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength.
  • We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
  • We are to overcome evil with good.
  • We are to trust God and obey Him.
  • We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
  • We are to know Christ and make Him known.

That’s a lot!  And these are not minor issues.  They are all important, life-directing views.  They distinguish us radically from the world which has become so anti-Christ in our day.  That Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God, especially, is surely a cry to which you, they, and I would all enthusiastically rally.

That said, yes, I do believe some things that they don’t…but the things about which we would disagree are not more important than the things about which we agree.

Since we would all agree that the Scriptures are the final court of appeal on all these matters, how are readers of this blog to decide whether I am right or wrong about the things I write – things with which you disagree (e.g. everyone is going heaven and Jesus has already come again)?  I hope they will be like the Jews in Berea and not like the Jews in Thessalonica.

You know the story to which I’m referring.  It is recorded in Acts 17:1-14.  The Jews in both those cities believed that Messiah was coming and they also believed that there would one day be a resurrection of the dead.  I say this because such views were common to Jews in those days.  However, they did not expect that their Messiah would be crucified.  In fact, they expected something quite different.  That is, they expected Messiah to lead Israel to victory against the Romans and all foreign powers just as King David had subdued all Israel’s enemies a millennium before.  Therefore, the news that Paul brought the Jews in Thessalonica and Berea – that Messiah had been cruelly rejected by Israel’s leaders, executed by the Romans, and individually raised from the dead as a first fruit of the general resurrection created a dilemma.  Who was right – this traveling preacher from the city of Tarsus or all those rabbis who had been teaching the traditional expectations which they held?

The Thessalonian Jews rejected Paul’s message out of hand.  It was too different, too radical, too unexpected for them to even consider.  The Berean Jews, by contrast, “examined the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”  You and William17 are reacting as the Thessalonian Jews.  My prayer is that you – and if not you, at least the readers of our interactions – will react like the Bereans.  Since I give chapter and verse for the things I proclaim, I make things easier for people to examine the Scriptures themselves on all these issues.

Paul is famous to us, but he wasn’t famous to the people of Thessalonica and Berea.  He was just an itinerant preacher coming through town.  They certainly knew rabbis who were more famous and had better reputations than Paul.  And there were surely a lot more Jewish rabbis who disagreed with Paul than who agreed with him.  Those Jews who believed Paul did so not because he was better known than other teachers or because he outnumbered other teachers, but rather because they found in the Scriptures the truth of what he was saying.

There are many Bible teachers in the world – famous and unknown, living and deceased.  The only way to properly judge the rightness or wrongness of their respective teachings is comparison with the Scriptures.  To say “Let’s pay attention to the more famous ones,” or to say “Let’s pay attention to those in good standing with respected seminaries,” or to say “Let’s pay attention to what the majority of them say” are all attitudes consistent with the attitudes of the Jews in Thessalonica, which were ignoble when compared to the attitudes of the Jews in Berea.

The Scriptures remain the final court of appeal.  May anyone who stumbles across this blog be noble-minded enough to resolve their dilemmas there.

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18 Responses to Answering Bill Gordon

  1. Bill Gordon says:

    The reason I brought up your old seminaries, is they are diametrically opposed to your positions on many essential essential Christian doctrines you expound on here. Same reason why I brought up the names of some esteemed Christian theologians, though I could have brought up EVERY name anyone would have run across, they are all diametrically opposed to you. Why, because they are regenerate and spent years studying the Scriptures as their writings show. You think you have the ‘handle’ on things because you say the scriptures don’t agree with them, but you, only Mike Gantt can interpret the Scriptures correctly. Your interpretations are along the lines of cult groups I have run across and had discourses with, they don’t have a clue as the Holy Spirit has never regenerated them, they are spiritually dead.

  2. Mike Gantt says:

    What’s the point of anyone reading the Bible if the only thing they’re allowed to think about it is whatever is written in the theology books you think are correct?

  3. Bill Gordon says:

    You said that you don’t need to read anything on hell from Ligonier, RC, and Mac because they interpret the Scriptures on hell wrong, but Mike Gantt interprets Scripture dealing with hell correctly. How stupid can you get. Your blog is all about how Mike Gantt interprets Scripture, and there is more heretical things written on doctrine here than almost any blog I’ve ever run across. But oh no, all the great theologians are wrong, they don’t interpret Scripture right on these issues, but the cult-like interpretations here are absolutely right!

  4. Mike Gantt says:

    It doesn’t matter what I say, nor does it matter what R. C. Sproul and John MacArthur say. It only matters what the Scriptures say.

    • Bill Gordon says:

      On this blog it’s all about what Mike says the Scriptures say, not what the Scriptures actually say.

      http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/biblical-evidence-hell/

      • Mike Gantt says:

        I am happy for people to compare what Ligonier says about hell at your link with what I say about it in The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven. Then people can decide for themselves which more faithfully represents what the Scriptures actually say.

        There are several problems with the Ligonier article. Perhaps the most fundamental one is that it ignores the Old Testament, which is, of course, the context in which all New Testament discussions take place. Therefore, it’s like trying to understand a movie when you don’t even come to the theater until 3/4’s of the way through it. Tyler’s comment below about Isaiah is particularly pertinent to this point.

        • Bill Gordon says:

          There is no comparison. Like I said before, we’re about the same age, I’ve been regenerated since my early 20’s, about 40 years now. Been involved in many ministries. Have accumulated quite a library, which you don’t seem crazy about. 🙂 I have never run across one person, either in person or in print, who believes in the things you do. I have 1,000’s of followers on social media, not one person has your perspective. Much of your theology smacks of the Emergent Church, they don’t believe in hell and everyone goes to heaven. I’m just trying to help. I would think that the fact your 2 seminary schools, plus every other seminary that I would attend, are, as I mentioned, diametrically opposed to you on almost every doctrine you are espousing here. Jesus has come again, no longer in the church age, no hell, everyone goes to heaven, no Trinity, you are the ONLY person that I have ever run across in 40 years that is teaching ALL of that. There are many cults that teach one or more of those things, but I have never run across any group/person that teaches all of them. I skimmed the comments on many of your threads, 100’s of comments calling you out for what you are doing, very sad really. Nairobi – ‘This is ridiculous. I believe you are a reprobate. Saying that everyone goes to heaven is absolutely absurd. U R a master at twisting the scriptures.’ Jonnie – ‘He (Mike) will be judged for this false doctrine he is teaching.’ Anon. – ‘I can see why the people left your church.’ Brad – ‘False, not one person agrees with you, except maybe an atheist.’ Jose – ‘Mike needs to repent.’ S. Brewer – ‘Do not cast your pearls before the swine, false prophets and teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, be not deceived. This is the guy God’s word is warning about.’ Anon. – ‘Idolator, created a
          God in your own mind.’ I als did a Google search on you, saw your MANY comments on other’s blogs backing up what you’re doing here. You said ‘One day the spirit whispered in my soul, while I was in prayer, that everyone was going to heaven.’ A ‘spirit’ whispered’ to you, hate to say this to you Mike, but I strongly doubt if that ‘spirit’ was the Holy Spirit, but a demonic spirit. Led you into all this ‘stuff’ you’re doing. I pray you will get hold of yourself Mike, you don’t like that I tell you that every reputable seminary, not just your two, and every theologian I’ve run across in print, disagree with you on every one of these doctrines I mentioned. To anyone else that would mean a LOT, for you it means absolutely nothing, as your attitude is that you have THE handle on what the Scriptures mean, and if ANYONE else disagrees they are all wet, doesn’t matter who they are, they don’t have a clue. Oh well, I tried.

  5. Tyler says:

    As with government schooling, so is organized religion schooling, people just can’t grasp that their teachers are wrong. Isaiah clearly and precisely tells what hell is, it is the spirit of burning and the spirit of judgement. That takes place here on Earth. Religious organizations and the government use the fear of death to take advantage of their followers, Jesus came to free us from the fear of death. If our earthly body dissolves, we know we have a body eternal in heaven. Do not follow any hireling, follow the true Shepherd that gives his life for the sheep. The hirelings only do it for the money. MacArthur is rich off his followers.

  6. Mike Gantt says:

    Bill,

    I appreciate what you write and the spirit in which you write it.

    There are just two specific things I’d like to say in response to your last comment, and then ask you a question.

    1. Regarding the Emergent Church, I do not share their views on several very important issues. They seem to exalt church over Jesus, conversation over the Bible, and being hip in the sight of people over being right in the sight of God. Its leaders – like Brian McLaren and Shane Claiborne – seem to be offering warmed-over liberal Christianity as if it’s new theology. To my mind, places like Covenant and Fuller are much closer to the truth than is the Emergent Church.

    2. Regarding all the respected Christian voices who take positions different from mine, I do not regard them lightly. On the contrary, I part company from them on the issues you mention only because I believe the Scripture leaves me no choice. As you rightly said, it was a whisper in my heart that first alerted me to everyone going to heaven, but I never preached it to another soul until I had searched out the Scriptures and confirmed what I’d heard. I do not at like at all preaching truths which Christian authorities I respect consider heresy. Yet these same authorities would be the first to tell me that when I perceive a difference between what men are saying and what God is saying I must always choose what God is saying. After all, we are Protestants and for us Sola Scriptura is not just boilerplate language that we salute. Rather, it is the hill we chose to die on. For if we are not willing to let Scripture reign, we belong either with the Greek Orthodox Church or the Roman Catholic Church – and, of course, that choice has complications of its own.

    Now for my question: Why do you believe Jesus is Lord? That is, what is the basis for your faith in Him when everything else is taken away? When you tell me your answer, I will tell you mine. (If you’re too impatient to wait for mine, all you have to do is search my blogs for you will find the answer there; I have been forthright about it.)

  7. Cindy Peck says:

    Mike is not alone in his understanding of The Lord. Just because Bill has never met others who trust in Jesus alone and do not rely on mans wisdom doesn’t mean they aren’t in the world. Just as Paul taught about the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God in Acts, some believed and some did not. Since Jesus said: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it, I would be cautious of putting all my hope and beliefs in what the majority believes. You will never have the revelation of Christ Jesus until you follow his instruction of ‘repent’ (which simply means change the way you think) The Kingdom of God is at hand (which is the good news!)Mark 1:15.

    • Bill Gordon says:

      Everyone I have ever met in 40 years of ministry that have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit trust in Jesus alone for their salvation. (Acts 4:12; John 14:6, etc.) You have misconstrued what I have been saying, I have been sharing scripture and links to what the Bible says about the doctrines that Mike is talking about. This blog is all about Mike’s wisdom. Have you read what any of the what must be 1,000 comments on this blog are saying, almost no one agrees with anything he says and believes. I shared some of the comments above. I have also shared that I have never run across anyone like Mike in 40 years of ministry, that deny the many essential Christian doctrines that he does and which every other reputable seminary, theologian, and person I have known disagree STRONGLY with him on every point. Like the well known theologian R.C. Ryle said ‘Disbelieve hell, and you unscrew, unsettle, and unpin everything in Scripture.” Ryle, as always, is right on the mark. Mike believes that Jesus has already returned a second time, that the church age is over, everyone goes to heaven, there is no Trinity, and other anti-scriptural things. Ryle is right, Mike doesn’t believe in hell so everything else he believes, and tries to teach, is corrupt to the max, heresy to the core. The only people I have run across that teach any of those doctrines are cults, like the JW’s, etc. I have NEVER run across anyone who teaches ALL the things he does, a very sad situation. No one could be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and have the Spirit teach them these things, only an unregenerate person who does not have the Holy Spirit could teach these heresies. Mike says that he doesn’t call himself a Christian, amen to that.

      • Cindy Peck says:

        I do not need to go back and read all the comments. I have heard it all before. Jesus said: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. You have mentioned your “40 years of ministry” and all the reputable seminary, theologian, and people you have known. Seems you think you already have all the riches of God. But I would be cautious if I were you. As in the days of Jesus, the Pharisees and religious leaders of his time thought they knew God and did not. They did not recognize His coming!

        Once I learned about the Kingdom of God everything else opened up to me. Like Jesus said, REPENT for the Kingdom of God is at hand. The very first thing you must do is repent and change the way you think. Most people in your position will not do that because they have to much to lose. Again, you must lose your life to find it. How much of your life have you died to? I had to lose my old southern baptist way of thinking and from what I know of Mike, he left behind his congregation and old beliefs to find truth. And so it has been with everyone, and there are many around the world, who have all said, ‘LORD, I DO NOT CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK OR SAY, YOU SHOW ME THE TRUTH” My journey began when I took it upon myself to read Gods word from cover to cover. I have to say it created more questions and went against a lot of what I had heard in the traditional church. Maybe you have began that journey. How did you find Mikes blog? Doesn’t sound like something you would be interested in. Or perhaps The Lord led you here for a reason. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all else shall be given unto you. Seek and ye shall find. I am so grateful I to have found the true riches but it did take a pressing into His Kingdom and it did not come without tribulation. The Kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent take it by force. Are you willing to do that? My guess is no but my prayer is you would humble yourself as a child and start with a teachable spirit. The choice is yours but that is what it takes to lose yourself.

        As for hell I believe it is everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord for those who do not know God. Eternal damnation, everlasting punishment. After all, Jesus said that eternal life is to KNOW the only true God.

        I use to believe in a Disneyland type return of Christ as Hollywood and The Left Behind Series would have us believe but as Hebrews 9:26-28 states, he has already returned the second time for our/my salvation. And continues to do so from generation to generation. 2 Corn. 5:16 tells me I will never see Christ in the flesh. Why? because it is a spiritual walk. You know — God is a Spirit and those that worship him must worship him in Spirit and Truth.

        When Jesus came he brought us a new heaven and earth where in dwelleth righteousness. It is spiritual! That is where you find the new heaven and earth. IN HIM. His Kingdom is not of this world!

        And as for church…..As God truly began to move in my life he led me away from organized religion and showed me I am the church. It is his people not a place or building. So now instead of “going” to church, I strive to be the church everywhere I go!

        The word trinity isn’t even in the Bible. That was a red flag for me. Just another example of the numerous man made attempts to explain things they do not know. 1 Corn 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

        I am not here to debate or argue what I believe. His Kingdom is the only thing that has brought true transformation to my life and not of my own doing but Christ alone as he has revealed himself IN me. By opening my spiritual eyes and ears. For every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights and I praise Him for it. Every man needs to study to shew thyself approved unto God. Examine yourself that your are eating and drinking of the Lord worthily, and whether ye be in the faith. You must be convinced in your own mind. May the Lord Christ lead you by his light into all truth. Regardless, Phillippians 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice!!

  8. Bill Gordon says:

    JC Ryle

  9. Mike Gantt says:

    Bill,

    Neither J. C. Ryle, nor any of the other Christian authors you have cited, know me. Nor have they read anything I have written. Therefore, you are putting words in their mouths when you say they would reject me and call me regenerate as you have.

    Like them, I reject the teachings of those who say there is no hell. Like them, I reject the teachings of universalists who say the work of Christ for salvation doesn’t matter. Like them, I reject the teachings of preterists who say that the Second Coming occurred in 70 AD. Like them, I reject the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church which make the institutional church more important than the kingdom of God. Like them, I reject the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Like them, I reject the teachings of any group that tries to equate membership in it with membership in the kingdom of God. Like them, I sing “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back…though none go with me, no turning back.”

    Writers like J. C. Ryle have always encouraged me to put the word of God above the traditions of men. In following their advice, I have found God opening my eyes to things in Scripture that had been hidden before. Therefore, these writers remain my heroes as much as they are yours. If they ultimately condemn me for following their counsel, then so be it…but you do not have the right to speak for them. For my part, I believe many of them would commend what I am doing.

    • Bill Gordon says:

      Mike, of course Ryle doesn’t know you, is not talking about you specifically, he did live a few years back. He is talking about ANYONE who disbelieves hell is unscrewing, unsettling, and unpining Scripture. Meaning all of Scripture. Anyone who disbelieves hell would believe that everyone goes to heaven. Ryle is saying that person rejects Scripture, everything that person believes because of their denial of hell will be false and anti-Scriptural because as Ryle says they are ‘unpining scripture.’ I am speaking of what they teach, what the scriptures say. To say I am speaking for them is ridiculous, I am just sharing what they say. I think this quote by Ryle is very apropo for this blog which has at it’s centerpiece the denial of a literal eternal hell. Every one of these theologians who I have read for decades disagree with you, including Ryle, on all the points you make here – Hell, everyone goes to heaven, Christ has already come back, the church age is over, the denial of a Trinity, etc., etc. Not one of them would commend you for what you are doing because this blog goes entirely against everything they teach, and more importantly constantly ‘unpins’ scripture. I told you Mike I read that comment you made on another blog where you said ‘a spirit whispered to me about everyone going to heaven.’ I told you above that I doubted if it was God’s spirit, I imagine everyone on this blog who has strongly disagreed with you for the last 7 years would say that Satan whispered in your ear and has led you so far astray and away from the truths of the Scriptures. You have not listened to one person here who shared with you why you are astray, you are so dead set on the beliefs that Mike has come to believe. You are obviously a thousand miles from where you were in seminary school, as both school’s doctrinal statements, etc. refute everything you are teaching here. You seem like you could care less about that now, that if you would apply to those seminaries now and on your application state your beliefs you would be denied entry because of what the schools would consider aberrant beliefs that deny the teachings of Scripture.

  10. Mike Gantt says:

    “A humble and prayerful person will find a thousand things in the Bible, which the proud student will utterly fail to discern.” – J.C. Ryle

    • Bill Gordon says:

      J. C. Ryle was born May 10, 1816, this esteemed teacher of the Word of God was born 200 years ago last month!
      J. C. Ryle quotes:
      ‘Men’s ideas of the wrath to come may be judged of by the earnestness with which they exhort others to flee from it.”
      “Unless a man be born again he will wish one day he had never been born at all.”
      “Others may think it enough to mourn over dead bodies. For my part, I think there is far more cause to mourn over dead souls.”
      “The saddest road to hell is the one that runs under the pulpit, past the Bible, and thru the middle of warnings and invitations.”
      “The Bible is God’s merciful provision for man’s sinful soul – the map by which he must steer his course if he is to attain eternal life.”
      “I am more convinced as I grow older, that to keep our eyes fixed on the second coming of Christ is the secret of Christian peace.”
      “We know but little of true Christianity, if we do not feel a deep concern for the souls of unconverted people.”
      “There is only one door, one bridge, between earth and heaven – the crucified Son of God.”
      “Never till the hour when Christ comes the second time shall we realize the ‘sinfulness of sin.'”
      “Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just. Such a God is an idol of your own.”
      “There will be no universal peace until the Prince of Peace appears.”
      ‘We should no more tolerate false doctrine than we should tolerate sin.”
      “Hell itself is nothing more than truth known too late.”
      “The mere knowing Christ’s name will never save you. You must know His cross, and His blood, or you will die in your sins.”
      “Where there is no visible fruit of sanctification, we may be sure there is no election.”
      “READER – do you ever think? You have a soul as well as a body. You must die one day. After death comes judgment. Do you ever think?”
      “Scripture reveals to us there is no purgatory after the grave. Scripture teaches us that, once lost, we are lost forever.”
      “Live as if you thought that Christ might come at any time.”
      “Disbelieve hell, and you unscrew, unsettle, and unpin everything in Scripture.”
      “The true Christian is the only happy man, because he has sources of happiness entirely independent of this world.”
      “There are no impenitent people in heaven. All who enter have felt, mourned over, forsaken and sought pardon for sin in Christ.”
      “Grace shakes a man of his selfishness, and makes him feel for the souls of others.”

  11. Mike Gantt says:

    Bill,

    You never answered my question to you (Why do you believe Jesus is Lord? That is, what is the basis for your faith in Him when everything else is taken away?). That’s okay.

    I’m only bringing it up because I’ve written a new book, which speaks to the subject. You may want to read it.

    Finding Faith: The Historical Jesus in the Undisputed Paulines

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