Luke 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
In 1997, a fringe religious cult named Heaven’s Gate made news headlines by committing mass suicide. I won’t go into the details behind this group’s delusional UFO-based religion. The only silver lining to this story was that it was a very small movement.
By way of contrast, there is a very large delusional religious group of loosely-affiliated false teachers and their followers that I will euphemistically nickname as “Heaven’s Gatekeepers.” Heaven’s gatekeepers are self-appointed guardians of grace, who have super-imposed their false religious beliefs onto the gospel. In so doing, they attempt to trod into the ground the seeds of the Sower by spreading counterfeit seeds.
So, what is the seed of the Sower, and who do Heaven’s Gatekeepers represent?
Luke 8:11-12: Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
According to the above verse, the seed of the Sower is the word of God. The devil is the one who would take the words out of the hearts of the hearers. It follows that those who counterfeit the gospel of Jesus Christ with their false gospels are doing the work of the devil.
John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
The Bible is explicitly clear that eternal life is received by grace through faith in Christ, that a person receives eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited from the first moment of belief, and that assurance of eternal life rests solely on God’s promise to the believer.
Alternatively, Lordship “salvation” (LS) encompasses myriad false teachings that emphasize the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works as essential accompaniments of (or even components of) faith in Christ. LS points to works as necessary to receiving, or at least providing evidence, that faith in Christ has indeed resulted in eternal life.
LS is one of the choice weapons of Heaven’s Gatekeepers. Let’s look at a few examples:
Repentance to be true, to be evangelical, must be a repentance which really affects our outward conduct… All sin must be given up, or else you shall never have Christ: all transgression must be renounced, or else the gates of heaven must be barred against you.
The above quote comes from famed 19th century preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who is often praised as “The Prince of Preachers,” and who is still quoted far and wide. Spurgeon contradicts God’s word by his cynical insistence that repentance, which he defines as turning from sin, is a requirement for receiving eternal life. This concept is completely alien to biblical scripture.
God does undoubtedly command us both to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; which if we willingly neglect, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all: therefore both repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, are, in some sense, necessary to justification.
This statement has been attributed to John Wesley, an 18th century theologian who started the Methodist movement within the Church of England. No matter his credentials, Wesley conditions the possession of eternal life on not willfully neglecting good works. Note that any assurance of eternal life would be impossible under this false condition, and any attempt at assurance would be mis-focused.
Just to say “believe in Christ” can produce a false assurance of the hope of Heaven. Jesus spoke often about the gift of eternal life. To make it clear, He said, “Count the cost.”
The late Billy Graham, often referred to as “the Protestant Pope,” made this ridiculous claim. Jesus never said that one must “count the cost” to receive eternal life. Eternal life is a free gift, with no cost or obligation to the recipient. Otherwise, it would be a trade.
You see, the outward change is often without the inward. However, the inward change is never without the outward…
Good intentions are not enough. Agreeing with what I have said here is not enough. You must admit you are a sinner, repent of that sin, and put your faith in Christ.
Greg Laurie, founder of the Harvest Crusades and the subject of the 2023 film “Jesus Revolution” made these false claims. He incorporates all three facets of LS – the promise of good works, the performance of good works, and the evidence of good works – in this phony gospel appeal.
(Following are some prominent members of the “faith community” who are on record as having endorsed Greg Laurie’s “Harvest Crusade”: Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Jack Graham, Ronnie Floyd, Robert Morris, George Wood, Tony Evans, Matt Chandler, Judd Wilhite, James MacDonald, Wayne Cordero, Craig Groeschel, Donald Akin, Kevin Ezell, James Merritt, Steve Gains, Sandy Adams, JD Greear, Frank Cox, Chuck Swindoll, Wilfredo “Choco” De Jesús, Levi Lusko, Bayless Conely, Max Lucado, Bart Millard, Jentezen Franklin, Phil Wickham).
Jesus is the straight gate and the narrow way that leads to life. Don’t listen to the foul flock of fowls who have appointed themselves as gatekeepers.
For more information about the free gift of eternal life, click here: The Gospel