The Devil Made Me Do It!?
No, My Denomination Made Me Do It!
by Ken Gardner

How could he have done what he did? He had a months-long adulterous relationship with a subordinate, a young lady the same age as his daughter, and then he denied it repeatedly and vehemently not only to his family and friends but also to an entire nation of people. Only when he was caught did he admit that he had been lying for months. How could he have done all this--he's a religious man! According to a recent magazine article "he was 'born again' on October 17, 1956, when he marched up the aisle--alone--at Park Place Baptist Church in Hot Springs to accept Jesus as his personal lord and savior." As a youngster he walked to church by himself, carrying his Bible. Even today reporters take pictures of him going to church, waving to crowds with Bible in hand.

How could he have done what he did? The answer is shocking and can be found in a recent article in Newsweek, entitled "Sin, Sex and Salvation" (November 2, 1998). Did the devil make him do it? No, but his denomination, believe it or not, does allows him to do what he did. Yes, that's right, it's OK to do what he did, according to the denomination he is a member of. The lead statement for the article is: "To understand Clinton the president, you have to meet Bill the Baptist, a believer whose faith leaves plenty of license." Excuse me--"plenty of license"!? The Newsweek article also says:

Like most Baptists, Clinton was taught that because he had been born again, his salvation is ensured. Sinning--even repeatedly--would not bar his soul from heaven.

So there you have it--guaranteed salvation, once saved, always saved, and you couldn't lose your salvation if you wanted to. Billy Graham has said that people will still be saved even if they live their lives in "complete disobedience" to God commands. A televangelist once said, "Isn't it wonderful to know, that if you have really been born again, there isn't any kind of sin you can commit, that will cause you to be lost." A Baptist preacher by the name of Sam Morris, of Stamford, Texas, wrote a tract many years ago entitled, "Do a Christian's Sins Damn His Soul?" No, says Mr. Morris, "The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul." He continues:

All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform, will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger. . . . The way a man lives has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul.

Another denominational publication has stated:

Any attempt on the part of a sinner to get right with God by anything he can DO, or has done, is an attempt to BRIBE GOD ALMIGHTY! Doing works of any kind, as a means of obtaining salvation, only adds sin to sin. Getting water baptized, joining "a church of your choice," the confessional, penance, etc., cannot make peace with God. . . . There is no salvation by right thinking, by doing good to others, nor by "the golden rule."

I guess nothing is sacrosanct with some people, not even the golden rule and the sermon on the mount. According to them, we can set aside and disregard all that Jesus said about godly living, without fear of any punishment whatsoever. And even one of our own brethren has said, "It is a scandalous and outrageous lie to teach that salvation arises from human activity. We do not contribute one whit to our salvation."

And thus it seems that even religions are condoning immoral behavior. I understand Voltaire once said, "If we believe in absurdities, we shall commit atrocities." Where does this kind of thinking lead, this idea that we don't have to repent of our sins, that we can do as we please and never lose our salvation? You know where it leads--it leads to more and more immorality. There's a church in Dallas that is trying to convince people that it is just like most other protestant denominations--they believe in salvation by faith only, apart from anything we do, and once you're saved, you're always saved, you can never lose your salvation, and it doesn't matter how you live your life. The preacher, a Mr. Jerry Cook, says, "The very tenets of the evangelical faith are that you ask Jesus Christ to be your lord and savior. Then you're a Christian." The church's "doctrinal statement includes the basics, such as a belief that salvation is secured by a personal belief in Jesus Christ, and a literal heaven and hell." So the members of this church believe in Jesus and thus, according to commonly-accepted denominational doctrine, they are Christians, they are saved. But guess what? This church is the White Rock Community Church--which is a homosexual church! The Bible teaches that the devils believe and are lost (James 2:14-26), and today's denominations teach that adulterers and homosexuals who believe are not lost!

What more can we say to show the fallacy of the teachings of most denominations today? Yes, there are many general statements in God's word telling us we are saved by faith, but these verses must be understood in the light of all that the Bible says. The fact of the matter is, true faith, saving faith, is active, working, and obedient. The Bible still says that faith without works is dead. In fact, James says it three times in James 2:14-26. Our faith works through love, and that's what is important: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6). Paul took steps to insure that he did not become a "castaway" (I Corinthians 9:27). He also said we are to "labor" if we want to be accepted by God: "Wherefore we labor, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him" (II Corinthians 5:9). According to one translation we are to "strive earnestly" to accepted of him.

Jesus said, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate" (Luke 13:24). But the denominations say we can sin and enter in. Whom are you going to listen to?