Easy Believism

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Terry_Herrington, Apr 16, 2003.

  1. Terry_Herrington

    Terry_Herrington
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    In thread after thread I read about what is called, "easy believism." I believe that we are to preach the Gospel of Christ to a lost world. We are to say, as Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" Matt. 11:28-30(NIV).

    Since this, being Scripture is true, what is "easy believism?"
     
  2. Daniel David

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    Easy believism essentially denies the role of repentance. In order for a person to come to Jesus, he must repent of his current course of life and turn to the Lord.

    Paul lauded the Thessalonians for turning from idols to the true and living God.

    If a presentation is given without any mention of repentance, it is an incomplete gospel and easy believism.

    It also denies the role of repentance in what is commonly called sanctification. Repentance is something believers will do their entire life. As they grow in the Lord, they turn from more and more of the world.
     
  3. Don

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    More commonly, it refers to the practice of laying out the plan of salvation and "say this prayer and you'll be saved" without ensuring understanding, repentence, relationship, etc.
     
  4. Scott J

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    Genuine beliefs change attitudes and behaviors. Easy believism typically teaches that if you give assent to the basics of salvation and say a prayer then you are saved. Many go on to live a life of rebellion against God, some even in church, then die and go to hell.

    While there is no requirement to do works for a saved person, there should be a genuine will to please God. It isn't that we must be sanctified to be saved but rather that we will be sanctified if we are saved.
     
  5. Preacher Nathan Knight

    Preacher Nathan Knight
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    Exactly right Don. Easy Believism teaches salvation without conviction from the Holy Spirit. [​IMG]
     
  6. IfbReformer

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    We just got done going through all this in an thread on what perseverance of the saints means.

    Here is something that I think will save us all alot of time as to to where the various positions are:


    If a person professed faith in Christ but
    does not pursue a righteous life after that here is how it is explained by the various schools of thought:

    Means of Salvation and Lordship Salvation Views:
    The person was never saved.
    END RESULT: The person goes to hell.

    Loss of Salvation View(Arminian, Holiness, Charismatic):
    The person was saved and lost their salvation.
    END RESULT: The person goes to hell.

    Loss of Rewards, Eternal Security, Free Grace
    or as its opponents lovingly call it
    "Easybelievism" View
    :
    The person may still be saved and they
    have chosen to reject the prodding of the
    Holy Spirit and waste their life. They loose
    the rewards they could have had.
    END RESULT:The person goes to heaven

    Note of course that there are variations within each camp but the results the core propositions are the same.

    Two of the positions - The Means of Salvation and Lordship Salvation views as well as the Loss of Salvation views see a person professes faith but who does not lead a righteous life as going to hell.

    The Loss of Rewards, Eternal Security, or "Easybelivism" position says it is possible for someone to trust in Christ and not build on that foundation by leading a righteous and holy life yet they are saved simply by their trusting in Christ for their Salvation but they are saved "so as by fire".

    "repentance" is also a key phrase in that both camps believe in it as they do in "persevarance".

    They simply define them differently.

    "repentence" as defined by Loss of Rewards crowd is one of changing ones mind about Christ and accepting him as Savior.

    "repentence" as defined by the Lordship Salvation and Loss of Salvation crowds is to turn from one's sin and become holy in this sin cursed "corruptable" body before we receive our glorified body.

    Some teach "progressive sanctifacation" which can be defined various ways but it basically means we get more and more righteous each day. Some extreme positions on this view are ones like "entire santifaction" which used to be taught by Methodists in which it is possible for someone to actually achieve sinless perfection while in this corruptable body.

    "perseverance" as it is defined by the Loss of Rewards view or "Easybelievism" is that we will continue to trust in Christ(through his power) for our salvation.(although some would not agree with even this)

    "perseverance" as it is defined by the Lordship position says those who are saved "must" or as they say "will" do good works and become more and more righteous each day. Those who do not prove they are not nor were ever saved.

    So if you have not guessed I lean toward the Free Grace or Eternal Security position. This does not mean I agree with everyone in that Camp.

    IFBReformer
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    IFB'ers have long criticized groups like Billy Graham and Campus Crusade for simplifying the Gospel to the point where the Holy Spirit is not needed! Mental assent to "believing" in Jesus is all that is called for.

    Sadly, many of these same IFB'ers practice the very thing they condemn! Soul winning blitzes, bus calling, children's church, long 52-verses of 'Just As I Am' with psychological manipulative invitations each Sunday . . well, you name it and in the name of "evangelism" they are presenting the same "easy believism".

    Matter of fact, I see more lasting results and genuine conversions in Campus Crusade than in our two hylesish ifb churches in Casper. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Artimaeus

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    The Gospel is EASY to understand.
    The Gospel is EASY to believe.
    Living the Christian life...now, that's a whole new ballgame.

    Getting married is EASY.
    Having a successful marriage...now that's a whiole new ballgame.

    I believe in easy believism, it is easy and simple...and the most difficult thing I have ever done.
     
  9. Terry_Herrington

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    Dr. Bob,

    It seems like you want to make coming to Christ so difficult that many will not come. I know that, "broad is the way that leads to destruction and narrow is the way that leads to life," but should we attempt to keep people from responding to the Gospel? I am speaking in general terms and do not mean for this to be a personal attack toward you; I don't know what is in your heart.

    I find that so many here are against invitations, against bus ministries, against children's church that I find it hard to see how they ever reach the lost. Are we to simply sit quietly in our church buildings and hope God will just send them in? I attribute a lot of this to the doctrine of Calvinism, and although I do not know a lot about all the intricacies of this doctrine (I am trying to be nice and did not use the adjective false), I feel that it is responsible for Christians becoming so involved with theology, they neglect reaching the lost.

    I would rather be associated with a group of Christians who may not cross all the t's or dot all the i's but still have a heart for the lost.

    In order to be fair, I must say that I have not done nearly enough in my life and have wasted many years backsliding and have been too much in love with myself so I am not looking down my nose at anyone.

    I have come to realize now, however, that if we don't preach the Gospel of Christ and get busy sharing this wonderful message with the lost we are not accomplishing what we are supposed to be doing.

    BTW, I like Campus Crusade for Christ and I like Billy Graham. Mr. Graham has not allowed the study of theology stop him from accomplishing what God would have all of us to do, faithfully present Christ to a dying world.
     
  10. HankD

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    Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other...
     
  11. Scott J

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    Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other...
    </font>[/QUOTE]Without being exactly sure what you are trying to imply...

    Jesus was comparing a truly repentant sinner with a Pharisee- under the law BTW. The publican was "justified"- corrected. There is every reason to believe that his behavior would have testified to his change of heart.

    Surely we all know people who mentally agree with the facts of the gospel and even say the "sinner's prayer" without any real change in attitude or behavior. It has to reach the core level of our spirit. It must change who we are from the inside- out.
     
  12. Terry_Herrington

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    Scott J said,
    "Surely we all know people who mentally agree with the facts of the gospel and even say the "sinner's prayer" without any real change in attitude or behavior."

    I would say that people who don't have any change of attitude or behavior do not really agree with the facts of the Gospel. They simply say that they do.
     
  13. Scott J

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    Absolutely not. But that isn't the question nor is it whether being saved is easy or not. The question is what kind of response to the gospel does the Bible teach us to expect? If salvation involves us becoming a new spiritual creature then should we expect no change of behavior or attitude?

    There are folks who will feel guilty, weep bitter tears, know that the gospel is true, and say a prayer then walk away and never show any evidence of spiritual life. I am sorry but if someone never has a pulse or brain wave... we bury them because they are dead. Jesus says that those who in Him will bear fruit. This fruit identifies them.
    I prefer a very simple invitation such as "if you would like to speak to someone, please come up after the closing prayer..." We aren't selling used cars. The power of the gospel isn't in whether a preacher can manipulate someone into responding to an invitation. The power of the gospel is when it is preached and the Holy Spirit moves the sinner.
    They have their place... and their abuses.
    I teach children's church and am a stauch supporter.
    The best ways are not always part of a program but rather as a Christian submits to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
    The interesting thing about your misunderstanding here is that God uses calvinists to reach the lost, ie. Edwards, Spurgeon, et al. Whether purposefully or ignorantly, you are blending calvinism with hyper-calvinism. I don't know a genuine calvinist that thinks Christians should not evangelize the lost.

    I think you draw a false dichotomy between concern for doctrinal issues and concern for the gospel with regard to calvinists. I am considered calvinistic. Yet the usual attendance for our "soul-winning"/church building/door knocking effort consists of the pastor, my 8 and 10 year old sons, and me. A very elderly deacon comes as faithfully as he can.

    I am not willing to give into the false notion that you cannot have good sound doctrine and a heart for the lost.
    Me too. Sadly, this is not an affliction limited by our theological perspectives.

    This is why calvinists can be just as evangelistic as non-calvinists. It is a matter of obedience to spread the gospel and make disciples.

    The calvinist perspective simply makes it much easier to understand that people are saved by God through using us to bring sinners to Himself- as opposed to emphasizing our efforts and skill at "soul-winning".
     
  14. Scott J

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    Exactly!!! But they frequently give an outward appearance of doings so... even to the point of strong emotional demonstrations and grand affirmations of the truth.
     
  15. HankD

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    "Under the law BTW" Just a passing thought, is it more or less difficult under grace to be justified?

    My objection:
    "Easy believism" IMO is an improper or at best a confusing label because for those who are regenerate believing is not only easy it is our second-nature. For the unregenerate "believing" is not only difficult it is impossible.

    If "easy-believism" is not true faith what is it? "difficult-believism", "not-easy-believism"?

    In reality only God can see the heart.
    As with the Corinthian Christians sometimes we must be patient and "correct" the sinful behavior of the carnal Christians with whom we have to do. A positive response to the Scripture and the refining work of the Holy Spirit are the determing factors in time.

    To simply slap a label on an individual's faith as "easy believism" because they don't live up to our shibboleths (usually those made by "mature" Christians) can cause more harm than good by discouraging the babe in Christ and causing doubt.

    Not only that it has been my observation that when the subject of "easy-believism" comes up, quite often a game of spiritual oneupsmanship gets going as to the requirements of "not-easy-believism".

    What is even worst is that this game has apparently been played on a global level by those who have lived in the worst kind of sin (all the while making profession of Christ) and later "repented" when the sin became evident.
    This by both the "easy-believers" and the "difficult-believers"
    Not that they were not saved or have not truly repented, but I am reminded of the following Scripture :

    Luke 6:42 ...how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

    Here is my concern (for what it's worth):
    I have wondered how many of God's children have indeed come to Jesus Christ then said the "sinners prayer" only to be told by someone later that they were not really saved thereby wounding them.

    Again, acceptance of the truths of Scripture and a positive response to the leading of the Holy Spirit often, if not always, takes time to bear fruit in the life of the believer.

    If after some time has passed (who knows how much?) and the "believer" openly denies the deity of Christ (for instance) and/or lives in open sin, then, if it is ours to do so or the Spirit leads, we need to counsel them, once or twice as the Scripture directs concerning the reality of their faith.

    My opinion, of course.

    HankD
     
  16. Scott J

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    If this is what you think Easy believism is then you are confused about the term. Easy believism specifically involves the unregenerate going through the motions of conversion- being deceived and deceving others about their spiritual state.

    I would never advocate the view that genuine Christians will never fail or be barren. I had several barren years myself. But a person cannot be saved and go on to never produce spiritual fruit.

    That is not the means or motive. First Baptist of Hammond would be a good case study for you. Plenty of "shibboleths" as well as numerous reported false conversions through easy believism.
    I would share that concern and add this one. How many lost people have been innoculated to the gospel by being told that reciting a form prayer assured them of a home in heaven?

    No doubt about it... but it will bear fruit. That life will not remain fruitless forever. Also, the attitude will begin to change immediately. The behavior follows the change of will.
     
  17. IfbReformer

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    While I believe the whole Lordship salvation and mean of salvation advocates mean well they do not realize the implications of what they are saying.

    You say repentance is required for salvation - we agree, but is a change of mind of about who we are who Christ is. It is the acknowledgment that we are sinners in the presense of a Holy God. We have broken God's Law and the penalty eternal damnation. It is accepting the Jesus Christ(God in flesh) paid that penalty for us. It is accepting the fact that we can do nothing to merit our salvation.

    You and other say "While there is no requirement to do works for a saved person, there should be a genuine will to please God. It isn't that we must be sanctified to be saved but rather that we will be sanctified if we are saved."

    My fellow brothers in the Lord - "must" and "will" are the same thing whether you realize it or not.

    Your ideology causes people to think they must(not will) do good works in order to prove they are Christians. They are left with wondering whether they have done enough to prove this to you.

    Instead, what is the biblical motivation for doing good works as Christian - is it to prove we are Christians or is it as an act of love for Christ?

    When I have taught Sunday School my motivation to my students for commitment to ministries at church and holy living was not to prove that they were Christians but to show there love for Christ.

    When I tell my students not to commit adultery it is not to prove that they are Christians - it is to show their love for Christ and protect them from pain and suffering it can cause them in this life.

    Sin hurts us here and now - even if it does not cost our eternal salvation. That is the motivator - not that we will loose our salvation(as the arminians say) or that we must prove we are Christian(as the Lordship and means of salvation groups say).

    The common thing I find among Lordship advocates(I attended a church where the Pastor preached a series on it(he as a Lordship proponent)) - is that they tend to be very judgmental. They look at someone and they say -"well he can't be a Christian because he does this...." or "she probably isn't a Christian because she does not do this...."

    Guys I know where you are coming from - I used to look at things very similiar to you until I realized how unbiblical it is.

    Bottom line - I see absolutely no difference between saying you have to do good works to maintain your salvation and saying you do good works to prove you are a Christian. There is no difference.

    Romans 9:14-16(NIV)
    "What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
    "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
    and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy."


    Galatians 3:2-3(NIV)
    "I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"

    IFBReformer
     
  18. IfbReformer

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    repentance - is really key to this discussion. Both sides believe in it but they define it differently.

    repentance means a change of mind about something.

    Free Grace or "Easy Believism" advocates believe the repentance required for salvation is change in mind about the our condition.

    We must acknowledge that we are sinners(a difficult thing for most of us to do) and acknowledge we are in need of a savior. We must accept the free pardon of sin by the blood of Christ for us on the cross. The very fact the we must acknowledge that we are sinners is very biblical for salvation and I think for any believer when they come to Christ their will be a godly sorrow for their sinful state.

    Lordship or Means of Salvation advocates on the other hand, believe that repentance is not only changing ones mind about being a sinner and needing a savior, but actually turning from and stopping sinning.

    I think that they do not realize though that when they were saved they did not really turn from their sin - maybe they gave up a bad habit or two, but they did not really "turn from" or leave their sin. They probably sinned within the first five minutes after they were saved.

    The difference was five minutes after they were saved the Holy Spirit begins to convict them about their sin. They can then choose to something about that conviction or grieve the Spirit by ignoring it.

    In some churches I have even heard Pastors of the Lordship persuasion say if a Christian has a bad habit(like smoking or ect...) or some other kind of habitual sin they have never been able to have victory over they may never have really been saved. This is where the LordShip and Means of Salvation mentality leads.

    IFBReformer
     
  19. Scott J

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    No. Actually, I believe that you are wrong about the implications of what I am saying.

    Both.
    No objection to any of this.

    No. They are not the same thing. "Will" does not demand compulsion but simply says that something is going to happen in the future and in fact implies a positive choice on the part of the believer. "Must" asserts an obligation, in this case, against one's will.

    I hope not but that would in no way disprove the idea.

    Rather, this ideology simply agrees with scripture that when someone is made a new creation in Christ- behavior changes and they bear fruit as evidence of the change.
    Frankly, no one has to prove anything to me. There are several folks from my church to whom Jesus is not manifestly Lord. I don't know if they are saved and wouldn't judge them... only pray for them. God may have a work to do in their life that I know nothing of. I can be satisfied with that since these folks hear the gospel and exhortations to bear fruit- it is up to the Holy Spirit to move them, not me.

    It is an act of love and obedience toward Christ. Do you have a citation from someone leaning toward Lordship salvation that says any different?

    Ditto.

    This is a mischaracterization. It is not a matter of proving but a matter of natural outcome.

    If you planted an apple tree this spring it never produced even a single new leaf... and it became dry and brittle. The question wouldn't be "Is it an apple tree?". The question would be "Is it dead or alive?"

    Are you sure this is an outcome of this particular belief? I have been around alot of 1-2-3 pray with me types and find them the most judgmental of all.

    How many scriptures do you require to prove that genuine conversion results in genuine change?

    Your failure to see it not withstanding, I do not ascribe to the notion that one must prove their salvation. I ascribe to the notion that God will change the redeemed and conform them to the image of Christ.
     
  20. Thankful

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    Thank you for explaining this in a simple way because I believe the plan of salvation and presenting it is simple and easy. It is so easy that many people think that it is too easy to be true. With this explanation, I see the difference in what you are referring to as easy believism.

    I see your point: A person must repent of their sins. Ask God to forgive their sins. Invite Jesus into his life as Savior and Lord. Thank Jesus for entering his life and commit himself to live for Jesus.

    "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
    Romans 10:9

    There should be a change in the person's behavior, a repentance of sin.
     

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