Published 4/18/07 and 4/22/07 – Daily Oklahoman
The thousands of Christian Doctors of Theology and lesser educated preachers in our country who are supposedly experts in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and the English language do not even know the simple Biblical definitions of faith and grace. What makes this so important and scary is that they can not possibly understand correctly any Scripture which contains the words faith or grace. One of the most important Scriptures of salvation is Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith…” and every Christian should understand and be able to explain it clearly. Although people can get “saved” without knowing the definition of faith or grace by seeking and calling out to Christ with all their hearts, it would be much simpler and more people would want to become Christians if our leaders, especially all of those who for years have been living off charitable contributions, were able to explain the Scriptures correctly.
I have heard Dr. Dobson, Dr. Duplantis, Dr. Hagee, Dr. Kennedy, Dr. Price, Dr. Schuller, Dr. Stanley, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Andrew Wommack, T.D. Jakes and Hank Hanegraaff (who as the Bible Answer-man is supposed to know-it-all) along with many others on national TV and radio programs misuse the words faith and grace so badly that they create more confusion and cause more harm than if they had not spoken of them at all. Their lack of knowledge and understanding of basic faith and grace also causes them to be confused about other Biblical truths which are based on faith and grace. The lack of understanding and the resulting confusion is being evidenced by the demise of the Christian influence in our nation. With all of these preachers’ great confessions of faith and grace, there is very little noticeable response in our society of God backing up and honoring what they are saying and claiming. Proverbs 30:5-6 states, “Every Word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. (6) Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” This Scripture explains what is presently happening in our society: God is not backing up and confirming the words of our Christian leaders because they are unintentionally, through ignorance, adding so much impurity to God’s Word by their lack of knowledge and understanding. In the following material, I will show what they have been defining and teaching as faith and grace is completely incorrect. Since in Ephesians 2:8 above it states we are “saved by grace through faith,” I will discuss faith first.
FAITH: One of the most common beliefs throughout all the many Christian denominations is that God has blessed mankind with a definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1, which states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This would be awesome, except that Hebrews 11:1 is not a definition! It talks about faith but does not define faith, a very critical difference.
Hebrews 11:1, quoted above, says that when my hopes are fulfilled, I have evidence that unseen faith was the substance present and manifested to fulfill the hopes. It only tells me how to recognize the manifestation of faith in my life.
For example, suppose I see my windmill blades turning. I could say, “Wind is the substance fulfilling my hope, to turn the blades, which is the evidence of things unseen, the wind.” Wind causes the blades to turn, thus, fulfilling my hope. Because my hope is being fulfilled, that is evidence the unseen wind is manifested at the windmill, performing the actions necessary to turn the blades. I can then say, “Wind is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This does not define wind; it only tells when unseen wind is manifested at the windmill. To define wind, I would have to talk about movement of air molecules.
Similarly, when I flip a light switch and the light brightens I could say, “Electricity is the substance that fulfilled my hope for the light to come on. I have evidence the unseen electricity is present because I see the shining light.” Therefore, “Electricity is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This statement does not define electricity. It only talks about electricity and tells that electricity is manifested or present at the light if my hope is fulfilled by the light shining. I would have to discuss charged ions and electron movement to define electricity.
Imagine the condition of meteorology and electrical engineering if universities taught the above “definitions” of wind as “the substance of things hoped for, to turn windmill blades, even though we can not see the wind,” and electricity as “the substance of things hoped for, to turn on lights, even though we can not see the electricity.” Weather forecasts would really be a joke, and we would still be using kerosene lamps. As foolish as the above “definitions” of wind and electricity are, our Christian community is using a similar ridiculous definition of faith. Our leaders talk about faith but do not know what faith is!
Preachers give almost any imaginable discussion on Christian TV and radio trying to explain Hebrews 11:1 as “God’s definition of faith.” This erroneous “definition” with the many personal interpretations is a reflection of the error being taught in the seminaries and preached across our nation. God will not back up these teachings about faith by our Christian community, because He only backs up and honors His pure Word. Any teaching based on Hebrews 11:1 being the definition of faith will have a foundation of error.
GRACE: One Sunday morning on a beautiful beach in the Caribbean while sitting with a US Congressman on one side, a US Senator on the other and a margarita in one hand, the devil answers his cell phone with the other hand to take a live report from one of his demons. “Hey boss! Everything is great! Dr. Stanley, Dr. Kennedy, Dr. Duplantis, Dr. Hagee, Dr. Shuller, Dr. Price, Kenneth Copeland, Richard Roberts, Andrew Wommack and 15,000 other preachers started their sermons this morning with ‘Grace is God’s unmerited favor!’” The devil is so excited he jumps up shouting for joy, spilling his drink all over the Congressman. The shocked Senator shouts, “What in the world is so joyful about that?” The devil replies, “When my word is first or above God’s Word, their messages will not hurt me at all or benefit the people, since God only backs up and confirms His pure exalted Word of truth.” Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life …,” in John 17:17 says God’s Word is truth and in Psalms 138:2 God has magnified His true Word above all His name. When anyone says that grace is God’s unmerited favor, the statement is totally untrue and creates confusion; it is straight from the devil.
All of the ministers mentioned above and thousands of others, who have been living off God’s Word and charitable contributions for most of their lives, should all know that “unmerited” is a characteristic of grace but not a defining word for grace. “Unmerited” could be correctly used to describe favor, since it is possible that favor can be earned or “merited.” For example, an employee can earn favor by doing a good job. To use “unmerited” as a defining word for grace would imply that there are two graces, merited and unmerited. “Unmerited” is a general characteristic of grace, mercy, compassion and all forms of God’s love. We, mankind, do not deserve or merit any of God’s love; therefore, “unmerited” is not a specific word to distinguish grace from any other form or manifestation of God’s love.
For example, “unmerited” is not a defining word specific to grace any more than “vehicle” is a defining word specific to define the automobile you drive. It is true you drive a “vehicle,” but that does not specify whether it is a truck, car, tractor, motorcycle or road grader. “Vehicle” is common to all drivable motorized machines just like “unmerited” is common to all of God’s love.
Also, it is totally incorrect to use “favor” to describe grace! All theologians and ministers, whether they are trained in Hebrew and Greek or not, should know from a simple use of a concordance that every time the word grace was incorrectly interpreted and used in the Old Testament Scriptures, it should have been in all cases favor or mercy. Dr. Hagee teaches on national TV that anyone who believes there was no grace in the Old Testament is scripturally illiterate. The Psalmist says there was no grace in the Old Testament in Psalms 25:10, “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” The Apostle John agrees in John 1:17 where he states, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Grace is a New Testament word describing the New Covenant relationship between God and mankind! These are simple truths that should be like grade school facts to the thousands of doctors of theology and ministers across our country.
Stating that grace is “God’s unmerited favor” is totally incorrect, only adding or creating confusion which is from the devil, who rejoices when ministers use his lie. Anyone who reads this information and of his free will choice continues to share that grace is “God’s unmerited favor” will be personally choosing to be in unbelief. The person will be intentionally creating confusion and speaking despite, insult and scorn, unto God’s true and wonderful Spirit of grace, as stated in Hebrews 10:29, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” The Spirit of grace is a special manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and it is a very serious situation or condition to willfully speak against the Holy Spirit.
CONCLUSION: I have not given the definition of faith or grace since there are so many other words which are also being misused: such as, doubt, fear, devil, belief, unbelief, trust, fasts, Trinity, gifts, baptisms, mercy, charity and even sin. Sin used as “missing-the-mark” is so incorrect that it is a contributing factor to our “sinless” society which does not fear God and recognize the need of a “Savior” from sin. With incorrect definitions of these words, God’s pure Word that He will honor is shielded from the reader in all of the hundreds of Scriptures which contain them, and therefore, the true pure gospel, or Word of God, is not being preached across our nation or around the world. This results in conflicting powerless interpretations of Scriptures, which cause confusion among Christians and are a poor witness to non-Christians of our nation. We all need to get different versions of the Bible and a concordance to research and seek the truth of God’s Word if we care for ourselves, our families and our nation. We can not wait for and expect our leaders to tell us the truth, for they have only been taught how to explain the Bible according to the beliefs of their group or denomination, which is not necessarily the true Word of God. There are a lot of smart, dedicated, sincere, moral people in every denomination, but they obviously can not all be correct since some teach the exact opposite of others. Jesus points out that many people will think their condition with God is correct but tragically find out too late that it is not, and then they will perish without an opportunity to correct their error. Jesus explains in Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Each of us will stand before God individually and then what others believe or have taught will not be an acceptable reason for our lack of knowledge and understanding. We each are personally responsible for our relationship with God, so we must not depend on others any longer! If we honestly seek God, He will teach us His Word. Once we become a Christian, it is our responsibility to study and become the “priest” reaching out to help those we meet daily in our personal world. However, our relationship with God is still our own personal responsibility.
Now I ask you, “Do you love yourself, your family and your nation enough that you would be willing to make some necessary personal changes, even in your beliefs, as you see the true meaning of the above words?” There will not be a great outpouring of God’s Spirit for revival in our nation unless you decide to let Him change you! You personally have the choice of what you want God to do in our nation, but it must start with you! God does not just pour out revival. He has been encouraging revival ever since Adam sinned by sending prophets, priests and even His Son Jesus to draw mankind back to Him. He responds to us when we individually invite Him into our hearts to make changes. The choice is just between you and God, so what will your response be? Are you willing to humble yourself and let God make changes, even in your beliefs if necessary, or shall things continue in the direction they are going to an anti-God, anti-Christ society? Saul, in Acts, Chapter 9, changed from the ignorant unbelief of persecuting Christians, which he thought was God’s will, to actually becoming the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest Christians, when he was faced with the truth, accepted it and changed his belief. Whether we are in willful or ignorant unbelief like Paul was, Jesus is hindered from doing miracles in Christians’ lives today as He was hindered at His hometown in Matthew 13:58, “And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Cornelius and Peter humbled themselves to God’s new way for them in Acts, Chapter 10. Pride is the only thing that will stop us from changing from our ignorant unbelief when it is exposed by the truth.
If every Christian reading this article would join me and commit to allowing God to work in us to bring about the changes He wants in our hearts and lives, God would start working miracles in the Oklahoma area so great that the rest of the nation would see or hear what He is doing and want to be a part of it. I do not know what will be down the road, but it will be a lot better than the path our nation is on now. Join with me, and let’s become the people God can use to change our nation. P.S. — Preachers welcome!
If you choose to seek God for the true Biblical meaning of the above words, my book, “Choosing Faith with Love,” ISBN: 1-59886-08-4-4 which is available for order through major bookstores nationwide, will clarify many of the words and help you get started. I can already hear many saying, “Now I see! He is just trying to sell books!” No, since 1984, I have freely given over 10,000 copies of the first two red cover editions in the Oklahoma City area and mailed hundreds to ministries across the nation. The third edition may be ordered through www.walmart.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.com, or directly from the publisher through my website: www.rahardin.com. While waiting for your book, I would be glad to come to your church and explain the true meaning of Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith:…” GOD BLESS YOU!
Paid for by: Choosing Faith with Love, dba; Richard A Hardin, www.rahardin.com, P.O.Box 45684, OKC, OK 73145.
I’d love to hear from you. Follow me on Twitter or join me on Facebook.
Go Back To: