November 21, 1999 (first published August 7, 1998) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article)
I know by experience that this message will get me into a lot of trouble. I know that my motives will be questioned, my sincerity will be doubted, and my method ridiculed. I know that men will try to find things against me and some will even make up lies or exaggerations to injure my reputation. I know that I will lose financial support and friends. I am not surmising this; I know it from personal experience. Be that as it may, I cannot keep quiet about this matter. I desire to make a public statement against something which I believe is unscriptural and displeasing to the Lord, and God’s Word gives me every right and responsibility to do so.
Jack Hyles was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. We praise the Lord for every soul that was saved under his busy ministry, and I know that many were. I am challenged by his evangelistic zeal. We need more of that, not less. I am challenged by his desire to do something serious with his life for Christ. He certainly is not a man who is satisfied with the status quo! I am thankful for many of the graduates from his school. Many have come away from Hyles-Anderson and have sorted through what they were taught, retaining the good and rejecting that which is contrary to the Word of God. I have good fellowship with many such men.
I cannot remain silent, though, about the comparison between his church and the church at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. The claim was made that his church saw more people saved on May 3, 1998, than were saved and baptized on the day of Pentecost. Hyles estimated that roughly 15,000 people were saved on this special day and 5,112 were baptized. About 500 of the decisions occurred in the First Baptist Church auditorium (there were about 2,000 present in the 7,000-seat auditorium on that day), while the other baptisms occurred at 216 other preaching points that had been set up for the day.
Hyles’ “Pentecost” illustrates serious problems that are rampant in some independent Baptist circles. I was saved at age 23 in the summer of 1973, and the first church I joined was independent Baptist. I attended Tennessee Temple, an independent Baptist Bible School (Jack Hyles was the commencement speaker for my graduation service), and I have been a member of independent Baptist churches ever since, but the authority for my Christian life and ministry is not what some famous independent Baptist church or preacher believes or practices. My authority is solely the Bible. I do not intend to follow a man, I care not who or what he is, unless that man follows the Word of God. I believe in pastoral authority, but I also know that a pastor’s authority is limited by the Bible. He has no authority in himself. He has no authority to lead in ways that are contrary to the Word of God. UNLESS GOD’S PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST PASTORAL ERROR THERE IS NO MEANS OF STEMMING THE TIDE OF APOSTASY. NO PREACHER IS ABOVE BEING REPROVED FOR HIS ERROR. Paul rebuked Peter publicly when he committed hypocrisy (Gal. 2).
Numbers and reputation have never impressed me. “Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away” (Job 32:21-22). When the Charismatics, the Evangelicals, the Mormons, or the Catholics boast of their great numbers, I am not impressed. I simply compare their beliefs and practices with the Bible. I am also not impressed with independent Baptist numbers, unless those numbers are in the context of faithfulness to the Word of God.
Numbers in themselves prove nothing, dear friends. Nothing. Faithfulness to the Word of God is everything. I have every right and responsibility to test Jack Hyles and every other preacher with the Word of God. I have as much right to test Jack Hyles as I do to test Robert Schuller or James Dobson or Bill McCartney. The same Bible that tells me to test the latter tells me to test the former. Consider the following Scriptures:
“PROVE ALL THINGS; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
“The simple believeth every word: but THE PRUDENT MAN LOOKETH WELL to his going” (Proverbs 14:15).
“Let the prophets speak two or three, and LET THE OTHER JUDGE” (1 Corinthians 14:29).
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY THE SPIRITS whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and MARK THEM WHICH WALK so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17).
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and IN ALL JUDGMENT; That ye may APPROVE THINGS THAT ARE EXCELLENT; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:9-10).
“Now I beseech you, brethren, MARK THEM which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
Hyles compared himself and his church with Pentecost. He stated that more people were saved on May 3, 1998, at First Baptist in Hammond “than at any church in the history of Christianity.” As God has commanded me to do, I have tested his claim by the Word of God. Hyles’ report of his Pentecost Sunday and the sermon he preached that day were recorded in the June 1988 issue of the Revival Fires paper. I read this report carefully three times. I prayed and meditated over it for weeks before writing anything, but I cannot keep silent. When I compare Hylescost with Pentecost, I see five serious differences.
PENTECOST VS. HYLESCOST
1. THERE WAS A DIFFERENT MESSAGE AT PENTECOST THAN AT HYLESCOST
The message preached on the day of Pentecost focused on Jesus Christ, the promise of His coming, His preordained death and resurrection, His exaltation to Heaven, His Lordship (Acts 2:22-36).
The message preached on Hylescost was very different from this. Pastor Hyles preached a message titled “A Place Called Heaven.” His text was John 14:1-6, which, of course, is addressed to believers, not unbelievers. He began by giving four reasons why he believes in Heaven. First, because he has met three people who claim to have been to Heaven in near-death experiences. Second, because his mother saw Heaven before she died. Third, because of logic. Since all civilizations have a belief in some form of Heaven there must be one that God has created to fulfill that desire. Fourth, because the Bible says there is a Heaven. (I don’t know why he would include the first three reasons, since they are unnecessary, undependable, and carry no authority whatsoever.)
Hyles later told the crowd:
“If you have the least desire to go to heaven, if there’s just a little bit of a desire to go to heaven, then this morning, you trust Jesus as your Saviour” (Jack Hyles, “A Place Called Heaven,” May 3, 1998).
Pastor Hyles told many stories and he mentioned the gospel and Jesus Christ, but did not plainly preach the gospel so that a sinner could understand exactly what sin is and Who Christ is and what He has done. Many Americans today are as ignorant of the Bible and of Jesus Christ and the gospel as any idolatrous Hindu in South Asia. When we say that Jesus died for their sins, they don’t know what sin is. Is it a lack of self esteem? Is it a psychological problem? Does it refer to the mistakes I have made? Is it racial discrimination? Is it economic inequality? Ignorance of what gospel terms mean is certainly rampant in the ghettos of Chicago where large numbers of Hyles’ bus riders come from. When most Americans think of “Jesus,” they are thinking of a false christ of some sort. When they think of “God,” they are thinking of a false god of their own imagination. Without careful preaching, without clear Bible definitions of the facts and terms of the gospel, people will not understand the gospel sufficiently to be saved. They will “trust” a “Jesus” of their own imagination to save them from a false idea of sin.
Heaven is a wonderful subject, but the gospel is not about Heaven. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sin.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
Nowhere in the Bible do we find preachers urging the unsaved to receive Christ in order to go to Heaven. Heaven is definitely a product of salvation, but why is it that none of the apostles preached on Heaven when they were presenting the gospel? Why are the sermons recorded in the book of Acts so different from the one Hyles preached?
Consider the sermon Paul preached on Mars Hills to the idolatrous pagans in Acts 17. Paul did not preach on Heaven; he preached on God and His righteous judgment so that the idolaters would understand their sin and turn to Christ for redemption. The average person in North America today is very similar to those idolatrous pagans, and North Americans need the same type of preaching. An idolatrous and apostate people need sermons on Hell more than sermons on Heaven. They need sermons on the law more than sermons on grace, because biblical grace is only understood in the context of the law. The law was given to prepare the way for grace. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24). The book of Romans begins with the law of God and the righteousness of God and the sinfulness of man before it gets to the grace of Jesus Christ. That is the biblical way to preach the gospel. That is the true Romans Road. That is how Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, but it is not how Jack Hyles preached on Hylescost.
2. THERE WAS A DIFFERENT REQUIREMENT AT PENTECOST THAN AT HYLESCOST
The requirement for salvation at Pentecost was “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the biblical requirement for salvation. “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). This is what Peter preached (see also 2 Peter 3:9). It is what John the Baptist preached (Matthew 3:8). It is what Jesus Christ preached (Matt. 9:13; Lk. 17:3,5). It is what the apostle Paul preached (Acts 17:30; 20:21; 26:20).
The baptismal regenerationist uses Acts 2:38 to back his false doctrine, but by comparing Scripture with Scripture we know that Acts 2:38 simply means that salvation is received as a gift by those who repent of their sins and trust Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. The believer does not get baptized IN ORDER TO receive remission of sins, but BECAUSE his sins have been remitted by faith in Christ.
When we analyze the requirement for salvation on the day of Pentecost, we see that it involved repentance. Repentance is mentioned 66 times in the New Testament, 10 times in the book of Acts.
Pastor Hyles, though, did not preach repentance on the big day that he compared with Pentecost. In fact, he did not even mention repentance. He did not even hint at repentance. He merely said that if his hearers had the slightest desire to go to Heaven, they should pray to receive Christ as their Savior. They were encouraged to pray a prayer as a ticket to Heaven. There was no repentance whatsoever.
Actually, Jack Hyles redefined repentance to mean turning from unbelief to belief. He stated this in his book The Enemies of Soul Winning. One chapter is titled “Misunderstood Repentance: An Enemy of Soul Winning.” He builds his doctrine of repentance largely on human reasoning: since unbelief is the only sin that sends men to Hell (so he claims), unbelief is the only sin which must be repented of. That sounds reasonable, but it is contrary to the clear example and teaching of the Word of God. Biblical repentance as preached by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the apostles, involved a change of mind TOWARD GOD AND SIN.
Note the following summary of Paul’s message: “But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and DO WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE” (Acts 26:20).
The gospel message preached by Peter on the day of Pentecost and by Paul after Pentecost required repentance and defined that as a turning to God from evil works.
Biblical repentance is a change of mind toward God and sin that results in a change of life. To say that it has nothing to do with one’s attitude toward sin is to throw away the Bible and 19 centuries of Christian preaching. The Bible does not say that the only sin that sends people to Hell is the sin of unbelief. All sin brings the wrath of God upon the sinner (Rom. 1:29-32; Eph. 5:3-6). Revelation 21:8 lists unbelief as merely one of the sins that keeps sinners out of Heaven.
TRADITIONAL BIBLICAL DEFINITIONS OF REPENTANCE
To define repentance merely as turning from unbelief to belief, or to claim that repentance has nothing to do with turning from sin, ignores not only the Bible, as seen above, but also nineteen centuries of Bible-believing Christian scholarship. Note the following examples of how repentance has been defined by Baptist scholars and preachers.
“Unfeigned repentance is an inward and true sorrow of heart for sin, with sincere confession of the same to God, especially that we have offended so gracious a God and so loving a Father, together with a settled purpose of heart and a careful endeavor to leave all our sins, and to live a more holy and sanctified life according to all God’s commands” (The Orthodox Creed, Baptist, 1679).
“This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency; praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavor by supplies of the Spirit to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things” (Philadelphia Confession of Faith, Baptist, 1742).
“We believe the Scriptures teach that repentance is a personal act, prompted by the Spirit; and consists in a godly sorrow for sin, as offensive to God and ruinous to the soul; that it is accompanied with great humiliation in view of one’s sin and guilt, together with prayer for pardon; also by sincere hatred of sin, and a persistent turning away from, and abandonment of, all that is evil and unholy. Since none are sinless in this life, repentance needs to be often repeated” (New Hampshire Confession, Baptist, 1833).
“Just now some professedly Christian teachers are misleading many by saying that ‘repentance is only a change of mind.’ It is true that the original word does convey the idea of a change of mind; but the whole teaching of Scripture concerning the repentance which is not to be repented of is that it is a much more radical and complete change than is implied by our common phrase about changing one’s mind. The repentance that does not include sincere sorrow for sin is not the saving grace that is wrought by the Holy Spirit. God-given repentance makes men grieve in their inmost souls over the sin they have committed, and works in them a gracious hatred of evil in every shape and form. We cannot find a better definition of repentance than the one many of us learned at our mother’s knee: ‘Repentance is to leave the sin we loved before, and show that we in earnest grieve by doing so no more’” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Royal Saviour,” Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England, Feb. 1, 1872).
“I give it as my deliberate conviction, founded on twenty-five years of ministerial observation, that the Christian profession of today owes its lack of vital godliness, its want of practical piety, its absence from the prayer meeting, its miserable semblance of missionary life, very largely to the fact that old-fashioned repentance is so little preached. You can’t put a big house on a little foundation. And no small part of such preaching comes from a class of modern evangelists who desiring more for their own glory to count a great number of converts than to lay deep foundations, reduce the conditions of salvation by one-half and make the other half but some intellectual trick of the mind rather than a radical spiritual change of the heart. Like Simon Magus, they believe indeed, but ‘their heart not being right in the sight of God, they have no part nor lot in this matter. They are yet in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.’ Such converts know but little and care less about a system of doctrine. They are prayerless, lifeless, and to all steady church work reprobate” (B.H. Carroll, 1889).
“To repent literally means to have a change of mind or spirit toward God and toward sin. It means to turn from your sins, earnestly, with all your heart, and trust in Jesus Christ to save you. You can see, then, how the man who believes in Christ repents and the man who repents believes in Christ. The jailer repented when he turned from sin to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (John R. Rice, What Must I Do to Be Saved?, 1940).
“Baptists preach the gospel of repentance for sin. They preach and practice the very same gospel of repentance, of salvation, of baptism, as the first Baptist preacher we have any record of whose name was John and who came from God" (J. Frank Norris, Lectures on Romans, c. 1947).
“Recognizing his guilt, there is a turning from sin. There is a turning to God. The actual word ‘repentance’ means a turning completely around: a change of course; a change of mind. … To think of repentance that does not cause the sinner to turn gladly from his sins is impossible. … I know that we have a shallow religious movement in our times that will allow men to profess faith in Christ and at the same time continue to live in the world. Such a shallow religious faith is not real. These are mere professors and have no part with God in salvation” (Harold Sightler, Chastening and Repentance, 1963).
“Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Repentance is a forsaking of sin. Real repentance is putting your trust in Jesus Christ so you will not live like that anymore. Repentance is permanent. It is a lifelong and an eternity-long experience. You will never love the Devil again once you repent. You will never flirt with the Devil as the habit of your life again once you get saved. You will never be happy living in sin; it will never satisfy; and the husks of the world will never fill your longing and hungering in your soul. Repentance is something a lot bigger than a lot of people think. It is absolutely essential if you go to heaven” (Lester Roloff, Repent or Perish, 1965).
“The very moment that soul that is dead, cut off, alienated from the very life of God, sees himself as a hopeless, helpless, Hell-deserving, and Hell-bound sinner; when that soul sees that Jesus Christ is the only Way, the only hope, and when he looks away from self; when he repents of his sin and looks to the finished work of the crucified, buried and risen Lord for salvation -- that very moment, instantaneously, the Spirit of God operates” (G. Beauchamp Vick, The Biblical Faith of Baptists, Vol. II, Regular Baptist Press, 1966).
“True repentance is sorrow for sin committed against a holy God and not only sorrow for sin, but turning from sin, forsaking sin and turning to God. Sin nailed the Savior to the cross and certainly that fact alone is sufficient reason why all who have genuinely repented hate sin and forsake sinful ways” (Oliver B. Greene, Commentary of Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:37,38, 1969).
In these definitions of repentance by Baptists who have gone before us, we see that Dr. Hyles redefined the term in an unscriptural manner. He claimed that repentance is not turning from sin or a change of mind that results in a change of life, but his old friends John R. Rice and Lester Roloff believed repentance was exactly that.
HYLES’ SMOKE SCREENS IN REGARD TO REPENTANCE
In attempting to justify his teaching on repentance, Hyles’ raised many smoke screens. He said, “If a person has to clean up his own life before he gets saved, we are back to Arminianism or salvation by works.” That is pure human reasoning and is an attempt to darken the issue. I know hundreds of independent Baptist preachers who believe repentance is more than Dr. Hyles made it, but I don’t know any independent Baptist preacher that says repentance is a person cleaning up his own life.
Hyles also said: “If turning from sins would get you saved, then turning back to sins would get you lost.” Repentance does have something to do with one’s attitude toward and relationship with sin, but repentance alone does not save anyone. It is repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that saves a soul, and the Bible says this salvation is eternal.
Hyles further said: “If a person must repent of his sins to be saved, of what sins must he repent?” The repentance is toward God and sin in general and in specific as God convicts the sinner about his life. The prodigal son’s repentance had to do with the way he was living. John the Baptist pointed out the sin of adultery in Herod’s life. Christ dealt with the rich young ruler about his covetousness, and He dealt with the woman at the well about her adultery. The conviction of specific sin is the Holy Spirit’s job. “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” (John 16:8). As the Concise Bible Dictionary defines it: “Repentance is a change of mind Godward that leads to a judgment of self and one’s acts.” Biblical repentance is a change of mind toward God and sin, but it is not works salvation.
At times Hyles sounded like he believed in repentance for salvation, but regardless of what Hyles he said about it, the fact remains that it was ignored in his church’s evangelism program. Hyles Anderson students and members of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, were not taught to carefully instruct sinners that they had to repent of their sin and to surrender to God. They were taught, rather, to give sinners a brief and quick three-point Gospel plan and to urge them to pray a sinner’s prayer. The Hyles soul-winning program was a repentancelesss program.
3. THERE WAS A DIFFERENT DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH AT PENTECOST THAN AT HYLESCOST
The Bible informs us that those that were saved on the day of Pentecost were baptized and added to the church. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. ... And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41, 47).
This is not what happened at Hylescost, though. In his message “A Place Called Heaven” Hyles told his hearers:
“Don’t join this church if you don’t want to. Don’t ever come back if you don’t want to. ... I’m closing the doors of our membership today. You cannot join First Baptist Church of Hammond today” (Jack Hyles, “A Place Called Heaven,” May 3, 1998).
My friends, this is not scriptural evangelism. The Bible is our example, and those that were saved in the days of the apostles were baptized and added to the assembly. The Bible does not disassociate salvation completely from baptism and church membership as Hyles did on his special day.
4. THERE WAS A DIFFERENT METHOD AT PENTECOST THAN AT HYLESCOST
The only method used at Pentecost was prayer, the preaching of the Word of God, personal testimony, and the miracle power of the Holy Spirit. This is not the only method that Hylescost employed, though. Hyles used a multiplicity of man-made promotions to attract people to his meetings. He claimed that First Baptist Church of Hammond saw more than 3,000 people saved in one day on four different occasions. One of those was in 1989, and I interviewed one of the men who worked in the bus ministry that year. This man is a pastor today, but in 1989 he was a student at Hyles-Anderson College. He was willing for me to use his name, but I am not going to do so. Anyone familiar with the bus ministry at First Baptist Church in Hammond will know that the things this pastor testified are true.
On the big day in 1989, Chicago ghetto kids were drawn to the meetings by the promise of winning a Camero automobile and by being taken to a carnival. The church of Jesus Christ was turned into a worldly carnival for the sake of getting big numbers. This pastor told me that he believes very, very few of the kids that were counted as saved that day had any abiding interest in Jesus Christ. He was there for the months before and after the meeting and had opportunity to observe the results firsthand. He personally questioned many of the kids that were baptized on that day and most of them did not even understand what they were doing. They had been instructed to get baptized and they did, but they did not understand what was happening.
This is typical of the Hyles method of “soul winning.” If a person can be manipulated into praying a prayer, that person is counted as “saved,” regardless of whether or not the person shows evidence of having repented of his sin and trusted Jesus Christ for salvation.
The aforementioned pastor told me that his bus captain counted salvations even if the kids who were “saved” laughed and cursed and mocked the things of God during the sinner’s prayer. He told me about one day when a bus captain claimed that 25 people were saved. Those 25 included a group of kids that mocked and cursed as the bus captain led them in a “salvation prayer.” It was all a big joke to these kids, yet they were listed as part of the salvation statistics at First Baptist.
The pressure put upon the evangelistic workers produces this type of thing. Whatever you want to call it, it certainly is not Pentecost.
5. THERE WAS A DIFFERENT RESULT AT PENTECOST THAN AT HYLESCOST
What was the result of the preaching on the day of Pentecost? The Bible leaves no doubt as to the long-term result of Pentecost:
“And they CONTINUED STEDFASTLY in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer. ... And all that believed were together, and had all things common ... And they, CONTINUING daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:42-46).
Those that were saved and baptized on the day of Pentecost showed every evidence of supernatural salvation. They did not have to be begged and coerced to come back to the next church service. They did not go home after their baptism and continue to live as if nothing had happened.
What is the result of Hylescost? Only a very tiny percentage of the 5,000 that were baptized during Hylescost continued in the things of God.
Years ago my wife and I had the job of following up on the Phoster Club soul winning visitation at a church. The Phoster Club teams regularly reported dozens of “salvations,” but when we visited these “saved” people to urge them to come to church and to try to disciple them, most of them wanted nothing to do with the things of God. That is a strange kind of salvation! (This is not to say that no one is ever genuinely saved through the Phoster Club, because I know that people are saved through this program. I am simply saying that the large numbers do not match spiritual reality.)
I have a friend who pastored a fundamental Baptist church in northern Indiana near First Baptist Church of Hammond. In 1980, a Hyles-Anderson student in his church obtained roughly 1,000 decision cards from the First Baptist Church’s visitation ministry. They diligently followed up on these individuals but were extremely disappointed to find that not even one was interested in the things of Christ. This particular batch of professions was entirely void of spiritual reality. He testified to me that this opened his eyes to the danger of the Hyles approach to evangelism and underscored the duplicity of the reports that are published by First Baptist and other churches that follow this methodology. I will not give his name, because I don’t want him subjected to harassment; but I have it on record.
Hyles proponents have argued heatedly with me that we cannot judge who is saved and who is lost. While it is true that I cannot know for sure who is saved or lost, the Bible plainly says that salvation will make a difference in a person’s life and it warns about false professions. Consider some Scriptures:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
“They profess that they know God; but IN WORKS THEY DENY HIM, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).
“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, THE DOG IS TURNED TO HIS OWN VOMIT AGAIN; AND THE SOW THAT WAS WASHED TO HER WALLOWING IN THE MIRE” (2 Peter 2:22).
“HE THAT SAITH, I KNOW HIM, AND KEEPETH NOT HIS COMMANDMENTS, IS A LIAR, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).
“HE THAT IS OF GOD HEARETH GOD’S WORDS: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47).
“My sheep HEAR MY VOICE, and I know them, AND THEY FOLLOW ME” (John 10:27).
There are no examples in the New Testament of people being “saved” who cared nothing about the assembly and Christian fellowship and the Word of God. That is not scriptural salvation. Scriptural salvation is a miracle of God whereby a sinner is converted and is passed from death to life and is born again by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. A truly born again Christian can sin, can be carnal, and can be out of fellowship with the Lord, but there is no such thing as a truly born again Christian who gives no evidence of his salvation.
What was the result on Hylescost? It was this: 5,000 people prayed a prayer, went through a religious ritual (baptism), and then a large percentage of them went home unchanged to go about their daily lives basically as if nothing had happened. In a “no-repentance quick prayerism” environment massive numbers of people become almost inoculated to the gospel by their repentantless profession of faith and by the false assurance that is given to them by improperly trained soul winners. When someone later confronts this person about his spiritual need, he replies, “Yea, I’ve done that.” He means he has prayed a sinner’s prayer and been given assurance of salvation by a soul winner. It had no affect on his life, but he has “done that” and refuses to listen to anything further from the Bible. This unscriptural method of evangelism has done great harm to the cause of Jesus Christ.
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