The Antinomians Are Coming!

 

Have you ever wondered why Antinomians are on the rise? You say, “I’ve never even heard the word, much less wondered why they were on the rise.”

 

It might surprise you to know that Godly men like A.W. Tozer, Charles G. Finney, D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Menno Simons, George Whitefield and others were all quite familiar with not only what it is, but with it’s unusual effects on the Church of God.

 

SO WHAT’S ANTINOMIAN MEAN?

 

‘Antinomian’ is pronounced [an-ta-nome´-ee-ann]. The word itself can be traced back to the Greek of the New Testament. It comes from putting two Greek words together: `anti (anti) and nomos (nomos). The first word “anti” taken by itself means, “over against or instead of”, and corresponds to our English word “anti”, which means “opposed to”.

 

The second half of the word ‘Antinomian’, which is the word “nomos”, means: (1) a law, rule, standard; (2) a rule of life or moral conduct. This is the same word that is translated “law” in “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”-KJV. Rom. 3:31. Consequently, when these two Greek words are combined, it gives the meaning: lawlessness; without, opposed to or against laws, standards, or rules of moral conduct.

 

IS ‘ANTINOMIAN’ A BIBLE WORD?

 

Yes, it most certainly is (in the Greek Language, that is). It can be found in the following form 25 times throughout the New Testament. This time it again comes from taking the Greek word “nomos”, but prefixing it with the negative particle “a” to give the Greek word “anomos”. The Greek word “nomos” was previously defined as: a law, rule, standard; a rule of life or moral conduct. When the negative article “a” is prefixed to it, the exact same meaning as our English word ‘Antinomian’ is derived. The Greek translation for this New Testament word is: lawlessness; the condition of being without law; having contempt for law.

 

It is usually translated (Strongs # 458, 459) using vague words like ‘iniquity’, ‘wicked’, ‘unrighteousness’ or ‘transgressor’ (in the Authorized Version-KJV). It’s even more vague in all the newer translations. Only 6 times was it clearly translated (KJV) as ‘without law’, ‘lawless’, etc., in 3 verses only. However, understanding this word’s true meaning, brings new meaning and clarity to all verses that contain it. Even though it is found translated ‘iniquity in Matt. 7:23, the words ‘Antinomian’ or ‘lawlessness’ could rightfully be put there instead. It would then read, starting at verse 21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work “lawlessness” (Antinomianism).

 

Other verses that condemn Antinomians to hell are: “The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do ‘Antinomian(ism)’.” “And because ‘Antinomians’ shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with ‘Antinomians’? and what communion hath light with darkness?” “For the mystery of ‘Antinomian(ism)’ doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all ‘Antinomian(ism)’, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Matt.13:41; Matt. 24:12; 2 Cor. 6:14; 2 Thess. 2:7; Titus 2:14). With this in mind, it is interesting to see what men of God have said about it.

 

WHAT’S ITS BASIC DOCTRINE?

 

In his late book, Paths to Power, A.W. Tozer defined it this way. “Fundamental Christianity in our times is deeply influenced by that ancient enemy of righteousness, Antinomianism. The creed of the Antinomian is easily stated: We are saved by faith alone; works have no place in salvation; conduct is works, and is therefore of no importance. What we do cannot matter as long as we believe rightly. The divorce between creed and conduct is absolute and final. The question of sin is settled by the Cross; conduct is outside the circle of faith and cannot come between the believer and God. Such in brief, is the teaching of the Antinomian. And so fully has it permeated the Fundamental element in modern Christianity that it is accepted by the religious masses as the very truth of God. Antinomianism is the doctrine of grace carried by uncorrected logic to the point of absurdity. It takes the teaching of justification by faith and twists it into deformity.”

 

I know there are some (maybe you, dear reader) who might say, “That’s the gospel! That’s Grace! That’s what I believe and practice!” Oh, if we would only take the time to seek God, pray and read the Gospel, unfettered by the “Doctrines of Men”, we would surely find that Antinomianism is ANOTHER GOSPEL (i.e.- not Christianity).

 

Charles Finney in the 1800’s spoke of it “as the opposite extreme to legalism. Legalist are all work, Antinomians no work. Professing to have yielded up their whole agency to Christ, they throw all responsibility upon Him and do nothing. Under pretense of being led by the Spirit and of waiting for God to reveal His will to them, they give themselves up very much to spiritual indolence (idleness)1.” {1-Webster’s 1878 Dictionary defined ‘indolence’ as “inaction, or want of exertion of body or mind, proceeding from love of ease or aversion to toil; habitually idle.”}

 

Noah Webster, in his 1878 Dictionary, defined Antinomianism as: “one of a sect who were charged with maintaining that, under the gospel dispensation, the moral law is of no use or obligation.”

 

A BRIEF HISTORY

 

Interesting enough, the Church is being plagued today with Antinomianism more than ever. In fact, it has almost “leavened the whole lump”. This is not the first time that it’s crept into the hearts of God’s people unawares. Historically, in Jeremiah’s day when Israel was deeply backslidden and God’s prophets were crying out against their wickedness, Antinomianism was the root cause. It was also one of the first signs of decay to hit the early Church. As the Bible teaches, the early Church fathers were well acquainted with what it was, and like Paul, found themselves in an ever present battle against its deadly effects.

 

By the 1700’s, Antinomianism had established itself so deeply in most of the colleges that produced pastors, that almost anyone simply professing faith in God was considered a Christian. This condition having spread to this country as well, found heart-motivated morality in the Church almost non-existent. After much sincere prayer and true repentance, a real ‘Revival’ did come from God during that time through men such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards and others. This revival reversed the course of Antinomianism but for a short while. By the start of the 19th. century, Antinomianism had made a strong comeback. Charles Finney and other Godly persons, who lived during that time, again found themselves facing it’s damning effects. Although Finney and others succeeded in stamping out numerous strongholds, it didn’t take long for it to make a comeback in this century.

This century has seen a huge rise of those who promise many ‘would be Christians’ liberty, while “they themselves are the servants of corruption” (2 Peter 2:19). Never before have there been so many who profess Christianity with their mouth, but live like and love the world. Why? Because Antinomianism has been the accepted gospel almost universally since the 50’s.

 

WHY IS IT WRONG?

 

The origin for Antinomianism is rooted in a general misunderstanding concerning the difference between what is meant by “conditions” and “works” (earnings/merits). Many devoted, but spiritually ignorant, religious teachers, in their zeal to explain the truth of our unmerited salvation and our inability to pay the debt for our own sins, have fallen into heresy.

 

“Heresy! That’s a pretty strong word”, you say. Yes, but that’s exactly what it is: “heresy”. The word “heresy”, from the New Testament Greek word “airesis”, simply means “a taking, school, selection”. A modern day dictionary defines it as “a school of thought”. The word represents a popular practice among the religious crowd. It describes the taking of truth and then selecting one’s favorite part or doctrine contained in it, over-emphasizing that point, and teaching it, usually to the complete negation of the rest of the picture.

 

Heresy in the Garden of Eden?

 

A perfect example of this is in what the devil told Eve in the garden of Eden. What he said wasn’t entirely wrong. He just excluded parts of the truth and over-emphasized other parts, to such an extent, that what was said became a lie. He said, “Ye shall not surely die:” (Gen. 3:4). This was true in one sense, only he simply left out the rest of the facts. It was true that they wouldn’t die, right then, probably based on their own vague understanding of death at the time (Bear in mind that up to this time no one had seen death). But what the devil left out was a big deal. They would indeed DIE another way, spiritually, right then, according to God’s real meaning. Their body would also start dying, from that time on as well. So… not presenting the whole picture, turned that short, partial truth into a huge deception. Next verse:

 

“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5). Again, what the devil said was exactly true. However, if only he had added in the parts that he purposely left out, the whole picture would have taken on an entirely different meaning- a pretty scary, and ugly one at that. It’s like signing on the doted line without reading the small, fine print, ever! Considering how the devil’s heresy ruined the human race’s earthly future, does one have to wonder much at the root source of such a heresy as Antinomianism?

 

Earning by Works versus Conditions

 

“Taking” or focusing in on the truth, that we do not “merit” or earn God’s salvation and its attending blessings, has led many into Antinomianism. Yes, it IS true that we do NOT earn our salvation, nor our relationship with God. But that does not negate the fact that God DOES HAVE HIS “Conditions” respecting salvation.

 

Suppose, for instance, I were to read in my newspaper about a free milk giveaway happening at the local dairy. Let’s say the newspaper states that between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. on Thursday, March 16th., the dairy is pleased to give to every person over the age of 18 a fresh gallon of milk, for free. From such an ad, I’d understand that the milk would to be free, right? I wouldn’t have to pay for it or earn it. Also, anyone over 18 years old could receive a gallon if they wanted. Therefore, it would be fairly clear that there would be NO WAY anyone could earn, merit, pay for or deserve a free gallon of milk. It is a free gift. However, at the same time, there are definite “conditions” to receiving the milk such as:

 

Firstly, one had to be over 18 years of age.

Secondly, they had to be present at the dairy.

Thirdly, only between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. on Thursday, March 16th. could it be received.

 

Meeting Conditions does NOT mean earning by works

 

By being at the dairy at the required time would not mean that anyone had earned, worked for or deserved the milk. No one would even be considered if they weren’t present there between the appointed times. Merit, works and deserving it have nothing to do with it. It is based totally on grace -i.e. the kindness of the dairy to give it away. The dairy is giving it away simply because they want to.

 

On the other hand, there are definite conditions to being able to receive a gallon of milk. How happy a person is about being able to get the milk makes no difference concerning whether they receive it or not. Even “faith alone” is not the deciding factor in them receiving the milk directly. If they don’t make it to the dairy in person as specified, they will simply loose out. The fact that these conditions have to be followed has nothing to do with anyone earning the milk or whether or not it is a gift. Having conditions has nothing whatsoever to do with the love, kindness and tender hearts of the dairy owners.

 

In the same way, parents sometimes have conditions for their children. Because of LOVE, parents may wish to give or do something for their children. However, just because they make it conditional, like first having to have either their room clean, face washed, hair combed or such like, doesn’t make the gift any less a gift. Knowing how children can think, only the mind of an immature child could think they were earning it. What does this tell us about the level of thought Antinomians use?

 

An example of salvation’s “conditions” was taught by Jesus in His parable concerning the wise and foolish virgins (Matt 25:1-13). The primary difference between the wise and foolish was whether or not they had met God’s conditions.

 

(Side note: some Antinomian teachers, in trying to explain this away, say that the foolish virgins only missed the rapture, etc., but will still have a second chance after the tribulation. We ask: when does the Bible say they get their “second chance”? Instead, Jesus said to them “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you”. In every place where Jesus says He doesn’t know them, the consequences are always disastrous eternally. So how do these “smooth talkers” get such a conclusion? Certainly not from the Bible. I’d hate to teach or base my eternal future on such unscriptural doctrines of men.)

 

WHY DO ANTINOMIANS EXIST?

 

Antinomianism is an entire doctrine built on religious confusion, or, more precisely, a complete lack of understanding concerning God’s “Conditions”. Sad to say, its root cause goes even deeper than misunderstanding “conditions”. The main battle isn’t really between bumbling heretics and those who understand God’s “conditions” – it’s between humanism and Christianity.

 

Humanism

 

Humanism is summed up as this: the end of all being is the happiness of mankind. Its focus is on two words: ‘happiness’ and ‘mankind’. Therefore in humanism, everything a person does is centred around humanity’s happiness here on earth.

 

Christianity

 

Christianity can be summed up as this: the end of all being is the glory of God. Its focus is on two words: ‘glory’ and ‘God’. Therefore in Christianity, everything a person does is centred around what pleases God, nothing less! This is why Jesus could say to his close friend and disciple, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men”; and “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven” and “If any will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:23, 7:21, 16:24). Do you see? The entire focus is on God and His glory, not man.

 

Let’s Get Together and Make Peace (on earth)

 

At the root of Antinomianism is humanism with a little Christianity mixed in, for good measure. How’s that? Instead of pure humanism, which is focused solely on man’s earthly life, this mixture looks like this: The end of Antinomian “Christianity” is the happiness of mankind both on earth and in heaven. Notice that it STILL focuses on the same two words that humanism does: ‘happiness’ and ‘mankind’. The only difference between humanism and Antinomian Christianity is this: mankind’s happiness has been extended beyond the grave. Does this mean that real Christians aren’t happy? No! However, they take their happiness in bringing glory to God, by doing only what pleases Him, never themselves. This usually goes over the head of an Antinomian.

 

It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that in Antinomianism, like humanism, everything the Church does (especially those in leadership) is centred around humanity’s happiness. This is the root of Antinomianism. Once we understand this, everything else that puzzles us about ourselves, &/or our Antinomian friends, will disappear: i.e.-the lack of heart motivated obedience to Christ; the struggles against giving up basic, elementary things like TV, worldly videos, sports, dancing, smoking, worldly music, worldly friendships, etc.; the lack of interest in personally reaching the lost; and the strong attachment to, and love for, this present world. This is why, when the subject of God’s “conditions” for salvation comes up, for an Antinomian, it does not compute. Because an Antinomian’s beliefs are rooted in humanism, when they hear the real Gospel, they think it’s heresy or some strange “Cult”.

 

Please remember that humanism is at the heart of Antinomianism when you read the rest of this article.

 

How Did They Mix Christianity with Humanism?

 

Imagine this: you’ve enrolled in an Air Conditioning School. You try very hard to learn air conditioners, but it’s extremely difficult. You just can’t seem to remember the theory, much less fix anything. How it all works and fits together is beyond your comprehension. You and air conditioners simply don’t get along. You doubt the problem is your lifelong poor mechanical aptitude. Maybe the school is wrong, so you decide to quit. After you’re out, you begin to think about a theory of your own. You go so far as to put down on paper, a whole system for understanding air conditioners, all based entirely on your own misconceptions. Furthermore, you start your own air conditioning school. You’ve always been a good talker. Eventually, several of your students believe your theories, although nothing ever seems to work out quite right. Nevertheless, they learn to have lots of faith in that coming day when the class’s air conditioners will work correctly. Besides, they “feel good” about themselves and your simplified rationalizations, and that’s got to be more important.

 

On the other hand, some of your other students are growing frustrated at your bumbling. They just can’t accept the fact that nothing in practice works right. They even go so far as to tell you where they think you’re wrong. Never mind that these thinking students are the only ones who ever manage to fix any air conditioning problems. That isn’t what matters to you, so you accuse them of “causing divisions” and “defying authority”. When they continue to disagree, you have them removed from your school.

Sound crazy? Well, guess what? That’s exactly how this doctrine of Antinomianism came about. Only difference is that since it involves the spiritual, many consider theology mystical, hard to practice and abstract. Consequently, most never even stop to analyze Antinomianism to see if it actually works like scriptural Christianity. Instead, too many enjoy being on spiritual “Auto Pilot” because their ears feel good. True, they might be constantly falling into sin; their lives &/or family’s spiritual lives are a mess, but at least they can “think” they are “saved”, until they die and find out the truth (after it’s too late).

 

Please dear ones; read your Bibles; study and learn about your heritage. Is this how the early Christians lived and walked? No!

 

Somehow Antinomians see the desire to satisfy God’s “conditions” as trying to earn one’s salvation. Antinomianism has its entire focus on one piece of the truth – that is: we don’t “earn” (merit) our salvation. But, the rest of the picture “conditions”, is not only neglected, but actually taught and warned against. What this means is that perhaps millions are on their way to HELL while believing they are going to heaven. What a really scary surprise that’s going to be.

I didn’t write this, but it is a very good read…

 

Can you imagine reading an ad someday about a new, revolutionary medicine that cures cancer and AIDS completely, instantly? Imagine hearing about it at special meetings, then going to months of seminars and being taught all about what it does and how to use it. Only one problem, though. No one seems to know how or where to actually get this marvelous cure-all. What would you think?

 

If you think that’s bad, then neglecting and even discouraging hungry folks from knowing about God’s “conditions” to His blessed gift of salvation has got to be worse! That’s exactly why Antinomianism is one of the worst and most dangerous heresies going. God’s “conditions” concerning salvation are more than just “believing” and “accepting” Christ. Otherwise explain what Jesus meant when He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21). Or what about “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works”? (Matt. 16:27). How about the scene in Matthew 25 with the sheep and the goats? Both apparently believed in Jesus and answered Him in a way that implied familiarity with who He was. However, the goats failed to fulfill His conditions as outlined there, no if’s, an’s or but’s about it.

Is Christ death on the cross effectual to truly deliver us from sin?Is Christ death on the cross effectual to truly deliver us from sin?