Monthly Archives: October 2010

Accountability?

I am often asked by those who support “kingdom exclusion”/”word of the kingdom” what motivation a Christian has for living a godly life. They ask, generally, “Why should Christians do what is right? Why should they care?” They suggest that unless one believes one possibly faces punishment in the millennial kingdom, one will be ineffectual in Christian living. One will become carnal.

I reply:

1. Who among us will not be punished? “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it? … So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty” (James 2:10 & 12). Should we not heed these words? It is James, after all, who is most often quoted in the teaching of “soul salvation.” Should we not, then, draw the same conclusions as James?

2. Where is this punishment found? Revelation speaks of the millennial kingdom, but makes no mention of the so-called “exclusion” of carnal Christians. Or, are we to believe, as Arlen Chitwood and others espouse, that Christians too will suffer the hurt of the second death? That idea is frankly blasphemous.

(I should note that the absence of “exclusion” is mirrored everywhere. No one, to this date, has shown anyone where “exclusion” is to be found in scripture.)

3. Is not forgiveness a greater motivation? Ask yourself, as a Christian, why do you want to be good? Why? Is it because you fear a “rod of fire” or the “hurt of the second death,” or is it because God has so loved you? Were we saved by fear, or the cross?

4. Why should we end with works? How is “soul salvation” not a complete repudiation of grace? Did not Paul warn, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). I have noted that in all of his writings, Arlen Chitwood never speaks of sanctification. His defenders say, well, “soul salvation” is sanctification? If that is true, “soul salvation” is heresy, for Paul says we are not being perfected by the flesh.

I am astonished that people actually teach that without “soul salvation” (otherwise called the “accountability” gospel) Christians would have no motivation for doing what is right. Those people miss, by a wide margin, the true gospel.

Paul, too, was confronted by such people. Look at his reply: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2).

Let it be so.

Chitwood: Salvation is not entirely by grace

Though Arlen L. Chitwood teaches that salvation is by grace, he limits unconditional salvation to one aspect of a person’s being, the spirit. A believer’s other aspects — the soul and body — are saved conditionally.

“The salvation of the soul, unlike the salvation of the spirit, is conditional,” he writes in Salvation of the Soul, the Saving of a Life (p. 13, emphasis is Chitwood’s). “The salvation of the soul is dependent on the life one lives after his spirit has been saved. It is dependent on the individual allowing the Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control his life through his own spirit.”

Chitwood describes redemption as having three phases: salvation of the spirit by grace, realized at the cross; salvation of the soul by works, realized through human achievement; and, salvation of the body, a consequence of soul salvation (in other words, it just happens).

Chitwood never clarifies how salvation can be entirely by grace but also by works. In truth, it is either one or the other.

Two Salvations

In some of his writings, he appears to limit “soul salvation” to judgments rendered at the dawn of the millennial kingdom. “The former [spirit salvation] has to do with eternal verities and the latter [soul salvation] with millennial verities” (ibid, p. 36). Reduced to attaining or losing rewards in the kingdom (cf. Matt. 6:19-20), his theology is innocuous (and, frankly, quite unoriginal). But, he draws such a careful distinction between “spirit salvation” and “soul salvation,” that each becomes a distinct form of salvation.

Significantly, Chitwood makes this point in Salvation by Grace Through Faith:

The “spirit” of unsaved man, associated with “darkness,” is dead. It is a part of the totally depraved man, with his “body of… death,” in which there dwells “no good thing” (Rom. 7:18, 24). But, with the movement of the Spirit — breathing life into unsaved, lifeless man — man’s spirit is made alive and, at the same time, separated from his soul (Heb. 4:12). — page 8

His use of Heb. 4:12 is disturbing because the text makes no mention of a person’s spirit and soul being divided at the moment of salvation. The text simply says that the word of God searches every aspect of a person’s being. More troubling is what follows:

“The ‘soul’ remains within the sphere of darkness” (ibid.).

In other words, the soul of a believer is not presently saved, and is not saved by grace through blood redemption. Soul salvation, to use Chitwood’s own phrasing, is “unlike” spirit salvation.

How, Then, Is One Saved?

Chitwood never explains how the soul and body ever come to be saved. If by Christ at the cross, why not presently? Why must the soul and body be saved at a future time? If by achieving rewards (i.e., positions in the millennial kingdom), how is that not salvation by works? How can unconditional salvation be conditional?

Ultimately, what is the mode of salvation for the soul and body?

Chitwood becomes so confused on the point that he actually argues that Christians are unequally yoked within themselves![1. In a previous article, I identified Gnostic tendencies in Chitwood’s writings. See http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=73.]

Within this unredeemed body lie two opposing entities, each seeking dominion — a redeemed spirit, and an unredeemed soul. The unredeemed soul is housed in an unredeemed body, and the two are mutually compatible. But the redeemed spirit housed alongside an unredeemed soul in an unredeemed body experiences no compatibility with either of the other two at all. Compatibility is not possible, for “what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Cor. 6:14). — Salvation of the Soul, p. 8, emphasis is Chitwood’s

Note that the spirit, saved by grace through faith, is “redeemed,” but the soul, apparently not saved by grace through faith, is “unredeemed.”

What is particularly tragic about Chitwood is that he goes great lengths to teach that salvation is by grace — “All man can possibly do is simply receive, through believing on the Son, that which has already been done on his behalf” (Salvation by Grace Through Faith, X) — but he limits that form of salvation to the spirit. Unquestionably, he teaches that the soul and body are in “darkness,” “unredeemed,” and saved “conditionally.”

That, in the final assessment, is not salvation by grace.

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Footnotes:

J.D. Faust’s book is just total nonsense

J.D. “Joey” Faust’s sole claim to recognition is his supposed chronicle of the history of the accountability movement; however, The Rod, Will God Spare It? is anything but scholarly. In fact, it’s impossibly bad.

Briefly…

1. Faust assumes anyone from antiquity who writes about the millennial kingdom is also writing about exclusion, i.e., the punishment of carnal Christians in the millennium. His source for these ancient documents is a CD-ROM, which he apparently word-searched to find relevant information. Unfortunately, the mere mention of the millennial kingdom in these documents qualifies the author as a kingdom exclusionist. That Faust has made of an actual study of these documents is dubious.

2. Faust’s interpretation of allegorical texts is utterly pedestrian. He actually envisions a rod of fire protruding from Christ’s mouth in the day of judgment! (Incidentally, the image on the book cover is equally ridiculous.)

3. Faust’s criticism of the Catholic doctrine of purgatory is painfully hypocritical. He assails the church for representing purgatory as a “place,” but then spends chapters discussing where his form of exclusion will occur literally. He makes no effort to describe what Catholic purgatory actually is, and judging from his sources, it is doubtful that he knows anything of the doctrine. (I’m not endorsing the doctrine of purgatory, but I do expect its critics to at least represent the doctrine accurately.)

4. He is a King-James-onlyist.

5. He, and the few people he numbers in his church, are about the only people who believe his version of exclusion. His interpretation of scripture is so utterly unique, he contradicts nearly everyone else whom he lists in the text as allies of exclusion.

The book, which is really simply a bad outline of a book, fails completely to make the case for exclusion, rendering it the work of neurotic or else a heretic.

For Wilson was an honourable man…

A great injustice has been done to the late A. Edwin Wilson. In the last year, several individuals removed digital copies of The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson from their websites. Among these I can name Arlen L. Chitwood, who had long intended to remove the book from his website, but did not realize that it remained “orphaned” among some pages of his website, LampBroadcast.org,[6. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=366] and Arlen Banks, who removed it because he felt Wilson was wrong to have taught that Ham “violated” Noah, his father, because Ham was black.[5. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1041]

Sadly, these individuals removed the text after I had exposed Wilson’s teachings to the general public. I bear the fault. My actions, my tenacity, led to the removal of Wilson’s book from their sites. Somes other souls, however, remained steadfast. When I called upon them to remove the book (on moral grounds, not legal) they refused. Among these I can name Calvary Bible Church and Schoettle Publishing Company. There are others still, but their names escape me for the moment.

The “injustice” I speak of is the resulting difficulty the general public now has accessing the book. How will they know what sort of man he was. I must now speak, for Wilson was an honorable man. The general public should know that Wilson taught that:

Christ never abolished slavery.[1. Chapter XV, p. 3, of the electronic edition of “The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson”.]

“And Wilson was an honorable man.”

The general public should know that Wilson taught that…

Integration, of which we hear so much today, is an effort to take two or more parts and fuse them into one, to integrate the colored race and white race through marriage, amalgamation, and assimilation, and to reduce the two groups (colored and white) to one group. Anyone who knows God’s plan and purpose concerning the human race can see the hand of Satan behind all this. His supreme desire is not the integration and fusion of the colored race with the white — he is looking forward to the day when the nation of Israel shall be integrated and fused with other nations, and then all of God’s prophecy concerning Israel’s restoration and elevation to the head of the nations shall fail of fulfillment and God will have been proven to be false. Satan is thus hoping to continue his reign over the souls of men.[2. Chapter XV, p. 3, of the electronic edition of “The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson”.]

“And Wilson was an honorable man.”

The general public should know that Wilson taught that…

This curse [upon black people] also involved general inferiority of the Hamitic race, and a special condemnation to the lowest degree of servitude. This curse consigns the Hamitic race to a position of national and personal servitude until the time of restitution of all things (Zech. 14:21).[1. Chapter XV, p. 4, of the electronic edition of “The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson”.]

“And Wilson was an honorable man.”

I call particularly upon Arlen Banks (for I know his heart) to repost The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson to TheKingdomOfTheHeavens.org, so that people might know what sort of man Wilson was. Please, do us this justice, Arlen.

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Footnotes:

The curse of the “Word of the Kingdom”

A “J Kirk Donovan” lately commented here that “the breaking down of national and ethnic barriers, in not only the US but the world, is contrary to the Scripture’s teaching.” As typical of the disciples of A. Edwin Wilson, he declined to provide scriptural evidence. The reason is obvious: there is no such scripture.

Therefore, it is ironic that those who teach the “Word of the Kingdom” often accuse “mainstream” Christianity of rejecting the Bible.

Should not the case of A. Edwin Wilson serve as a warning? That perhaps the “Word of the Kingdom” — steeped in race hatred and bigotry — is flawed? (How is it possible that they can listen to Wilson’s sermons and not blanch? How is it possible that they can read “Selected Writings” and not be sickened?)

Let us review:

1. They teach that salvation is conditional. — Where is this found in scripture?

2. They teach that so-called carnal Christians will be judged in the millennial kingdom. — Where is this stated?

3. They teach that Christians are the “unbelievers” of 2 Cor. 6:14. — Paul calls Christians disciples of Satan?

4. They teach that blacks are cursed. — Again, where is this stated?

The ungodliness of the so-called “Word of the Kingdom” is breathtaking. It is quite appalling. It is not simply a “perspective,” as some are apt to say, but a complete rewrite of scripture. These disciples of Wilson and Chitwood seek to make Christ’s “Yes” a “No,” and his “No” a “Yes.”

That any of them should apologize for Wilson’s racial teachings is evidence enough against the so-called “Word of the Kingdom.” The teaching has now become a curse.

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Postscript: I have been accused, unjustly, of attacking a “godly” man. Well, listen to this man’s sermon (1973):

[audio:A-Edwin-Wilson-1973-04-18.mp3]

Are these the words of a godly man?