Monday, October 08, 2018

Church Decrease Movement (CDM): Faithful Numerical Church Decrease

Numerical growth of a church isn't hard. Most of the people I've met who see swift numerical growth aren't either smart or knowledgeable. They haven't discovered some secret.  They shouldn't be rewarded, as they very often are.  Churches with big numbers are the most emulated in the United States. Their tactics are also the most likely to be sent to foreign countries.  The most notable standard for success is still size.

Before I left graduate school, the dean of academic affairs at the college from which I graduated told me to go out there to California and outgrow, essentially beat, Jack Trieber.  I remember the moment, and I smiled and didn't answer.  I had an early conflict within between perceived success and what I knew scripture taught.  It was in my nature to compete and win something, to be bigger than everyone else, to do something better than everyone else.  What was winning though?  Do we win in this lifetime or the next?  What did scripture say?

When I got started in California, there were dueling intentions for me, perhaps three different ones that clashed with each other.  One, I wanted to see people saved.  I wanted them really to be saved, although it may have been in actuality to see lots of professions of faith. Two, I desired to see quick growth.  It was my goal to become self-supporting by the first year and quit my job.  My wife and I didn't come to California with even half support, perhaps less than 25% of even what was required to live in the most expensive housing market and the hardest place in the country.  The support we received helped us, but it wasn't close to what we needed.  I never went on deputation.  I preached at a few churches and a few supported us, but it was never my intention to get support first.  I was coming to California and didn't need it.  Third, I wanted to preach the Bible, expositional preaching, and the latter was more important than the other two.  It was also the enemy of the other two as time progressed.

My wife and I arrived in California in August 1987, me 25 and her 23, and our first service was October 18 that year.  We came without a stick of furniture and almost no money.  I remember early on, in the first few months, having about three hundred dollars in the bank and being conned out of it by a "preacher" whose "car broke down" on his way to a funeral.  I was not a big city boy.  I didn't think we grew quickly.  I was expecting something faster.  However, we grew fast enough that I could quit my job by January.   My wife still worked at a bank.  We were self-supporting after a year and a half.

After about three years, we were averaging about 175 a week with a big day of 330.  How did we do it?  Promotion.  Big days.  Give-aways.  Exciting jr. church.  We had a Spanish group of about 70.  In the summer, we had what we called a neighborhood kids crusade and over 500 different children came in for the week.  We put on what I labeled the mother of all puppet shows with every day a cliff hanger.  It's easy for people, workers, to be motivated by numbers.  They see it as an indication that God is working and they are succeeding.  They'll keep doing this "work," because it is easy.  You offer people something tangible and temporal and they come.

One favorite story was buying a 25 passenger shuttle bus from gypsies.  I literally went to a home with a large palm of a hand on a sign out front, made the payment in cash, after which I was invited to a pig roast.  I walked out back with the gypsies and they had a very large pig, head and all, in their backyard turning on a large home made spit.  This was right in town in the city and I'm sure it was illegal to have a large fire in your backyard even to roast a pig.  I did not have my palm read.

Again, I'm saying it wasn't hard to do what I was doing except for one thing.  I knew it was wrong.  I didn't know it at first, but I felt guilty most of the time in everything that we did, attempting to motivate people with what we were using.  I was following the examples I had been given.  I wasn't even pedal to the metal on these strategies.  I could have done far more than I was doing.  I knew others were.  What held me back was the guilt.  I tried to tamp it down, justifying it by the fact that many others were doing it and doing more.  It was bringing "results."  Several people encouraged me to do more and were happy with what we were doing.

As all the above was happening, I was also preaching through books.  In Sunday School, I taught through scripture.  On Sunday morning I preached through John and then Acts.  I didn't see these as the methods of Jesus.  They clashed with what Jesus did.  This was not good for the people in the church.

The key for a "Spanish ministry" was having everything in Spanish (of course), allowing it to be separate from the English, and providing a lot of social opportunities, meals especially.  Many of the Spanish couples were not members.  They couldn't join.  They weren't married.  They were living together because getting married would bring in the government.  Some of them wanted to be baptized and join anyway without being married, but I wouldn't allow for that.  I took a "stand" there.  There was no intention of almost any of them to integrate with the English.  Except for one or two of them, they had zero motivation to evangelize the people of the United States, except for people in the country like they were.  Their children were growing up in homes that did not speak English, but they were learning it in the public school, causing a kind of division between the parents and the children -- two different cultures.

We had about 15-20 deaf.  The key for the deaf was constant pandering, keeping them busy with activities, and food again.  They didn't want to come if you didn't have something for them, so you just always had something for them.

A lot of what I led with church growth conflicted with biblical methods, the teaching of Jesus and the apostles, and biblical evangelism.  Even if I believed in a true gospel, the way I did things wasn't lined up with the gospel of the New Testament, which is the only gospel.  In many instances, I would preach passages that did not line up with what we were doing to get bigger.  We were, however, seeing a lot of professions of faith, and many would have said God was working through these means.

I had a mix of biblical and unbiblical practices.  I was convinced of discipleship, believed the Great Commission was making disciples.  I wrote a thirty week discipleship.  We started attempting to take every new "convert" through the thirty weeks.  I taught a 25 week parenting course that was ongoing.  I wanted true conversion and was constantly tweaking personal evangelism to fit a scriptural model.  My preaching became more and more dense exegesis of the Bible.

I never decided to get smaller.  I would, however, conform our belief and practice to what I was preaching from scripture.  I allowed exposition of the Bible to change our church.  Every change decreased our numbers.  The goal was to honor God with faithfulness to His Word.  Success was to conform everything to God's Word.  Our church changed and got smaller and smaller.  In fact, the actual church didn't get smaller by what we did.  Our church never was very big when we tried to get big.  We had a lot of people, but the church wasn't big.  Our church, the actual church, is bigger now.  Our expectations changed.

We do more evangelism now than we did before.  Our goal is to preach the gospel, thorough and accurate.  We want to do it a lot and everywhere, and we do.  So now we have around 70-80 people when everyone is in town and healthy.  We don't count.  We know who the people are.  If we count, that's where it is.  I understand that I'm not a success.  I would be if we kept on the former path.  Not really a success, but considered to be one.

Understand this:  we do more ministry now than we ever have.  A true gospel is preached more.  More actual discipleship occurs.  More biblical worship takes place.  We are a greater success, even though the trajectory we took has led me not to be a success.

When I look at the churches that do what we did a long time ago and even worse today, I understand that they get credit for doing these things.  People want to know their secret.  They look to them for ideas for how to make their church bigger.  I'm disgusted by what I see.  I understand the damage their techniques cause.  I said it wasn't hard to do what they do.  It isn't, but at the same time it is impossible.  How do they look at themselves in the mirror, knowing what they are doing?  I don't get it.  The lack of discernment is astounding.  How can they be saved?  I don't think they are.  We at least do not regard them as saved people.

In every sector of evangelicalism and fundamentalism, even among unaffiliated churches, the size of the church is the most accepted and practiced criteria for success.  The leaders of the largest churches get the most mention among others and have the most influence.  It is easy to see.  Men have a difficult time criticizing them for what they do, because they don't want to get out of favor with them.  Those churches also very often have the biggest or most buildings and the most money.  Even among the conservative evangelicals, size is what is rewarded.  You have to be a kind of success that even the world would say is successful.  They do not, I repeat, do not promote men with small churches.  A man with a small church is not a success.

Young men know that success is getting big and this is true everywhere.  Something is wrong with you or you are doing something wrong if your church is small.  Men know this.  It then affects the way that men practice, and, therefore, believe.  You are better if you are big.  You are less significant and somewhat a failure if you are small.  Again, men know this.  This affects everything.  It needs to stop.  The idea needs to be torched.  The truth is the truth.  The truth itself is success.  Conforming to it is success.  We have less conforming to the truth and sadly, because conforming to the truth isn't rewarded by the leaders in America of every segment of evangelicalism and fundamentalism.

Even among the people that would say size is not the right evaluation of success for church, they still promote size.  They contradict themselves.  They say that size shows superior giftedness.  I've seen it again and again.  And then the proof is in what occurs then.  The men of the bigger churches are considered better.  I can tell you that when my church was bigger, there was more widespread acknowledgement of my success.  It couldn't immunize me for my guilt.  It couldn't convince me that what I was doing, had been doing, was biblical.  I also have known that the more popular you are, because of size, brings a kind of credibility when you say something.  You can say the truth and it is ignored.  You can say an untruth and it gets attention, if you have widespread influence especially because of your compromise.

People pay attention to those who have a big following, even if what they are saying is crazy.  Even the more conservative evangelicals give credence to the one who has seen bigger success, very often through compromise.  There are numerous examples of this.  If kooks criticize them, they deal with it, because the kook has a following.  If the small pastor criticizes them, they ignore it, even if it is the truth.  The truth doesn't matter.  Size matters.

We need a movement of church decrease.  Like Paul, men need to count what they are doing and what they have done as dung.  Believe God.  Obey God.  Depend on Him.  Look to God for relevance.  Or accept that you are not relevant, but that biblical success is actually success.

Do I think a movement of church decrease will occur?  Churches will decrease, mainly because of apostasy, something like we see has already occurred in the United Kingdom.  Much of the apostasy has already started in the United States as manifested by acceptance of same-sex marriage and then the embrace of "social justice."  Among revivalists, there is an increasing "emergent" flavor or worse.  Effeminate men are rampant and not confronted.  When they are confronted, those confronting are rebuked by millennial mobs, pandering parents, and clueless women.

What we need is strength.  We need solid scriptural teaching.  We need courage.  We need men.  I don't think we'll get it.  Maybe you can prove me wrong.


Jeff Voegtlin said...

Praise the Lord for 31 years of faithful preaching in the Bay area.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Jeff.

Anonymous said...

Do you not understand what you are saying in this paragraph?

When I look at the churches that do what we did a long time ago and even worse today, I understand that they get credit for doing these things. People want to know their secret. They look to them for ideas for how to make their church bigger. I'm disgusted by what I see. I understand the damage their techniques cause. I said it wasn't hard to do what they do. It isn't, but at the same time it is impossible. How do they look at themselves in the mirror, knowing what they are doing? I don't get it. The lack of discernment is astounding. How can they be saved? I don't think they are. We at least do not regard them as saved people.

You admit that you did these same things in the past but now say you do not regard these people as saved. Were you saved when you did this in the past?

Kent Brandenburg said...


The way you asked this question wasn't kind. Love is kind. It's also fruit of the Spirit.

Saved people can do wrong things, but they won't continue doing them. Both seeing and hearing what he did in Sodom, Lot vexed his righteous soul from day to day. He had a righteous soul, so he was vexed. I was vexed in doing those things, especially as I grew as a Christian in the Word of God.

I would think these people of whom I speak would also be vexed. Do you?

It's not the doing of the thing, but the continuous doing of the thing. Read 1 John. Every Christian will sin, but he won't continue in sin as a lifestyle. 1 John 2:1-6, 3:6-9.

Be of good courage, Anonymous. Or as Jesus said, fear not. Don't live in fear under the cover of anonymity. Let your light so shine. Fear not man who can destroy body, but fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell forever.

Anonymous said...

All right... So you changed your approach before the deadline (your arbitrary deadline at which such "sin" becomes "continuous" rather than just a temporary thing that Christians can do).

I am curious as how you came about knowing this deadline so well? You must be very convinced of it after all since you are willing to state that these other people (Trieber and his admittedly absurd ilk) are past the deadline and should not be considered as saved.

Also, how do you know they are not vexed? I doubt you were admitting you were vexed when you were engaged in this "sin."

Your assumptions are based on faulty logic and lack of knowledge and therefore not kind. It is interesting that you accuse me of not being kind. Very... After basically stating that Trieber is not a Christian. (Don't misunderstand: I would not defend Trieber a bit. I detest what he stands for.)

Kent Brandenburg said...

When someone doesn't repent of sin, it's continuous. I'm not saying they're not saved, I'm saying I don't regard them as such. I'm letting them be unto me a publican and a sinner, which is what Jesus said. Or, I'm not in fellowship with them.

I've actually confronted Trieber at least twenty years ago, but that wasn't my point of saying his name. It was part of the story.

I don't understand what you're getting at Anonymous. I'd hope for a legitimate point to be made, instead of attacking what is true here. You're not really making any legitimate point. You say I'm not being logical. I don't know what you're talking about.

Dave Mallinak said...

I think you are both Biblical and right in this, and I don't think you were specifically aiming at Trieber. Thanks for writing this. I have often said that a true church often adds by subtracting.

Anonymous said...

This is a different Anonymous, but I just wanted to weigh in as someone that has previously posted with strong assertions and had to backtrack...

I believe the other Anonymous thought that you were saying people were unsaved if they participated in this behavior. In my first reading of the article, I could see why he thought you said this. After re-reading, and looking at the comments, I can agree.

Anyway, to the real point of my comment: Men often fall into the trap of thinking it is their church. If the church belongs to them, then it doesn't belong to Jesus. Once a man thinks this way, then the Bible no longer has an impact on what they are doing.

I remember the same questioning and doubting of the things that I was taught at Bible college. The longer I have studied the Bible (particularly Acts), the more I have concluded that most Baptist Churches in America (even IFB) are Protestant in their polity.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Dave.

One more thing related to anonymous, and I retain the right not to publish anonymous comments, and I did anyway. I forgot about the concept of trolling, and I believe he was trolling me. Or maybe it was a Russian bot.

Anonymous said...

Kent, I am not trolling nor am I a Russian bot. I am making a point that you can't seem to grasp...

When you were engaged in what you now call sin, how would you have wanted others to view you? As unsaved because you have not repented within some arbitrary deadline they made up for you? I think not. Even you admit it took a lot of time and growing to get out of that mindset. To speak as you have is not kind because it assumes the worst, makes assumptions you have no right to make about their state of mind, and apparently puts them on some kind of deadline that you control to turn from a "sin' before it shifts from temporary to as you put it, "continuous."

You are now trying to take back what you wrote. In your original post you said this: "How can they be saved? I don't think they are." Now in your last comment you claim you never said they were not saved. Which is it?

Furthermore, I have never met a Christian that did not have continuous sin in their life. I have watched pastors talk about the "bad" sins such as homosexuality and this concept while they themselves are full of continuous sins such as speeding every time they get in a car, arrogance, etc. The whole concept you are presenting needs to be rethought else anyone can claim every other person in their life is not a Christian and/or separate from them.

By the way, don't take this wrong, but I see continuous sin in your life. I think you struggle with arrogance. How should I treat you in light of that?

Anonymous said...

Some people choose to remain anonymous because of guilt by association. That’s why I chose to remain anonymous. I am not the anonymous above.

I want to mention a couple things. The Bible says, “in the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin.” I do believe that if you choose to write as much as you do it does make it more likely to sin because of the multitude of words. You got on anonymous for being unkind. Is calling people not “smart or knowledgeable” very kind?

I agree with a number of things in the article. I believe a lot of churches miss the main thing and substitute it (God’s power and Blessing, prayer and preaching) with programs that may not be wrong but aren’t the purpose of a church. I do however want to challenge your thinking regarding being too limited in what we do. When Jesus was on earth he provided things that would meet peoples physical needs in order to give them the spiritual things they needed. Did he not do this? Nothing we do today can compare to what Christ offered for people to come to his services. He healed the blind and raised the lame and healed all their sicknesses. He did this to show he cared but also to show them that he could heal them spiritually. This in no way compares to offering a lunch afterwards or a reward of some sort. We read in Luke I believe how “they sought means” to bring them, to Jesus. That included taking the roof off to get a lame man to Jesus. I believe this lays out a principle. We ought to do everything we can to get people to the one who can heal them. Many who were healed of Christ didn’t actually become followers of him. Many who heard him preach didn’t become followers either but at least they heard the message. There are so many tools a church can use to get people in to hear about Jesus and I don’t see anything wrong with it based on Christ’s example. I am not arguing that every way is ok at all. Telling a bus kid that if he comes to church for 10 weeks in a row he gets a brand new Bible is not wrong. During those 10 weeks he is going to be in an atmosphere so different then his home. He will be around people who love him, he will learn Bible verses and songs and most importantly hear about Jesus. Maybe you wouldn’t argue against that but your article sure makes it sound like it. Offering candy or little treats to those who come is not bribery or corrupting the gospel. It is using appropriate things to get them to church. Other tools like VBS, kids programs, RU, ladies tea and others can all be used affectively to spread the gospel. Of course a church must be doing door to door evangelism first and foremost.


KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

Please note the words of the most widely used NT Greek syntax, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics by Dan Wallace:

[p. 522]
There are two types of customary present, repeated action and ongoing state. The stative present is more pronounced in its temporal restrictions than the customary present or the gnomic present.

2. Key to Identification: customarily, habitually, continually

The two types of customary present are lexically determined: One is repeated action (habitual present [customarily, habitually]), while the other is ongoing state (stative present [continually]).

I'm sorry, when Greek present tenses in 1 John and other books of Scripture indicate that believers will habitually practice righteousness, and faithful preachers like Bro Brandenburg agree with what the Greek text of 1 John teaches, they are not being arbitrary, but they are simply stating what the words of the Bible actually say.

KJB1611 said...

Therefore, Anonymous, if you dislike the fact that believers will habitually practice righteousness, you can take that up, not with Bro Brandenburg, but with the Apostle John, and with that God who dictated his inspired epistles by the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

KJB1611, I really do think you are a smart guy. That is why I am surprised you are stooping to strawman arguments. I never said what you said I said. Maybe go back and read it again. I am challenging Kent's right to control the timeline for when a "sin" (if it is even a sin) crosses the line and becomes "continuous," throwing them into the "unsaved" category.

Kent Brandenburg said...

It does become difficult to speak to anonymous writers, when everyone is anonymous. I think this is the original anonymous to whom I write now. Paul said, Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith. Everyone should do that. So questioning whether someone is saved, versus his being some kind of 'backslidden Christian' or the like should be more normal than it is.

Before I get to the point of the question though, if you were to read what I wrote, I am talking about people that today are doing even worse than what I was doing, to be clear, not the same thing that I did. We actually limited what we did, because from the start I was unsure about it, even though I was taught to do it.

Regarding the question, it's good to ask, could I be saved and to have been behaving a certain way? A biblical Christian life and the historical, scriptural view of sanctification, is a life of struggle. If someone is struggling against the wrong belief and practice and keeps adding to his faith, 2 Peter says that this is an indication he is saved.

As far as my backtracking, I am not doing that at all. Everything I'm writing in these comments is what I meant in the first place. Perhaps I could have been more clear, but I'm explaining now, not changing anything that I had written. We are mainly looking at a very narrow point in the post, that is, could people be saved that continue in a particular unbiblical method? I think it would be good to ask. I don't think so, but that doesn't mean they are not saved. I think they should examine themselves in light of this though.

Related to arrogance, what I call being 'big-headed,' I don't know anonymous. I'm confident, but my confidence comes from my position in Christ, the standing in grace, and the certainty of scripture, not in myself. My conscience is clear on the arrogance front.

Kent Brandenburg said...

The anonymous guy that came later and said he had to reread the post, and talked about people thinking it is their church and not Christ's. I think what you wrote is possible about polity, etc.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I don't believe refuting a blog post will put someone into an association with a person, just the opposite, so I don't understand that one. Answering someone on a blog is not fellowship or even association. I do think it will show that someone is reading me, and he doesn't want to get caught doing so -- that would be proud for someone who has an issue with arrogance.

Numerical growth doesn't take smarts or knowledge. No one should be fooled by the idea that they have something superior to those who don't utilize CGM methods or strategies.

God does want church done His way. Healing wasn't a church growth method -- signs are not a basis for faith. The way we do it should be scriptural, not non-scriptural, even as the former is what gives God glory. See 1 Cor 2-4.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

1John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
1John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

You said that all Christians are continually sinning. Please explain 1 John 3:7-8, keeping in mind that "doeth" and "committeth sin" fit the category of the Greek present for continual or habitual action.

After explaining these verses, please explain if we can judge based on them or if, unlike practically every other verse in the Bible, we are supposed to refrain from making righteous judgments based on 1 John 3:7-8.


Anonymous said...

KJB1611, I am very familiar with your position. I have no better interpretation than you do for those verses. All I know is that interpretation does not line up so well with real life. Every person I have ever met had ongoing struggles/sin in different areas. Kent does, you do and I do too.

If there is some wriggle room in your interpretation, it is about what makes a sin "continual/habitual." It seems to me that the term has plenty of built in wriggle room. After all, Kent stayed in his "sin" (if that is what it was) for years apparently and he believes it was not continual/habitual. Clearly, he believes he was not long enough in that sin to prove himself not saved. Others might disagree with that, I don't know. I get the sense from the way you and he write here on this blog, you may not extend even that amount of time to others you disagree with before questioning their salvation. I find that interesting.

Frankly, yes, I think you guys could be a little bit slower to judge, especially when you admit to the same problem you are judging others for. You could sneer at Matt 7 all you want as I have heard many preachers do, but it is right there in your KJV.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for admitting that you have no explanation for 1 John 3:7-8 other than what it pretty obviously means--that is good. I appreciate that.

I am going to believe what Scripture says rather than rethinking it in light of an alleged "real life" which allegedly means that what the God of heaven has spoken needs to be rethought. Under inspiration, the Apostle John both says that Christians do not continually sin and he also says that they characteristically confess their sins (1 John 1:8-10; 1 John 3:7-8) so both are true. They fit together the way the classic studies on Biblical sanctification at explain.

I have no desire to debate whether what you affirm is "real life" means that we need to rethink what Scripture plainly says in 1 John 3 and many other texts. Scripture tells us how to interpret real life, not the other way around. Perhaps placing something else above what Scripture says in 1 John 3 is "sneering" at God's Word, rather than honestly explaining Matthew 7 in its context is, as has been done on this blog.

I am probably done commenting on this post. Thank you, Pastor Brandenburg, for its good content.

Anonymous said...

KJB1611, sadly and a bit hysterically you persist in your delusion (and Kent's delusion) that your application is unimpeachable. I have tried to be charitable and give you guys out after out to back down from that. I never disagreed with the essence of your interpretation. I have merely disagreed with your application. The fact is that neither you nor anyone else has the right to decide when a sin flips from non-habitual to habitual/continual. That is the essence of what I have said repeatedly. Rather than acknowledge what should be obvious, you continue to engage in strawman fallacies. I doubt we would get any further in twenty years of discussing this so if you want to duck and run from this, that is fine with me.

Anonymous said...

Just last week I confronted a couple in our church whose home we were at for dinner. They had a sign on their wall that talked about "Faith, Hope, and Love" Frankly, I was shocked that they would have this type of "artwork" in their home and I came down hard on them. True love is confrontational.

I question why IFB's have such a negative view of physical help. I do not subscribe to social justice and consider that going too far. But on the other hand, to disregard and downplay physical helps does not seem wise either. As a KJV adherent, I know that I Corinthians 13 is not the "love chapter" of the bible. That is something from false bible versions. The KJV uses "charity", which is often displayed by acts of physical helps, or what some call "social justice." I think we as IFB's need to rethink our position on this.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous of 6:14am,

Nothing is wrong with "faith, hope, and love." (Are you joking?)

Second, physical help is something every church should do. That's not what the church growth movement is about.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous of 9:17pm,

Jesus said that you are His disciple if you continue in His Word. Jesus said He that overcomes will receive the crown of life. If you say that you know Him and you continue in sin, you are a liar, 1 John says. All of that is true.

As far as our judgment of when sin is continuous, yes, we have a harder time, but I would move to the side of caution, since it relates to eternal destiny. Scripture does give us parameters. You go one on one, you go two to three on one, then you bring it to the church. This is an unrepentant person. That's how it applies in a church.

As this relates to what I was practicing, I stopped. That is the bottom line, I have for anyone. Does it occur in a week, a month, a year? I was vexed and it stopped. Sometimes it stops because someone is sick and then dead, like 1 Cor 11 says. Sometimes people are not saved. However, none of this makes the doctrine of scripture untrue or false.

I would think you would tend toward thinking that I was different because I stopped. The people not stopping are different than me on this? Could you agree with that? Or do you lump people who did it and stopped with people who do it, are warned, and don't stop?

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course you are different from a person that never chooses to stop. I just don't know how you can make practical judgments about people when you don't know if they are ever going to choose to stop. I suppose you can separate from them which is what you mean by treat them as unsaved. The reason I spoke up was because you went beyond that in saying you did not believe they are saved. I think you have clarified and tempered that assertion so I am willing to let this go.

I am thus assuming your position on Trieber is you don't know if he is a Christian and have doubts because he has continued a long time in a sin and will separate from him (treat him as unsaved) until he repents.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I wasn't targeting Trieber. I was telling my story. I included Trieber's name. I think there are far worse even than Trieber today. As I said, I wrote him over 20 years ago, actually in answer to a letter he wrote me, asking me to join him in something, and pointed out 4 or 5 of the worst errors, including on repentance, and he did nothing about it, said nothing about it.

I don't want people to be confused on the issue of the gospel. It is serious. His errors should not be considered to be tolerable. Just move along, it's all fine.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

You said: "The fact is that neither you nor anyone else has the right to decide when a sin flips from non-habitual to habitual/continual."

There are lots of passages where Scripture warns that people who engage in habitual or continual sin are unsaved, such as 1 John 3, where you agree that this is the meaning of the passage.

Could you please:

1.) Cite the passages in 1 John where the Apostle says that nobody can tell what habitual or continual sin is

2.) Provide the texts in the NT that draw the conclusion you draw from passages warning that people who engage in continual sin are unsaved, and

3.) Explain how we are to apply passages such as 1 John 3, since nobody has the right to draw any conclusions about people from the many texts that say what 1 John 3 says?


Anonymous said...

Dear KJB1611,

Could you please:

1) Identify one independent Baptist pastor you know personally publicly by name that is not saved because they are in habitual sin. This should not be hard for you since you obviously believe you can tell when sin is habitual.

2) No #2. Just the first one is sufficient.

Once you answer this with no beating around the bush, I will answer your questions.


KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

I do not know personally any independent Baptist pastors in our area who I can say for sure are not saved, although one might be a Judas, of course.

Steven Anderson is an independent "Baptist" "pastor" who, based on his violation of Scripture and false gospel, is not saved.

I look forward to hearing your answer to my questions. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh. Steven Anderson is a safe choice for you if not a copout. Who is not more universally despised by people on every side than Steven Anderson?

But a deal is a deal even if you did take the easy way out...

1) There is none as we both know. I John also does not say that grass is green or the sky is blue but that does not make those things less true either. You can do better than this...

2) I am not trying to be difficult but I really don't understand this question. If you are essentially asking the same question as #1 but just broadening it to the entire NT, my same answer applies though I think you can make a strong case that we should think the best of other professing Christians, understand that we can't know their hearts, etc. Read Jesus, I Corinthians 13, etc.

3) I John 3 seems to be mostly self-examinary in nature. A person can use it to test themselves. I am not sure that it is designed to be a test to condemn others. In fact, verses 19-21 strongly suggests the idea of self examination.

Anonymous said...

I would like to weigh in briefly on this conversation, if I may.

Firstly, I would agree with both Kent and Thomas (KJV1611) about the clairty of Scripture about continual sin and the regenerated believer. I John 3 makes this clear but also do many other passages, including the opposite effect which is obedience: Lk. 17:10; Jn. 8:31-32; 14:15, 21-24; Eph. 2:10; I Jn. 2:3-6; 3:22-24; 5:1-3; II Jn. 1:5-6; Rev. 22:14-15; etc. Those who are living characteristically in obedience will not “continually sin.”

Secondly, the perverted church growth methods of Trieber and ilk, are just merely one symptom of many. If they continue in these things, it exposes a serious underlying spiritual problem. I think that’s what Kent was getting at it, without saying it in so many words. We can look at other things as well, such as what are they actually preaching, how are they obeying the Word of God, are they growing in God’s grace and wisdom, are they obeying the doctrine of godliness and the wholesome words of Christ (I Tim. 6:3-5). What are the practises of the church. And how are they responding to reproof and rebuke, something the Word is God has much to say about (e.g. Pr. 12:1; II Tim. 3:16-17; Ac. 8:24 [cf. vv. 20-23]). There is so much in the Bible about the evidence of salvation, and not just I John and James either. People that continue in their perversion of ecclesiology are very likely to be transgressing many other commands and doctrine of Scripture. We might even just have to go back to the foundation, which is the gospel, and we see these men (not just Trieber but the others like Chappell, Sexton, Bakss, etc) clearly perverting the gospel, so of course many other things will be effected in their “ministry.” It’s not the Spirit of God by the Word of God that directs their “ministry” but rather their carnal mind and flesh (cf. Rom. 8:4-14). The use and perversion of God and His Word are the means whereby these men achieve their personal pursuits of fame and glory. There’s nothing new under the sun. That’s what it’s always been about for most men like this (read Rom. 16:18; Phil. 3:19; II Pet. 2:2-3; Ac. 8:19-20). And they prey on the simple minded. Those that are truly saved will come out of it, sooner than later. They will prove who their allegiance rests with. II Pet. 2:2 might be addressing these men with their large following who deny the Lord the bought that them (they deny the Lordship of Christ, which is a denial of the true gospel): “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” The word “pernicious” here (“apoleia”) is fitting as well, referring to damnable and destructive teachings.

Thirdly, we don’t see this at all in the case of Kent. He was preaching the true gospel through it all, preaching expository through the Bible while conforming the practices of the church more and more to Scripture. He was vexed in his soul, which had the outward manifestation of the above things while decreasing more and more and obeying the doctrine of contending and separating in confronting Trieber about his errors and then separating himself from men like him. Had those men like Trieber had similar Biblical convictions, they would’ve done the same, for God’s Spirit doesn’t change between persons He indwells. But they didn’t. And that says much (I Cor. 2:9-16; I Jn. 2:20-21, 27).


KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

So when you test yourself, how do you know when a sin is habitual?

That's something nobody can know, right?

There isn't any difference between a new Christian who sins by taking one drink and someone who is an alcoholic for several decades, and nobody can judge that the one is habitually sinning and the other isn't, even though Scripture contains a lot of verses talking about habitual sin, right?


KJB1611 said...

Also, Anonymous, here is a non-cop out. Every IFB who sincerely believes and preaches an anti-repentance gospel is someone I will treat as an unsaved person.

Ryan Swope said...

I'm going to send several comments below. Way too long to put in here. It won't let me have it all in one. So I'm going to put in 4 or 5 separate comments for it to be complete.

Ryan Swope said...

When We Get Saved We Have Eternal Security (Once saved always Saved) But Can Fall Out Of Fellowship With God. How To Be In And Stay in Fellowship With God Versus What Causes Us To Fall Out Of Fellowship.

The two words “eternal security” are not found in the Bible. The words eternal salvation and eternal life are the words that are found in the Bible. What do we mean when we say eternal life, eternal salvation and eternal security? We mean that once a person is TRULY SAVED aka as being born again (John 3:3-7) and the spiritual birth by putting their faith in Jesus Christ and believing in the Death, Burial and Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) he or she cannot lose their salvation. (John 6:37, 10:27-30) Eternal security means that a man does not work to get his salvation and he cannot work to keep his salvation.

A true believer (who is walking in the Spirit) will have a hard time continuing to do it their way. If you have truly been saved you will be changed. Your deepest desires are no longer the same. You will still have competing desires that wage against your new desires, but they are the foreign ones now (See Romans 7:13-25). You may be able to embrace the old, foolish ways for awhile or they may even come back during your sanctification but it like I said it won't be long before you are pricked in your heart and truly hurt and have guilt over. It will become harder for you to embrace . As a true born again child of God, you should feel a new sensation. The conviction of the Holy Spirit. You will feel the weight of conviction continue to grow. For a true believer this feels like ugliness inside them. It grows until the point where this robs any potential happiness the sin would have given to them. It is immediately replaced with nothing but ugliness and shame. It can take some time to get to this point (perhaps years for some people). But a true Christian (who is being controlled and guided by the Spirit) can never continue to act or practice and serve sin in a manner that is contrary to their new character, indefinitely. It may come and go because we may not be walking in the Spirit but there will be a conviction and hurt over where you are pricked in your heart before long. You won't be able to continue there in. We still have the flesh and the battle between the flesh and spirit are always going to exist here on earth. We are going to continue to sin. Even when we are not out of fellowship with God and we sin we will immediately confess that and forsake it. But let's say we are not right with God and we are in sin (and being controlled by the flesh) and we are practicing or serving sin, it won't be long before we are hurt. God will chastise us and will will feel the conviction and become pricked and will then look to get that out of our lives and confess and forsake. We can ignore the guidance of God and decide not to obey which will only lead us into more son and further out of fellowship with God. But you will continue to feel the effects of God's chastisement and you will be convicted and feel guilt and hurt over. But it's your choice to get right God.

You cannot have an encounter with a semi-truck and walk away unchanged. How much less so an encounter with the living God?! The person whose life continues to reflect the old pattern of sin, and who lacks even a root desire for something different, should look closely at themselves to see if they are really in the light (2 Cor 13:5). If you are not a different person than you were before (with new desires and the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your heart) then you should question if you have ever really been saved. I cannot know this for you. Only you can God can determine it.

Ryan Swope said...

So many will people say: “Well then, if I am saved eternally than I can do whatever I want to because I cannot lose my salvation.” People will ask, “If God will always forgive you of sin then what’s the point in obeying?” This question blows my mind and shows total ignorance of the Word of God. More than that, I can’t imagine intentionally hurting God because I know He is forgiving. Take that idea to any other relationship you have and apply it. If you are married or when you do get married if your spouse is a very loving and forgiving person and would forgive you if you have an affair why shouldn’t we just do it? Because we should love our spouse! Because we should care more about their happiness and joy than we do on some temporary gratification that will only serve to destroy us and the other person and damage our relationship with our spouse.

This question shows me something very troubling. It reveals a lack of love for God. A person who actually has a real relationship with God will love God. They will want to obey Him in order to make Him smile and bring Him joy. The idea to intentionally sin because they know God would forgive them is unthinkable. As Paul says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live there any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2). Someone who understands that they deserve hell (justly and rightly) but that God has chosen them to save by taking their place and dying for them would be blown away by this unfathomable act of love. Such love strips you bare of all self and prompts a person to love such a God in a very personal and real way. Such love begets love. Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing or seek its own way (1 Cor 13:5-6).

Ryan Swope said...

So many people speak of Christianity as if it were just a transaction. A ticket out of hell and a gift to heaven. Have faith, get salvation . . . transaction over. Then back to serving sin. Christianity is about a relationship between you and God . . . that lasts forever. It isn’t just believing in Him and then going about your life, your way. You can’t add Jesus into your life. You must come to Him and lay your whole life down at His feet along with all your sin and pick up His cross and follow after Him. It may seem like the cross is heavy and burdensome, but the more you carry it you realize Jesus is doing all the heavy lifting. He is doing the real work, not you. The burden is light. You say, “What if following the rules brings us closer to God? Well then the rules are the focus; they’re on a pedestal again because following them brings you closer to God but if you don’t follow them you’re distancing yourself from God.” If this is your way of thinking and belief then you have it backwards. It isn’t following the rules that brings you closer to and in order to have favor with God, (That's religion) it is receiving God and agreeing with God towards sin that changes your desires and allows you to live out the “rules” that he commands. The focus is NOT the rules, but God. Follow God. Pursue God. Fall deeper in love with God. Be committed to God's word, Learn more about Him. Study His words. Test His promises. See if His words prove true and if His way is really best. Talk to Him. Bring your struggles and doubts to Him. You will find that as you do this, you will realize the rules make a lot more sense to you and you somehow are following them by choice. That’s when you realize it isn’t really you that is carrying the weight of that cross.

People will say “If the work is done by Jesus and I’m saved from my sins then why can’t I get drunk or have sex or do things that I’m tempted to do?” It isn’t just about getting saved. People forget that Jesus said the way (path) is narrow, not just the gate (Matt 7:13-14). To be saved is to walk in the way of the Lord. The person who is truly saved desires this. He does not lead to sex and drunkenness, worldliness, lusts and etc But, where He does lead is so much better! This doesn’t mean Christians are never tempted (or don’t sometimes give into temptation), of course there are... we're human. The flesh and spirit are always contrary one to the other (Galatians 5:19-21) but their deepest desire is to follow Jesus where He leads. When they sin they feel guilt and conviction (as I describe below) and their joy is restored by confession and repentance. Of course, there are practical answers to this I mention that show why these things are not really in your best interest. God wants what is best for you. Being a Christian means trusting Him because He knows more than you.

"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." ~ Romans 6:14

You can claim grace and be worldly but you will not grow in grace and remain that way. Grace teaches us to deny the carnal and to please Christ.

Ryan Swope said...

“Well, Judas was one of the apostles and he lost his salvation.” Let me say that you cannot find anyone in the Bible who was ever truly saved that lost his salvation. Let's look at Judas. John 13:10 says Judas was not clean. In John 6:64 Jesus said that Judas was not a believer; he did not believe. In John 6:70-71 it says that Judas is, (present tense) a devil. In John 17:12 Jesus calls him “the son of perdition.” He was never saved. Because somebody serves God and goes into the temple or church and becomes a preacher or deacon, doesn't mean that he is saved. Nowhere in the Bible do you find anybody truly saved that ever lost their salvation.

Read all of 1 John 3. Don't just pick certain verses to read or else you will read out of context. This is the issue with so many they just pick certain verses to read then they decide and make it say what they want it to say. You need to read all of the chapter or even previous chapters leading into that so you know what it's saying.

1 John 3
This is saying if we are truly born again and are walking in and being controlled by the Holy Spirit we won’t practice or serve sin. We won’t crave or be desirous of serving sin. Or if it does come it won't be long before we are hurt and feel the conviction and chastisement of God and desire to get back in fellowship with God. As a child of God yes we will still sin but if we're truly walking in the Spirit and being controlled by the Spirit it won’t be something we practice and intend, crave or desire and look to do. We won't go looking to do or find ways to do. If there is practicing and intentional sin being committed then the flesh is what's in control.

Remember we are going to continue to sin as long as we are here on earth. But as a child if God walking in the Spirit there won't be practicing sin being committed in purpose. We are in the flesh and being controlled by the flesh when practicing and intentional sin is being committed. But it won't be long before we are convicted and chastised by the Father. It won't be long before we become hurt and pricked. You won't be able to continue there in without being hurt and convicted by it. If we're truly a born again Christian who has been bought and purchased by the true God and Saviour and cleansed underneath the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ then (there will no doubt and inevitably) be a conviction and hurt over sin when it has been committed. Even if doesn't come right away it will most certainly come. It should always come immediately because God the Spirit is always present. But we are men and are ignorant and ignore. We can be in a practicing and serving sin (and feel the conviction and guilt but we may be ignoring it and not listening to God) and before long we will be in destruction and out of fellowship where God is punishing us and we need to get right and confess and agree with God then forsake the practicing sin and get back on fellowship with God. Or there can be a sin that we don't intend to commit and we are unaware of. This is why it's important to confess our sins daily and hourly confess to God and beg God to reveal to us what it is that's controlling us or if there is any unknown sin just as much as we need to confess known sins and forsake those in order to stay in fellowship with God. We will before hurt over it either way. God will chasten us. We will feel conviction and guilt over. If we are in a practicing sin (it usually means we are being controlled by the flesh) we know we are serving it won't be before long we feel the hurt and conviction of God who chastises all of his Children. We will confess and forsake and ask God to not let it continue or to keep recurring in our lives. We should be convicted by and we should be hurt by it.

Ryan Swope said...

When the Bible says in verse 6 “whosoever abideth in him sinneth not:” and verse 9 “whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” This is referring those who are being controlled by and walking in the Spirit won’t practice or crave sin but will be hurt by and convicted by that sin and will want to get it out of their life. Don’t get confused by the verse because it says “sinneth not” or “we cannot not sin”. When the bible says in verse 4 “Whosoever committeth sin” and in verse 6 “whosoever sinneth” this is referring to those who are being controlled by the flesh who continuously keep giving into the temptation and the flesh and act upon it then give into sinning and know it’s wrong to do and it’s a sin and are not convicted or hurt by what they’re doing. If a practicing sin is present then obviously they are not walking in the Spirit. They are instead being controlled by the flesh and are not in fellowship and away from God. When we are in the Spirit we won't be controlled by the flesh or serving and practicing sin. They say “well since God is a forgiving and gracious God and forgive me I’m going to go ahead and do it. Let's say we don't have practicing sin or sin being intentionally commuted but we don't make sure to everyday to continue asking God to reveal to us sin that we are unaware of or sins that we have committed unintentionally then confess those and forsake those it won't be long before they do become practicing and intentional sins. That's because the longer we go without confessing sins we committed accidentally and ask God to not let them continue they will then become practicing sins. The same with not asking God to reveal to us unknown sin in our lives that we’re un aware of to be confessed and forsaken. This is why we must continue confessing sin everyday to God otherwise those unconfessed sins that weren’t practicing sins when they were committed will then become practicing sins and continue to recur. Unknown sin not committed purposefully or sin that was committed by accident and unintentionally that go unconfessed will eventually become practicing sins and continue to recur.

They won’t follow what Romans 6:4-16 says. If this doesn't come a out then they likely aren't saved.

Ryan Swope said...

We are all sinners and are going to continue to sin (no sinless perfection as long as we live down here on earth) but when we sin we should be hurt and convicted by it and not continuously keep doing. Or before long the practicing sin will begin to bring struggles and harm as a result of God's love and chastisement in order to help us stop. Also if there is unknown sin we will ask God to show us and to reveal sin to us so we don’t let it continue or worsen. Not only that, but Hebrews chapter 12 tells us because we are saved does not give us the right to sin, because if we are really saved and we sin, God will chastise us and correct us. Hebrews 12:6-8 says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”

If we're a true child of God then we should understand that we deserve hell (justly and rightly) but that God has chosen to save us by taking our place and dying for us should be blown away by this unfathomable act of love. Such love should strip us of all self and prompt a person to love such God in a very personal and real way. Such love begets love. Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing or seek after or have any intentions of doing so (1 Corinthians 13:5-6).

So remember we need to get controlled by God and walking in the Spirit in order to not be controlled by the flesh where we will then practicing and serving sin. When controlled by the flesh then there will be serving and practicing sin in our lives. But God will always no doubt always chastise us and prick our hearts but it's up to us to obey in order to show his love then give us the opportunity to confess, forsake and ask God to then work in us to get it out of our lives so it doesn't continue it keep recurring. So when 1 John 3 says "whosoever abideth in Him" this is referring to being controlled by and walking in the Spirit. We won't be practicing or serving sin when we are walking in the Spirit. When walking in the flesh we will be serving and practicing sin but there will also be conviction and hurt within us. When we ignore we are grieving the Holy Spirit. God will always chastise use. We will feel the conviction whether we aren't in practicing sin (but sin will still be committed unintentionally because we are still human and will be battling the flesh) or we are in the flesh and are in practicing sin. This is how loving God is to all of his children. Whether we are out of fellowship (walking in and being controlled by the flesh) and in practicing sin (he will chastise us) in order to bring us back to Him. We must confess and admit our wrong forsake the sin and restore our fellowship. It's the same when committing sins unintentionally which happens every hour because we are still battling the flesh even when we are in the Spirit but this is why we must keep confessing to God and forsaking our sins and call out to Him and ask for forgiveness and cleanse us from all unrighteousness through Jesus' Shed Blood!

Ryan Swope said...

1. HE SHOULD RECOGNIZE IT. Psalm 51:3 -- "For I ACKNOWLEDGE my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. "
2. HE SHOULD CONFESS IT. I John 1:9 -- “If we CONFESS our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
3. HE SHOULD FORSAKE IT. Isaiah 55:7 -- "Let the wicked FORSAKE his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Proverbs 28:13 -- "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and FORSAKETH then, shall have mercy. "
4. HE SHOULD SEEK TO BE RESTORED. Psalm 51:12 - "RESTORE unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. " Psalm 23:3 - "He RESTORETH my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."


1. RELATIONSHIP - Relationship is that which is formed by blood, by birth and nothing in the entire world can break relationship, and when you are born again and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you become a child of God - John 1:12 - and you are related to the Lord Jesus Christ. Your relationship depends totally upon Almighty God and it can never be broken once it is made.

2. FELLOWSHIP - Fellowship is formed by obedience and it depends upon obedience. Your fellowship can be broken with the slightest sin. Isaiah 59:2 - “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” And, fellowship is something that depends not upon God, but upon you. You need to constantly, day by day, day by day confess and forsake your sin, read the Word of God and stay close to God and keep your fellowship with God intact.

Your salvation didn't depend upon you to get it, and it does not depend upon you to keep it. It is all of God once you come and receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Your fellowship depends entirely upon you. The good works you do by letting God work in and through you with a motivation, purpose and heart all for His God and in His name will be counted and judged at the judgment seat of Christ. You must seek the Lord, you must read His Word, you must confess and forsake your sin. But you do not lose your salvation when you sin. Like David in Psalm 51, you lose the joy of your salvation, you lose the joy of your fellowship with God and walking with God. If you are truly saved, you're eternally saved, and you can never lose your salvation and this is something as I've already explained that doesn't give you or I a right to be carnal or worldly or not care how we live; it should be something that should cause you and I to live Godly every single day of our life!

Ryan Swope said...

JESUS CHRIST AND JESUS CHRIST ONLY MUST BE THE FOUNDATION! Without first having true “faith” everything you're doing in this life will be useless; it all MUST revolve around true faith and trust in the Lord Jesus! The gift of eternal salvation aka (putting your “faith” and trust in and receiving Jesus as your personal Saviour and admitting you're a sinner in need of a Saviour) gets you into heaven, but the works (all meant to be done for God) will be getting you the bigger and better rewards once you enter into heaven. Only possible through Christ! (James 2:14-26)
The rewards also called crowns are the following:


FIVE CROWNS & REWARDS ARE IN HEAVEN - Believers are Eternally Rewarded by Jesus at the Judgement Seat of Christ with rewards for being Faithful. (1 Corinthians 5:10, Romans 14:11-12). Some Believers will suffer Loss of Rewards while still being saved (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Check out: Scriptures on Crowns; be READY to face Jesus.

“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” ~ Revelation 4:10-11

Ryan Swope said...


Sins of commission are sins that we commit by doing something we shouldn’t do. It’s the type of sin in which we are most familiar. For example, if a man brutally beat an elderly lady on the subway, we’d all be infuriated and disgusted. Or if a man cheated on his wife, we’d immediately know it was a sin. Why? Those things are easily recognizable as sins of commission
Both of these sins are wicked in God’s eyes, and it’s all but guaranteed that you’ve committed both types of sins in your lifetime (probably many times). As Christians, we need to be on high alert for sin in our lives, for it can hinder our prayers, lead to chastisement, and even lead to death and misery:

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him” (Genesis 4:7).

“and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15).

What does the Bible teach about these two types of sin? What are they?

The Apostle Paul gives us a short list of sins of commission in First Corinthians:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:10).

Here are some other examples of sins of commission:

1. Sexual sins: Adultery, fornication, bestiality, homosexuality, bisexuality, molestation, pornography, etc.
Theft, covetousness, etc.
Murder, physical abuse, bullying, mental abuse, Gossip, slander, backbiting, etc.
Lying, manipulating, cursing, etc.
and much more.

Clearly, there are many “sins of commission” that we can commit. When I look back at my life, I’m disgusted by the sins I’ve committed. However, it wasn’t until I learned of the sins of omission that I fully realized how sinful I truly was, and how loving and forgiving God really is.

Ryan Swope said...


As you might have guessed, sins of omission are sins we commit by not doing something we should do. This is a sin that is easy to hide from others. It’s difficult to commit a sin of commission and get away with it, but it is quite easy to commit a sin of omission without others knowing. Therefore, I think this type of sin is perhaps the most dangerous for us in our Christian walk.

Here are just some examples of sins of omission we may commit:

1. Failing to pray regularly, or failing to pray for others in our lives. Consider what the prophet Samuel said in the Old Testament:

“Moreover, as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way” (1 Samuel 12:23).

2. Failing to tithe or be faithful stewards in our finances. Consider the words of Malachi:

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8).

3. Failing to help another person when we have both the capacity and a nudging from the Holy Spirit to do so. Consider this passage in James:

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

4. Failing to provide for our family, especially those of our own household. The Bible teaches that this is not only a sin, it even goes as far as to say that a Christian neglecting this is even worse than unbelievers. What a tragedy in today’s society that many men will impregnate a woman, and then leave with no intention of supporting her or raising his own child:

“But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).

5. Failing to read and study the Bible regularly. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the WORD of God. The great evangelist D.L. Moody once said this about the Bible:

“Either this book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.”

-D.L. Moody

6. Failing to fellowship with other Christians or attend some type of church fellowship:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

There are many other types of sins of omission. In summary, we commit a sin of omission when we neglect to do something God commands us to do.

Ryan Swope said...

Conclusion: Sins of Commission vs. Sins of Omission

Sin is sin, and God hates any and all sin. Sin will keep you out of fellowship with God, hinder your prayers, cause God to chastise us, and even lead to an early death. As Christians, we must guard ourselves from the temptation to sin in all areas of our lives.

By recognizing both types of sins (commission and omission), we can ensure that we are walking blamelessly before the Lord.

Of course, the most important sin to overcome is that of rejecting the Holy Spirit. Have you received Christ as your savior? If you died today, do you know for sure that you’d go to heaven? The Bible teaches that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. However, we can receive forgiveness of our sins and eternal life by understanding what the Gospel is in detail and who Jesus is (God, The Son of God, as well as man and was tempted as we are yet with out Sin) what Jesus Did and why Jesus did it then believe in Him not only for heaven but to also change us and make us live righteously and become a new creature.

I pray that you’ll come to faith in Christ, for He is the only way to heaven. No other person, no other faith, and no type of “good deeds” can get you to heaven. It is only by fully understanding what the Gospel is in detail and who Jesus Christ is and what He did then believe in the Gospel and Jesus Christ that you can be saved.