Hendrickson Bibles “How to Become a Christian” analysis

The Hendrickson Bibles publish the text below on “How to Become a Christian”.  This does not seem to be available on-line, so you don’t know what you’re getting without buying it.  I’ve typed it up (no doubt, with typos), and reproduced it once without comment, and another time with comment.  The crux of this message is that eternal salvation is by your decision and heartfelt commitment.  That’s not exactly right.  It’s exactly wrong.

He that is first in his own cause seemeth just

Here it is, from page 603/604 of the KJV Outreach Bible, 7th printing, January 2016, ISBN 9781598565478.  This printing is very good value for money, especially if you don’t mind newsprint, but only after you remove this page:

How to Become a Christian

The central theme of the Bible is God’s love for you and for all people. This love was revealed when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a human being, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Because Christ died, your sins can be forgiven, and because He conquered death you can have eternal life. You can know for sure what will become of you after you die.

You have probably heard the story of God’s love, referred to as the “Gospel. The word Gospel simply means “Good News.” The Gospel is Good News that, because of what Christ has done, we can be forgiven and can live forever.

But this gift of forgiveness and eternal life cannot be yours unless you willingly accept it. God requires an individual response from you. The following verses show God’s part and yours in this process:

GOD’S LOVE IS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)

God loves you. He wants to bless your life and make it full and complete. And He wants to give you a life which will last forever, even after you experience physical death.

WE ARE SINFUL

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23 (KJV)

You may have heard someone say, “I’m only human-nobody’s perfect.” This Bible verse says the same thing: We are all sinners. We all do things that we know are wrong. And that’s why we feel estranged from God – because God is holy and good, and we are not.

SIN HAS A PENALTY

“For the wages of sin is death.” – Romans 6:23 (KJV)
Just as criminals must pay the penalty for their crimes, sinners must pay the penalty for their sins. If you continue to sin, you will pay the penalty of spiritual death: You will not only die physically; you will also be separated from our holy God for all eternity. The Bible teaches that those who choose to remain separated from God will spend eternity in a place called hell.

CHRIST HAS PAID OUR PENALTY!

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinner, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (KJV)
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, has paid the penalty for all your sins. You may think you have to lead a good life and do good deeds before God will love you. But the Bible says that Christ loved you enough to die for you, even when you were rebelling against Him.

SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

The word grace means “undeserved favor.” It means God is offering you something you could never provide for yourself: forgiveness of sins and eternal life, God’s gift to you is free. You do not have to work for a gift. All you have to do is joyfully receive it. Believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ died for you!

CHRIST IS AT YOUR HEART’S DOOR

“Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20 (KJV)

Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with you. Picture if you will, Jesus Christ standing at the door of your heart (the door of your emotions, intellect and will) Invite Him in; He is waiting for you to receive Him into your heart and life.

YOU MUST RECEIVE HIM

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” – John 1:12 (KJV)

When you received Christ into your heart you become a child of God, and have the privilege of talking to him in prayer at any time about anything. The Christian life is a personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ. And best of all, it is a relationship that will last for all eternity.

Used by permission from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

If you have followed these steps and have received Christ into your life, look for a local church and tell the pastor that you have made this decision. If possible, also tell the person who gave you this Bible. They will be happy to take the next steps in your new life in Christ.

But his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.

Here it is again, with my comment.  This comment is not meant to be nice.  If you like nice, don’t read it:

How to Become a Christian — To bear the label “Christian” does not mean that you are saved. Following the steps in this plan may happen to wind up with you bearing that label, but being saved is not being called “a Christian”, nor even becoming one. Don’t get labelled: get saved!  However, if all you want is a label, go right on – maybe it does what it says on the tin after all.

The central theme of the Bible is God’s love for you and for all people. — The Bible does not attempt to define its own central theme. Why would we?  If the central theme is anything, it is Jesus Christ.  The statement is wrong anyway: God does not love all people: if you are the wicked and him that loves violence whom his soul hates, then he hates you. Nuts to you. This does not mean that he always hated you: the Bible says he loved you. Man, you really stuffed up!

This love was revealed when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a human being, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Because Christ died, your sins can be forgiven, and because He conquered death you can have eternal life. — Each of these statements is arguably true, but something is missing.  Can you spot it?

You can know for sure what will become of you after you die. — Now this makes no sense: something is missing. The reader has just been told that he’s going to heaven, but he’s not. Did he get saved by simply reading these words? Are these the words of faith? Also, you will search in vain in the scripture offered in this “gospel” for the resurrection. Perhaps it doesn’t really fit in the scheme of things that they are presenting.  You will also search in vain for certainty of heaven, because this “gospel” is about works of commitment, which means you are trusting yourself.

You have probably heard the story of God’s love, referred to as the “Gospel”. The word Gospel simply means “Good News.” — Why is this sentence even here? Gospel, good news – stop defining it, tell it. You say it’s the story of God’s love: then prove it from scripture.

The Gospel is Good News that, because of what Christ has done, we can be forgiven and can live forever. — Oh yes it is, but what you will read here is not the gospel.

But this gift of forgiveness and eternal life cannot be yours unless you willingly accept it. — This sentence, which starts with a conjunction “but”, tellingly says “eternal life cannot be yours”. It says you need an act of the will. It says you need an act of acceptance. You must be saved by a work.

God requires an individual response from you.— That’s almost right, but still not quite. When we get to the response proposed, it will be completely wrong.

The following verses show God’s part and yours in this process:  — I believe this dividing between God’s part and man’s part is called “synergism” by people who like to call their story “monergism” – two actors in salvation, instead of one actor. They’re both wrong. God has a part – Jesus died and rose, the evangelist has a part (to tell the gospel), and the new believer has a part: to believe the gospel – and that’s all.  That’s three parts.

GOD’S LOVE IS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)

God loves you. — It doesn’t say that. It says he loved you – past tense. You might be the reject that has refused him too many times – but he did love you.

He wants to bless your life and make it full and complete. — It doesn’t say that. Maybe God’s plan for you is that the remainder of your earthly life should be short and painful, as you breath out your last diseased breath before he receives you into eternal glory.

And He wants to give you a life which will last forever, even after you experience physical death. — Okay, but something was missing here: believe! This verse is about the condition for eternal life, which is faith: whosover believeth. And they just ignore it, because they’re hoping you won’t notice, while they sing you another song.

WE ARE SINFUL  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23 (KJV)

You may have heard someone say, “I’m only human-nobody’s perfect.” This Bible verse says the same thing: We are all sinners. We all do things that we know are wrong. — Sin is not just the violation of conscience, but of God’s law. The reader has a copy of God’s law in their hands: why appeal only to their conscience? Still, this point is not too poorly stated.

And that’s why we feel estranged from God – because God is holy and good, and we are not. — Yep. I wonder if the writer includes himself in “we” that feels estranged from God. Maybe he should have sorted that out before putting pen to paper.

SIN HAS A PENALTY “For the wages of sin is death.” – Romans 6:23 (KJV)

Just as criminals must pay the penalty for their crimes, sinners must pay the penalty for their sins. — This verse does not say it is a penalty, but that it is wages. It is not that sinners must pay: sinners will be paid as they have earned.

If you continue to sin, you will pay the penalty of spiritual death: You will not only die physically;  — “Continue to sin?”  Do I spy the false doctrine of sinless perfection?  Sin is breaking God’s law: and this says that if we continue to break God’s law, we will pay.  Clearly, we need to be justified by complete obedience to the law, as far as the writer is concerned.  Or maybe it’s just a willingness to not sin between sins – and what sin that matters is not willful?  Also, the author cannot make up his mind: is this physical death, or spiritual death – no wait, both. Are we confused yet?

you will also be separated from our holy God for all eternity. –Um, no. You will be tormented in his presence. He will be there – Revelation 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

The Bible teaches that those who choose to remain separated from God will spend eternity in a place called hell. — Hell no! We can’t keep you a place in hell. Hell is getting thrown in the lake of fire: Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

CHRIST HAS PAID OUR PENALTY!  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinner, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (KJV) — A penalty is not paid. A penalty is imposed. The word “penalty” is not in the Bible anyhow. It’s the wrong picture.

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, has paid the penalty for all your sins. You may think you have to lead a good life and do good deeds before God will love you. — Actually people don’t think this: they think they are already living the good life, and more or less keeping the commandments. You didn’t convince them in the last point.

But the Bible says that Christ loved you enough to die for you, even when you were rebelling against Him. — This is not a bad explanation, although they are confusing the persons of the Godhead.

SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

The word grace means “undeserved favor.” It means God is offering you something you could never provide for yourself: forgiveness of sins and eternal life, God’s gift to you is free. You do not have to work for a gift. All you have to do is joyfully receive it.  — It was fine, until they said “joyfully”. What if you receive it with something less than joy? Where do I go to pick this up? Oh wait, they say believe:

Believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ died for you! — Okay, so he died for me. So what? Am I saved now? It’s a good question. Maybe I don’t believe hard enough. Just how hard do I have to believe? This is not actually an incorrect statement – it is offered as the condition of baptism – but it is confusing – Acts 8:37 “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The Ethiopian believed in the deity of Jesus Christ … so there’s something more here.  How about Romans 10:9 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

CHRIST IS AT YOUR HEART’S DOOR  “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20 (KJV) — Now we get into the serious false doctrine. The context of this verse is the lukewarm church at Laodicea, which is called to repent of being almost completely useless: Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” The trouble with using this verse in the context of salvation is that the people being called to repentance are believers already.

Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with you. — No, Jesus already had a personal relationship with those at Laodicea: that is why he rebuked and chastened them

Picture if you will, Jesus Christ standing at the door of your heart (the door of your emotions, intellect and will) Invite Him in; He is waiting for you to receive Him into your heart and life. — Making a picture is the essence of mysticism. My heart has valves, not a door: this picture is rubbish. The verse doesn’t speak of a heart at all. I’ll tell you what often has a door: a church meeting place. The trouble with this is that opening a door to your emotions, intellect and will is nothing but works: a commitment to being emotionally correct, logically correct, and always choose to do what is right. This is not good news. When I examine my heart, I see that those matters are completely beyond my reach. It is impossible.

YOU MUST RECEIVE HIM  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” – John 1:12 (KJV)

When you receive Christ into your heart you become a child of God,  — Please pay no attention to the end of the verse that says “to them that believe on his name” because you do all the receiving, and you do it by imagination and commitment, not so much by believing on his name

and have the privilege of talking to him in prayer at any time about anything. — Don’t you dare. God is holy. Besides this, if you’re regarding sin in your heart, he will not hear you.

The Christian life is a personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ.  — You keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it mean.  Why does my Bible not have this word relationship even once, but you want to tell me that it’s the ruling concept of the Christian life? What about atonement for sins by the blood of Christ? What about FAITH?

And best of all, it is a relationship that will last for all eternity. — Sure, but not if it never begins, because you were preached a false gospel of works, and not the pure word of faith.

Used by permission from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association — And here’s the trouble: Billy Graham. Back when he was a living breathing person, the freemasons or the Catholic Church decided to promote him, and so they did that, and all the Christians were so glad to get some good press that nobody stopped to look at his doctrine.  His doctrine is not so hot.  Even his buddy Templeton walked away from it all and wrote a book called “Farewell to God”.  That’s not exactly a glowing testimony of faith.  This is the same Billy Graham that said that he’s a great fan of the pope, and that said the he believes that muslims and jungle tribes that have never heard the sound of the gospel and the name of Christ will yet be saved.

If you have followed these steps and have received Christ into your life, look for a local church and tell the pastor that you have made this decision. — And if that church’s pastor had any sense of the true gospel, he would sit you down and tell you where you went wrong. However, that’s not the guy you’re going to find. Statistically you’re going to end up in a worthless church that will suck out your money and bury your corpse, and deliver you safely to hell, trusting in your works of righteousness, and the depth of your commitment.  Welcome to the broad way.

If possible, also tell the person who gave you this Bible. — We would like you to follow up on this sale.  Tell them they made a great purchase.  We’re publishers.

They will be happy to take the next steps in your new life in Christ. — Sure!  Like getting SAVED!

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

What?  You’re still here?  Okay, great!  How about I tell you the truth, and show how it should be done?  Or even better – get a real Christian to read and explain this to you – it’s the Romans road.  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God:

Consider this: When your life on earth ends, are you 100% sure you will go to heaven?

☐ Yes     ☐ No

What do you believe you must do to enter life?

☐ Works?
☐ Service?
☐ Sacrifice?
 ☐ Sacraments?
☐ Sorrow?
☐ Promises? 
☐ Prayer?
☐ Confession?
☐ Commitment? 
☐ Experience?
☐ Obedience?
☐ Something else

Are you righteous before God?

1. Every one is a sinner

Romans 3:10: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one
Romans 3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
You may be a good person, but there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not.

Do you deserve to be received by God?

2. Every one deserves to go to hell

Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sin brings forth death, yet it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Revelation 20:14-15: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
You should fear him, which after he has killed has power to cast into hell. Fear him.

Does anyone please God?

At Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit descended on him like a dove:
Mark 1:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

3. Jesus died on the cross for us so we could be saved

Jesus was approved of God by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him. By the plan of God, Jesus was crucified. With him they crucified two thieves, one of which said “we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.”
About 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and there came out blood and water. At the command of Pilate he was buried. The third day, he rose again from the dead. When he appeared to his disciples, he said,
Luke 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

What does Jesus’ death and resurrection mean?

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Peter 2:24: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

What must you do to be saved?

4. You must believe on Jesus Christ as your only way to heaven

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Which good works do these verses require? Which ceremony do these require? What must you do?

5. When you believe on Jesus Christ, God gives you eternal life as a gift

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When you pay for a “gift”, what is that called? When you work to be worthy of a “gift”, what is that called? When the giver of a “gift” takes it back, what is that called? Is eternal life something you buy, a wage, a loan or a gift?

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Questions

1. Do you believe that you have sinned?
2. Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and rose again from the dead?
3. If you were to ask Jesus to save you right now would he do it?
4. How long would you be saved for?

Do your answers agree with the Bible?

“Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I know I deserve to go to hell. But I believe that you died on the cross for my sins. Please save me and take me to heaven when I die. I’m trusting only you, Jesus. Amen.”

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Does it matter how you live?

You receive Jesus by faith, and become a son forever:
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

 

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