[Updated with additional material on 11/8/19]
Out of all of the people I’ve known in my 60+ years of life, the last 45 in which I’ve tried to be a real Christian, no one has disappointed me more than Rick Benjamin.
I’ve known Rick, and Rick has known me since 1982, when Rick was one of my teachers at Abbott Loop Bible School, which I attended full time and graduated from. I was also ‘locked into’ the church at that time, attending almost everything.
Rick and I had many hour-long talks in his office over the years. Many I enjoyed very much, and were fruitful. But there were times when he said ‘enough,’ and that’s led to problems.
About four years ago, I was able to ask him if he’d be willing to talk with me about what the Bible says about who goes to heaven. He said he would, and that I should call him. When I called him, he said he changed his mind, and to not call him again. My heart sank.
A few years later, we were in the chapel, and I thought I’d try again after a talk he gave. Again he refused to discuss this with me.
Especially recently, when I’ve brought up the fact that Abbott Loop Community Church, now called Unite Church teaches “only believe” “once saved, always saved,” people, including two key former pastors have a hard time believing that; though, I’ve heard it said many dozens of times in sermons by Josh Tanner, Mark Drake, and Rick.
Rick also told me almost two decades ago that he used to believe like I do, but has changed his mind. He even loaned me his personal copy of the book that affected Abbott Loop’s salvation doctrine back in the day: Life in the Son, by Robert Shank, 1960, which basically says we must abide in Christ to be “in Christ,” what I currently teach.
Since Rick won’t talk with me, and since this false doctrine is causing significant damage, I have decided to write this publicly so people are aware and something can be done.
Time is ticking very rapidly now, and our country is in great danger, because hardly any “Christians” are abiding in the Son, being salt and light.
“History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.” – Douglas MacArthur
Jesus promised to give us His glory so we’ll be ‘ONE’ with each other in Him “that the world will know” – John 17.
This will happen when we DO what He says — life in the Son!
And this can start in Anchorage. Dick Strutz dreamed of Anchorage being a Christian city. ‘ONE’ can happen in Anchorage “that the world will know!”
A Discussion of Rick Benjamin’s 4/28/13 Message at Abbott Loop Entitled “It’s Not Do, It’s Done”
Introduction: Summary of what Rick is doing
He resigned almost 5 years earlier as senior pastor of Abbott Loop.
An average of 18 times a year, he preaches in other churches.
Sermon begins with Galatians 2
The problem with the Judaizers.
18:10 Rick says he may be Jewish, from the tribe of Benjamin.
Rick @ 19:50 “…people say ‘what, really, you just believe in God, and you believe in Jesus, and that’s it?’ Well, that is the good news. It is that good. So people say ‘that’s too good to be true. There must be something I’ve gotta do.’ There’s that word ‘do.’ We’re going to hear that word ‘do’ a lot today. My title today … ‘It’s not do, it’s done.’ But we think the gospel is too good to be true, so I’ve got to do something, right?’ Well, the answer is ‘no.'”
24:25 Rick mentions one of his mentors, Kevin Conner, who did not teach “once saved, always saved.” Kevin was one of my Bible teachers at Abbott Loop Bible School in ~ 1984. I hand copied this post out of my textbook. Rick used to call Kevin his mentor. Some highlights of what Kevin wrote:
• WARNINGS against backsliding SHOW that the security of the believer is conditional upon obedience and faith
• What God has provided in Christ man must receive and apply
• Divine SOVEREIGNTY *and* human RESPONSIBILITY meet together in the great redemptive plan
• Christ is “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY him”(Hebrews 5:9)
• Upon HEARING and FOLLOWING the Shepherd they receive eternal life and will never perish
• AS HE OBEYS the Word of the Lord his SECURITY against backsliding and apostacy is FULLY GUARANTEED
30:10 The trap of legalism. Pride is why people go back into legalism
“It’s all just pride. … I’m way more Godly and holy than she is.”
32:20 Rick finds himself working more when he feels badly about himself. “I’m trying to make myself feel better about myself by doing more. And that’s a little bit of legalism, right there.”
Rick, if you feel badly about yourself, then fix what’s wrong between you and God. Do what the Holy Spirit has been trying to tell you to do, and you’ll feel better. Reconcile, like Paul always did:
“Herein I also practice always having a conscience void of offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16).
We are supposed to do what’s right; otherwise, we’ll have condemnation:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1).
Rick @ 34:30 “…he [Paul] said some of the greatest words ever said. Did you hear those words? I’ll read them to you again. [Gal. 2:16] ‘..a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.’ He said it, I think three times right there, and he says it three more times in Galatians. If God says something three times, six times, God is trying to get something through to us. … And what is he saying these many, many times: you don’t get justified by the works of the law. You get justified by faith in Jesus Christ.”
Rick neglects to tell us what Paul then tells the Galatians three chapters later.
13 For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one other, that you may not do the things that you desire. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. …
6:7 Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
9 Let us not be weary in DOING good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up.
In Galatians, Paul was not saying we don’t have to do anything. We’re free from the law when we walk according to the Spirit. Verse 18: “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
It’s still ‘do.’ It’s not done. We walk according to the Spirit to then have no condemnation, which grace enables us to do.
This short video shows that Paul wasn’t saying we don’t have to do anything. Paul was warning the Galatians about the Judaizers trying to put them back under the old covenant law:
(video) David Pawson: Reconciling PAUL and JAMES on ‘WORKS’ — Paul was defending Gentiles from JEWISH works-of-the-*law* LEGALISM; James was defending Jews from Gentile LICENSE TO SIN • When Paul says ‘WORKS’ he means works of the *law*, but James means *actions* • “Faith without actions cannot save you” • FAITH + ACTIONS = SAVING FAITH!
Rick says @ 35:25 “By His grace God declares us guilty sinners to be justified simply because we believed in Jesus Christ. Wow! That’s the good news; that’s the gospel.”
Rick says @ 37:45 that we don’t have to do anything because Jesus did it. “The Gospel of grace is spelled ‘DONE,’ because it’s already been done. That’s why our title today: ‘It’s not do, it’s done,’ done by Jesus Christ.”
Jesus did His part, and we must do our part so what Jesus did continues to apply to us. Being born-again is just the start. We must abide in Christ to be “in Christ.” I recently wrote this:
Rick continues @ 38:30 “They say ‘you can never make God love you less than He does right now. You can never make God love you more than He does right now.’ Nothing you do or don’t do affects God’s love for you. It’s not about ‘do,’ it’s about ‘done.’“
That’s pure bologna. God is not a void-of-emotion robot. We are created in His image, with feelings. God inhabits the praises of His people, and His heart is grieved when people rebel. And Jesus will vomit us out of His mouth if we don’t obey.
(vid) Pawson: Lukewarm Laodicea – “HOT or *COLD*” Explained! *High mineral salts* water could only be drunk hot or cold. If lukewarm, it makes one vomit • Because of Laodicea’s half-hearted discipleship, Jesus says He is on the verge of spewing the people out of His mouth. Half-hearted discipleship makes Jesus sick!
Jesus actually wants to fill us with His joy that our joy would be full – John 15 and 17!
@ 48:10 Rick correctly talks about how the balance scale is not biblical: “It’s not about my good works outweighing my bad works.” This is a distraction.
True, the balance scale is not biblical, but abiding in Christ is essential and biblical. We must abide “in Christ Jesus, walking not according to the flesh [not doing bad deeds], but according to the Spirit [doing what we know we’re supposed to do]” — so then we have “no condemnation” (Romans 8:1-17) — right with God and people!
Rick then says that even when willfully sinning without repenting, our relationship with Jesus is never at risk, not even for one second: “It’s about what Jesus already did for me on the cross. It’s done. … In my life, I’ve tried to live for Him and love Him back, and be faithful to Him, and do all kinds of good stuff for Him, but it doesn’t change how He feels about me. I’ve always known, my whole life: on my worst day, that love is not at risk, ever — my relationship with Him, not at risk, not one second.”
Look at what Jesus said to the church of Sardis, who actually had a reputation for being alive, what our church used to have decades ago:
1 “And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: “I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and keep the things that remain, which you were about to throw away, for I have found no works of yours perfected before…God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you won’t watch, I will come as a thief, and you won’t know what hour I will come upon you. 4 Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Only those who overcome will not have their names removed from the book of life, Jesus said, which He repeats a few verses later. The lukewarm He will vomit out of His mouth.
We must overcome by God’s grace or we will perish. And it will be worse for us than if we had not known Jesus. 2 Peter 2:20-21:
For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in it and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
It’s not ‘done,’ it’s ‘do.’ Though, it’s not doing works of the law, but doing what the Holy Spirit leads us to do:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” – Romans 8:14.
1 John 4:16,17:
We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this[,] love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so are we in this world.
I wrote and posted this in 2013:
When Mark Drake taught Galatians 5 at Abbott Loop, I saw and heard him say Romans 8:1 should be our theme song, because the first part of the verse is now in many Bibles, and is misrepresented to mean “in Christ Jesus”
I wrote and posted this in 2010, transcribing Josh Tanner already teaching OSAS then:
A few months ago, I could hardly believe my ears when I saw and heard Josh Tanner seriously misquote Romans 8:1 in a sermon saying: “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are born-again,” which is not what Paul said or meant. Paul said “to those who are in Christ Jesus,” which means actually abiding in Christ Jesus, walking not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, as Jesus also taught in John 15.
Even with the modern versions that throw out 8:1b (using the less reliable Egyptian manuscripts), Paul explains what he means in four other places in his next 16 verses:
The “who shall separate us” promise in Romans 8:29-30 and “no condemnation” statement in verse 1 only applies to those who actually are “in Christ” based upon what Paul says in four different ways in verses 1-17:
Verse 1b: “who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Verse 4b: “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Verse 13: “For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live..”
Verse 14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God.”
Verse 17b: “joint-heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him.”
I’m again offering $6,000 to anyone who can refute this, which completely refutes Rick’s “only believe” “once saved, always saved” doctrine. I wrote and posted this in 2008:
Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way | Who are the Children of God? — “There is therefore now *no condemnation* to those who are IN CHRIST Jesus, who don’t WALK according to the flesh, but ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT”
(video) Asbury Revival, 1970: RECONCILIATION the KEY! — “‘Dr. Kinlaw, I am a liar. Now what do I do?’ … Three days later, she came to me radiant, and she said, ‘I just hit my 34th person and I’m free!’”
The Welsh Revival of 1904-05 by J. Edwin Orr: A Countrywide Asbury-like REVIVAL! The 4 Points: #1 Confess any known sin, and PUT ANY WRONG DONE TO MAN RIGHT again. #2 Put away any doubtful habit. #3 Obey the Spirit promptly. #4 Confess your faith publicly.
Effects of the WELSH REVIVAL 1904-05: Whole communities were radically changed FROM DEPRAVITY TO GLORIOUS GOODNESS. The CRIME RATE dropped, often to nothing. THE POLICE had little more to do than supervise the coming and going of the people to the chapel prayer meetings. The UNDERGROUND MINES echoed with the sounds of PRAYER and HYMNS