A Caution

Last Sunday I looked at a NRSV Bible and found a preface to the letters of Paul. It explained a little about each letter he wrote. At the end of its description of 2 Corinthians, it said, ‘Chapters 3 through 5 are a meditation on what it means to be an apostle.’ This Bible was published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and used by permission of the National Council of Churches. I believe it was published in 1990. 

Years ago the Lord revealed to me that 2 Corinthians chapters 3-5 spoke of the call of an apostle. I have written a few things concerning certain verses in these chapters in the past year and was ridiculed because of what I said. The verses that seemed to bother people the most were Chapter 4 verses 7-12, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the death of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.” Another verse that was troubling to some was chapter 5 verse 20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Paul was speaking of the call and the life of an apostle in each of these verses. 

All these years I have had only two witnesses to the truth of what I’ve said about these three chapters, the Word of our God, and the Holy Spirit. Now I have two other witnesses, the National Council of Churches, and Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

Why am I saying this? I have been ridiculed and lied about quite a bit this past year. One pastor called me a false apostle from his pulpit, and said that I’ve been saying there is no such thing as sanctification. I never once said anything like this. He deliberately made it up to build a case against me.

This gentleman spoke against me because I said there is nothing in the Bible concerning dying to self. Another minister had taught him we must die to self, and so he took issue with me. Since there is no mention of dying to self in the Bible, he couldn’t call me false because he had no proof he was right, so he twisted something else I said about sanctification, and used it to attack me. I said sanctification is not a second work of grace, but a work that begins when we are born again. He turned that statement into my supposedly saying there was no such thing as sanctification. I have never said that either. 

Dear friends, I can put up with a lot of things, but when someone lies to the children of God, I draw the line. God is a jealous God, and when someone tries to entice His children away from Him, or belittle His truth, He also draws the line. This was not just a difference in opinion; this man literally told a church full of God’s children something he knew to be a lie. He did this for one reason, — to belittle me. He didn’t stop there; he also posted his lie on the internet for others to see. 

It’s a small thing to me when someone questions things I say, but when they lie about things I say, I take offense. And I take offense, not on my own behalf, but on behalf of Christ, and for the sake of those who read what I write; on behalf of Christ because He is the One who ordained and sent me, and for the sake of those who read what I write because they are the ones He sent me to. 

Please understand this letter is not meant to justify myself, but it is meant as a caution to each of us; that we must test the things we see and hear by the Word of God through the Holy Spirit. 

In closing, let us turn away from those who subvert, or twist, things people say. Let us also turn away from those who subvert, or twist, the Scriptures to mean what they want them to mean. Those who do such things are dishonest. But let us instead be true children of God, and not dishonest impostors. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth; let us be honest, and steadfastly follow Him.

There are many dishonest preachers today. Guard yourselves.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. It is my sincere hope that everything I write be tested, not by what others have said, but by the Holy Word of God. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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