Exit Letter, 1990
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,
This has been a terrific year for all of us. We’ve been studying together the word of God. It has been especially rewarding and revealing.
Recently, certain events have occurred which demand that we know TRUTH in order to recognize counterfeit. These events include current and early newspaper articles, a historical book, accusations that we have a founder, and accusations that we are a cult. We must examine the Scripture to know TRUTH. The Bible encourages us to prove all things and to study to show ourselves approved of God rightly dividing the Word of Truth. I Tim. 4:1 3 says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron… Because of these things, we have carefully studied the Word. This letter is to tell you what we have found.
- Is Jesus just the Son of God, or is He God? *
I Jn. 4:1 6 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Sprit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist whereof ye have heard that it should come and even now already is it in the world…. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and spirit of error.” The Jehovah Witness believes Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. So do the Mormons and Christian Science and Hindus and many other religions. But NONE of them recognize that Jesus is God, the God of the Old Testament.
What does John mean by “confessing Jesus Christ is come in the flesh?” He is saying Jesus is Jehovah God. Jn. l:1, 2, 14. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…” See: Is. 9:6 “For unto us a child is born…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” See: I Tim. 3:6 “God was manifest in the flesh.” See: Mat. 1:23 “They shall call his name Emanuel, which being interpreted is God with us.”
- Jesus is Jehovah God, the God of the O.T. *
- He is the Creator (Gen. 1:1/Jn. l:3, Col. 1:16 17)
- He is the Savior (Is. 43:3/Jn. 4:42)
- He is the King (Is. 44:6/Lk. 23:3)
- He is the Judge (Gen. 18:25/II Tim. 4:l)
- He is the I AM (Ex. 3:14/Jn. 8:24, 58)
- He is the Rock (Deut. 32:4/I Cor. 10:4)
- He is the Shepherd (Ps. 23/Jn. 10:11)
- He is the Light (Ps. 27:1, Is. 60:20/Jn. 1:9, Jn. 8:12)
- He is the First and the Last (Is. 44:6/Rev. 1:17, 2:8)
What is the point? If we confess that Jesus is come in the flesh, we are confessing that Jesus is God Himself. On this one point ALONE John makes it clear that we can discern the spirit of truth and the spirit of error or the antichrist. Have you ever heard this spoken on?
II Jn. :7 “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. :9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. :10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house neither bid him God speed. :11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
- Who is the Holy Spirit? *
Col. 2:9 “For in Him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Who is in the Godhead? We know that God is the Father and we have shown that God the Son is part of it. Is the Holy Spirit also God? First, the Holy Spirit was not “born” after Jesus left the earth as one elder told me. He was present in Gen. 1:2 “….And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” He was present with the other two Persons at the conceptions of Jesus:
Lk. 1:3. All three were present at Jesus’ baptism: Mt. 3:16 17. All three Persons were present at the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
(1) Jn. 2:19 21 says that Jesus would raise His own body.
(2) I Thes. 1:9 10 says that God raised the Son.
(3) Rom. 8:11 shows that the Holy Spirit raised the body. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three eternal persons within the nature of One God, (the Godhead) are clearly revealed in the Word of God.
- The Holy Spirit is God *
He is the Spirit of the Son: Gal. 4:6. He is the Spirit of God: I Cor. 2:11.
I. He is addressed as God:
- Called Jehovah (Ex. 17:7/ Heb. 3:7 9)
- Called Jehovah of hosts (Is. 6:3, 8 10/ Acts 28:25)
- Called Jehovah Most High (Ps. 78:17 21/ Acts 7:5)
II. He possesses Divine Attributes:
- Is Eternal (Heb. 9:14)
- Is Omniscient (I Cor. 2:10)
- Is Omnipotent (Lk. 1:35, Rom. 15:19)
- Is Omnipresent (Ps. 139:7 13)
III. He carries on Divine Activities:
- Creator (Gen. 1:26,27/ Job 33:4)
- Divine Disposer of all things (Dan. 4:35/ I Cor. 12:6,11)
- One with the Father and equal to Him (Mt. 28:19/ II Cor. 13:14)
- Author of the new birth (Jn. 3:5,6/ I Jn. 5:4)
- Raised Christ from the dead (Acts 2:24, Heb. 13:20)
- Inspired the Scriptures (II Tim. 3:16/ II Pet. 1:21)
IV. He has Divine Ministrations:
- Is the Source of wisdom (I Cor. 12:8)
- Source of miraculous power (Mt. 12:28, Acts 19:11)
- Appoints and sends forth ministers (Acts 20:28, Acts 9:28)
- Directs where gospel is to be preached (Acts 16:6,7,10)
- Indwells the saints (Jn. 14:17)
- Comforts the church (Acts 9:31)
- Sanctifies the believers (Ezek. 37:28/ Rom. 15:16)
- Witness to adoption (Rom. 8:15 16/ I Jn. 5:9)
- Convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgement (Jn. 16:8-11)
The Holy Spirit is thus the Spirit of God, of Christ, and is very God.
- Misconceptions of the Holy Spirit *
We’ve been taught that the Holy Spirit is like a dove. And like a dove, He flees from us when we are in places of noise and unrest and worldliness. There is NO Scripture to support this. Jn. 14:16 “He abides with us forever.”
We’ve been taught that the Holy Spirit is “it”, not “He”. Unfortunately, King James calls the Holy Spirit an “it” in Rom. 8. Other translations clear this up. Jesus called the Holy Spirit “He”. We’ve already seen that He is part of the Godhead, so it only makes sense to call Him “He”.
We’ve been taught that we have to renew the Holy Spirit daily. This is Unscriptural. It comes from misreading Titus 3:5. The Holy Spirit renews us, not vice versa!
- Salvation *
Is our salvation based on Jesus’ blood and sacrifice ALONE as our atonement, justification, and redemption? Or, is it based on Jesus’ blood and sacrifice PLUS our works and behavior? Or, is it based on HEARING about this pro¬vision from a professing worker or saint? Do our works save us, or are they the result and reward of our salvation? When are we saved? When we profess our faith in Jesus or when we stand before God at death? Do you know the answers concerning these basic foundational truths? We definitely have to be able to answer these questions. II Jn. :9 “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God…”
- Jesus’ Sacrifice Versus Our Works *
Rom. 3:21 31 :24 “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemp¬tion that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past that He might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (See: Gal. 2:16 21, Gal. 5:4) Eph. 2:7 10 :8 “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.” It is clear from these verses that we are saved by the blood of Christ and grace of God ALONE. In fact, thinking that we will do works “just in case” makes the sacrifice of Christ of NO EFFECT on our behalf. (Gal. 5:4)
Salvation based on grace puts Jesus’ sacrifice in first place. If salvation is based on our works, Jesus’ sacrifice moves to second place. Also, none would ever be able to enter because of physical, financial, character, disabilities, etc. God does not want us to boast in our works. (Eph. 2:8 9) “No flesh is to glory in His presence (I Cor. 1:29) but our boast is to be in the Lord (I Cor. l:31) and our glory is to be in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:l4).
- Works *
Jn. 6:28 “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” Jesus said: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent.” This “believing” is the only work God accepts.
God knew that we could never attain to perfection. Christ is our righteousness: Rom. 5:17 21, I Cor. l:30, Phil. 3:9.
Jesus does want a people zealous of good works (Titus 2:14). We are created in Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:l0).
We are HIS workmanship: Eph. 2:l0, Titus 2:14, Phil. l:6, 2:13. He works in us. Our works are NOT the basis of our salvation, they are the result of our salvation. Our works are our reward: I Cor. 3:9 15, II Jn. :8. However, the unregenerated are judged by their works: Rev. 20:13.
- When are we saved? *
Are we saved when we accept Christ’s Righteousness or when we stand before God in death? Eph. 4:30 “…Holy Spirit…whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Heb. 7:25 “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Heb. 10:14 “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Rom. 8:16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God…” These verses make it clear that we are saved when we accept Christ’s Righteousness.
- How are we saved? *
We’ve already seen that our hope is not in ourselves but in God ALONE and what He has done. Our God is a Holy God. He cannot bear to look on sin and tolerate it. He MUST have a standard of perfection. Christ is that standard of perfection. He did always that which pleased the Father. It was this perfection in the life of Christ that made Him eligible to go to the cross to die as the Savior, for the law demanded that the sacrifice be without spot or blemish. As wonderful as the life of Christ on earth, there will be no man in Heaven because of that life, except that it may have brought conviction of sins to the heart of him that compares his own life to the life of Christ. The holiness of God cannot demand anything less of us than He demanded of Jesus in His life: Perfection. We cannot attain to perfection. We do not need an Example or Way Shower, WE NEED A SAVIOR. Jesus Christ is that Savior. Only by trusting in our Substitute can we gain access to Heaven.
- What shall we do to be saved? *
Now that we understand that it is not Jesus’ life, but HIS DEATH that saves us, what do we do to be saved? Acts 16:30 31. The Jailer asked this question too. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house.” See also Acts 2:37 39. Jesus Himself said (Jn. 6:40) “And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life…” To believe means: Adhere to, trust in, rely on. To have faith means: to lean the entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness. Are we going to ADD to the Word of God and say believing is not enough?
- “Life begets Life” OR “The Living Witness Doctrine” *
We are taught that the only way we can have true spiritual life is through hearing the gospel through a professing worker because “life begets life”. Can you find Scripture to support this?
Jesus said: “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” And: “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life.” Paul said: “There is ONE God and ONE Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all…” (I Tim. 2:5) He is the One Who gives the life, not the workers.
II Tim. 3:15 says that the Scripture is able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The Word is able to give us life, without workers.
Remember Paul’s conversion? He says (Gal. 1:11 12) “For I certify you brethren that the gospel preached by me is not after man, neither I received it of man nor was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” There was NO professing worker or saint involved in Paul’s conversion according to Scripture.
In the parable of the Seed and the Sower, the sower doesn’t give the seed life, the seed has life in itself. The sower (worker) only sows the seed (Word), he doesn’t give it life. It is not the sower, but the seed that is the important thing.
The “life begets life” doctrine is Unscriptural.
- Matthew 10 *
We have been taught that the ministry is to follow the principles found in Matthew 10. This was a LIMITED COMMISSION and a PREPARATORY MISSION.
- They were ONLY to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the immediate vicinity. Our ministers do not follow this.
- Their message was to be “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” This is different from the message of the Acts of “Repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be baptized.”
- They were to heal, cleanse lepers, raise the dead. This really happened. Our workers spiritualize this.
- This journey was so hurried that they were to take NO provisions with them: not even staves, shoes, money of any sort or even a change of clothes. Jesus was coming immediately behind them. Our ministers don’t follow this completely.
- If they were not immediately received, they were to go on at once.
- They were to go two and two, no more, no less.
The commandments of Mat. 10 were given against the backdrop of Jewish customs, law and traditions that provided for the needs of messengers and prophets who were to be treated as guests of the people.
Luke 22:35 38 lifts these restrictions. Jesus said “But NOW he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip, and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.”
The GREAT COMMISSION, (Mat. 28:18, Mk. 16:15 16, Lk. 24:46 49) was different (1) in scope: to all nations, and (2) in the message: “Christ suffered rose from the dead, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name…” Note that the going two and two, poor, homeless, etc. was NOT reiterated.
History bears out that Peter, James, Timothy, and others settled down in one place. (See: Eusebius: History of the Early Church)
In Acts, one person went out alone 15 times, two went 11 times, 3 went out 7 times, 4 went twice, 7 went once, 8 went together once, two plus an unspecified number went twice, and 3 plus an unspecified number went twice. So we see that going two and two is NOT a hard and fast rule. One went alone more times than two went together. Note: If it is so extremely important and necessary for ministers to go two and two, why is it never mentioned as such in any of the Epistles or in Acts?
The Scripture makes it extremely clear that the workers worked at jobs (I Thes. 2:9) and (II Thes. 3:7 10) etc., received gifts (Phil. 4:10 19) and even wages (II Cor. 11:8). Other translations are even more clear in this matter.
In I Cor. 9:4 18, Paul let it be known that workers could have wives and jobs and “reap carnal things”. However, Paul CHOSE not to use this “power” because the Corinthians were so weak and questioning his authority. This was NOT a requirement for all workers like we have been taught.
Rev. 2:2 3, “I know thy works, and thy labors, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.”
With deep love in Christ,
Noel & Christie Dolven
Spokane, Washington (1990)