Jun 29, 2013

Church of Wells - A false gospel of no assurance

Pastored by elders Jake Gardner, Sean Morris and Ryan Ringnald, the Church of Wells may appear to hold to the old gospel of sovereign grace that historic ministers like Rolfe Barnard proclaimed faithfully. However, in a portion of their church Manifesto, it is written, "For a man to believe himself in an eternal state of security (believing it an impossibility to fall from grace) while in this vile body of death, while sin and temptations still so easily beset him, is not only irrational but dangerous."

This quote is a direct contradiction to the gospel of God who declares righteous the ungodly freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus. Whatever the Church of Wells may confess of believing salvation is a sovereign work of God, their manifesto denies assurance of eternal justification through faith in the free grace of Jesus Christ our Lord. God declares righteous the helpless and weary sinner and not those who are working hard to be free from sin in order that they may have assurance that they are justified by Christ. Working for the assurance of grace makes grace no grace. "For what doth the writing say? `And Abraham did believe God, and it was reckoned to him -- to righteousness; 'and to him who is working, the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt; and to him who is not working, and is believing upon Him who is declaring righteous the impious, his faith is reckoned -- to righteousness." (Romans 4:3-5) Consider how the true gospel is despised and mocked by the religionist and will worshippers of our day. "I wonder that ye are so quickly removed from Him who did call you in the grace of Christ to another good news; that is not another, except there be certain who are troubling you, and wishing to pervert the good news of the Christ; but even if we or a messenger out of heaven may proclaim good news to you different from what we did proclaim to you -- anathema let him be!" (Galatians 1:6-8)

Every poor and needy soul looking to Christ should be encouraged to have the same assurance of eternal life that David had. David was a man in a vile body of death while sin and temptations still beset him; yet the Holy Ghost was not irrational in leading him to confess "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life..." After David despised the commandment of the Lord, committed adultery, fornication, theft, coveteous, and murder, the Spirit of God quickened him to cry in humility, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation..." (Psalm 51:12) The Holy Ghost brought to his remembrance the joyful promise of eternal salvation and the peace of God's love that he had left; "He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake... Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." (Psalm 23:3, 6)

The Church of Wells Manifesto states, "For a man to believe himself in an eternal state of security (believing it an impossibility to fall from grace) while in this vile body of death, while sin and temptations still so easily beset him, is not only irrational but dangerous."

In scripture, the phrase "fall from grace" refers to those who fall into seeking to be declared righteous through Christ by works of the law. The Holy Ghosts's warns, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified [declared righteous] by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:4) In light of this scripture, the Church of Wells Manifesto communicates to the child of God who falls into sin, "It is possible for you to fall under the curse of the law and for Christ to become of no effect unto you; God forbid that you should believe in the hope that Jesus Christ is your eternal life and everlasting justification. God forbid that you, a poor and needy sinner, should find peace through His cleansing blood while your sin still so easily besets you. It is irrational and dangerous!"

The Church of Wells Manifesto teaches that those who are still easily beset by sin and temptations must believe it is possible for them to be cursed by the law and for Christ to become of no effect unto them. John wrote to the church, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1) On 1 John 2:1, Robert Hawker commented, "Oh! what confidence might the faith of it produce, if grace was always in lively exercise, to come with it before GOD? Who would ever feel deadness, fears, doubts, misgivings, or even heart-straitenings in prayer, if he beheld the throne of grace, the pardon office, the mercy-seat of the LORD, thus encircled with mercy; JESUS, both the Propitiation for sin, and the Advocate for the cause of his people? What shall stop or silence the plea of JESUS CHRIST the righteous, with the righteous FATHER? This was our LORD'S own plea, when upon earth. 0 righteous FATHER! John 17:25. And it is his people's plea, taught by him, and offered up in him, now he is in heaven. And there is a great degree of blessedness in it, when rightly considered. For, when we thus plead, we plead upon the right and footing of GOD'S justice. When we look up to GOD, simply as we are in ourselves; we can only look up for pardon and grace, as helpless sinners.

The Church of Wells preaches a false gospel dressed up in a distorted view of God's unconditional electing love. They believe that God sovereignly elects some among the regenerate and others, among the regenerate, are forsaken and left unto eternal damnation for their unfaithfulness to maintain a "progressive" works righteousness. This view is a mixture of Weslyan Perfectionism and Baxterian Neonomianism. Here we have two massive errors combined into one message!

The Church of Wells Elder Sean Morris has written in his book, The Condescension of God, "Did you know that even though God loved Jeremiah with “an everlasting love”, the Lord intended to damn, and declaratively damned, Jeremiah during a specific time period of his sojourning as a prophet? This means that God was angry enough with Jeremiah that He desired to send him to hell. Jeremiah was disqualified from his prophetic office, promises, and covenant for a time, and he scarcely escaped damnation but by the surmounting mercies of an everlasting love. Jeremiah was loved with an everlasting love, and therefore was of “the elect” according to Romans chapter 9." In another place Sean wrote, “The Church, upon regeneration, is initially saved, and to be initially saved, then you have undergone the gospel experience called ‘imputed righteousness’. If you have imputed righteousness, then, lawfully speaking, you have the righteousness of Christ covering you. Therefore at this point, you are savingly in perfection/completion; you are savingly, perfectly, and completely joined to Christ! If a man has imputed righteousness, but then fails to maintain his saving faith, this is a failure to maintain unity with the life of the righteous Christ which indwells him; therefore he will not produce Christ’s works righteousness (called ‘My works’ [Rev. 2:26]). If a man does not have works righteousness, then he has dead faith, and if it is not revived or made alive again, then he too will be judged dead, without God, Christ, and imputed righteousness – thus he has fallen from perfection into blame. If a man falls from a saving relationship with Christ, which is by saving faith apart from works, and then those inward, immediate, and empowering qualities of the gospel are not walked out, which means that the powers of initial salvation are not presently and progressively experienced by the individual, then there is no present progressive works righteousness.”

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