Paul MacArthur gives us a well organized examination of the false doctrines of the Judaizers in the early church, as described in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. The churches in Galatia were being led astray by ‘Jewish Christians’ who claimed that in order to be saved the Gospel was not enough, that adhering to practices of the Jewish faith as taught by Moses was also required.

The Jewish religion is not of God, something which Jesus taught both figuratively (to the masses and the officials and functionaries of the Temple cult) and literally (to his apostles who were chosen to hear the full truth.) The New Testament contains many refutations of the Jewish religion, the ‘Synagogue of Satan’, as Jesus himself called it. It is clear from the writings in the New Testament that the observances, rituals, ceremonies, dietary practices, and traditions (such as male circumcision) of Mosaic Law are nothing more than what Jesus calls the ‘ordinances of men’, not of God. Jesus, and later the apostles and Church leaders, make it clear that such practices do not offer the promise of eternal life.

As MacArthur explains, the Church has been, and still is being, deceived, ‘bewitched’, if you will, by the forces of evil working through the Jews and their minions. MacArthur emphasizes the epistle’s judicious use of the word ‘bewitched’ — a word used nowhere else in the Bible — to describe the spell cast on the believers by those endeavoring to mislead the early Church.

Do not be deceived!

One caveat: when Jesus and the apostles refer to ‘works’ as not being necessary for salvation, they are referring to the observances, ceremonies, and ordinances of the Old Testament Jewish religion (and later the even more onerous Talmudic precepts.) Many false religions today similarly promise salvation through such observances, which are nothing more than the doctrines of men.

The Scriptural references to salvation by God’s grace are not intended to denigrate the good morals and good works of the Christian life, which comprise the ‘corporal works of mercy’ expected of Christians. Indeed, the presence of God’s grace is demonstrated by these works, not because believers think they can buy their way into Heaven, but rather because the followers of Christ know that one expresses one’s love for one’s fellow man through acts of kindness.

It really could not be any simpler; the Letter of James, for example, makes it clear that Christian good works are the outward expression of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Let’s face it, we can’t all be Mother Teresa … but we can all look to such a woman as an example of Christian values, of self-sacrifice and devoting of one’s life to the service of others as Jesus commanded of his followers.

Modern day evangelicals, sham faith healers, TV preachers, and other various and sundry con artists and false prophets are determined to mislead the people with the allure of cheap grace. Calvinists are among those who tend to be blind to this truth.

This video is very good. Although influenced by the presenter’s stalwart Calvinism and literalist interpretation of the Bible, the exploration of the issue is based on sound doctrine. When the discussion stays on topic, no fault can be found with the material. The only erroneous teachings can be attributed to the errors of Calvinist doctrine. Calvinism is based on denial — the denial of Jesus’ figurative language, the denial of the allegorical nature of certain Scriptures, the denial of Jesus’ call for personal sacrifice, and the denial of the requirement that Christians assist others through good works. This obsessive denial forms the essence of Calvinism. These errors can be overlooked because the topic is of such importance in these confusing times. In this video a most important issue is explained in lucid terms.

(chs 09-27-2017 16:23 -0500)