On Second Thought…

After further reading of the below web site, I have decided to tell everyone to stay away from John Clark’s teaching. He denies the Trinity (go to April 20, 2004 conversation). He denies that the Holy Spirit is a person. Here is a brief survey over the past 5 minutes:

– You can lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5.3)
– You can resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7.51)
– The Holy Spirit comforts (Acts 9.31)
– The Spirit speaks (Jn 16.13; Acts 10.19; 20.22)
– How does one explain the presence of all three distinct persons of the Trinity at Jesus’ baptism (Mt 3.16-17)?
– How does one explain being baptized in three distinct names (Mt 28.18-20)?

Clark falls into a serious error by trying to make up his own interpretation of the Scriptures and passing them off as what the Bible teaches. Heresies start this way, and this is another example of this.

Granted, the Holy Spirit is spoken of in abstract, “spiritual” ways. But he is a person. To say that he is only the Spirit of God fails to take into account the whole teaching of Scripture!

It is not just that he denies the Trinity, it is his entire foundation for his denomination. He claims to strip away all the past interpretations and find the true religion of Jesus. Dangerous! While I think his intention is good, in the end it will ruin many. How can anyone be sure they have interpreted something right until they pass it by John Clark to see if that is what was really meant in the Bible. If one doesn’t have to double-check one’s own interpretation, then everyone can do what they see fit in their own eyes (remind you of Judges?).

Hermeneutical Principle:
In a good desire to put things together in our minds, we oftentimes make words very technical. For example, Clark says that the Spirit is only a spirit and not a person. This is setting up a false dichotomy. Indeed, it drives a wedge between spirit and person. This is a serious fault. Don’t try to scour through the Bible and see a word and impute to that word the same meaning you understood from another context. That is, when you see the word “righteous” it does not always mean “finally justified” before God. It can mean “good” “pure” “just” etc. But don’t make words so technical. Words must be read in their context!

Does anyone else have thoughts out there after perusing his web site?

Comments 3

  1. Matt,

    I did take some time to peruse Mr. Clark’s site. At first glance, to be honest, it seems to have the makings of (this may sound melodramatic, but that is not my intent)… a cult. This includes formation of their own “scriptures” (Mr. Clark has written his own “Pastor John’s NT Translation”), works-based and non-assured ‘salvation’ (“Salvation is the precious hope of the saints, which we do not yet see … and whether we obtain it or not will be determined solely on the basis of the deeds which we have done in this life. …There is no such person as a ‘sinner saved by grace.'” – as quoted from his tract on salvation), rejection of the Scriptures as authoritative (“God’s Word is a spoken thing. It is not a dead letter … To ‘preach the Bible’, as some boast of doing, is nothing.” – his opinion of the Bible), proof of one’s faith is tongues (“The only way to receive the holy Ghost, my friend, is by repentance and faith toward God; and the divinely ordained proof that this has happened is tongues.”), general emphasis on feeling and emotion over objective truth, and other rejections of traditional doctrines (i.e., the Trinity, as you have pointed out – though with his view of ‘spirit’, I am curious as to how he would treat John 4:24).

    I am not a proponent of accepting the traditional simply because it is tradition. Yet a current trend seems to be rejection of the traditional doctrines of God simply on the basis that they are tradition – nevermind (primarily) the scriptural foundations of those doctrines and (secondarily) the culmative insights and acceptance from hundreds of years of sound church fathers. Particularly concerning the doctrine of the Trinity, it seems like this is what Mr. Clark is doing, which seems to be a typical mindset towards many traditional doctrines today – “since this is not fully understandable or reconcilable in my own mind, it must be wrong.”

    As you pointed out already, Matt – Jesus did indeed some to set men free – and a means He employed to accomplish this was by (gasp!) teaching doctrine.

    As far as I can tell, Mr. Clark has given us a prime example of why Paul gave young Timothy this strong admonition: Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. – 1 Tim. 4:16

  2. Great points, van.diesel! I appreciate the research that you have added to this. It is amazing how people will take an idea and run with it. Think about it. So many people start out well. They don’t want religion…and then, before you know it, they have made up their own!

  3. I only had to read one sentence and I can already tell he’s a nutball. Of course, I have to ask, how does any other pastor have more or less authority than this guy? How is someone to know who is teaching the Truth?

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