But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His Name:
who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. [John 1:12-13, emphasis added]§
“I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”
They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the work of Abraham.
“But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.
“You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father – God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
“Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [nature], for he is a liar and the father of it. [John 8:38-44, emphasis added]
He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God. [John 8:47, emphasis added]
Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him [Elymas the sorcerer]
and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?” [Acts 13:9-10, emphasis added]
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. [Romans 8:14, emphasis added]
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. [Romans 8:16, Compare Romans 8:9.]
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. [Ephesians 2:1-3, emphasis added]
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. [Ephesians 5:6, emphasis added]
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. [Colossians 3:5-7, emphasis added]
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. [Galatians 3:26]
In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. [1 John 3:10]
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. [1 John 5:2]
I had a recent encounter on Facebook in which one had written that anyone who “speaks poorly” of another person is in trouble with God for “messing with His kids.” I had responded that I had a problem with the statement and did not agree with the inference that all members of the human race are children of God. In truth, I found several problems with the statement, but wanted to address the main issue first. The person who initiated the thread responded that everyone is a child of God by virtue of creation. The tenor of the response was suggestive that I was being presumptuous in challenging the assertion and had no authority to support me. I stated that the assumption that everyone is a child of God by virtue of being created by God is not a Biblical position and cited John 1:12-13; John 8:37-48; Acts 13:10; and 1 John 3:10 as evidence of my position and added that if Jesus, Paul, and John were stating that unredeemed humanity cannot be considered children of God judicially or relationally, then any statement which contradicts what is propositionally taught in Scripture is contrary to the revealed will of God.
If we look carefully at the Scriptures cited above [and others], they show that:
1: Only those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ can be considered children of God [John 1:12; Galatians 3:26].
2: Only those who are led by the Holy Spirit can rightfully acknowledge Jesus as Lord [Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 12:3].
3: Those who are not led by the Holy Spirit do not belong to God [Romans 8:9]
4: Those who do not belong to God are defined as “children of wrath” [by nature], “children of disobedience” [by their disposition judicially], and “children of the devil” [relationally – because they act according to the nature of their spiritual father].
The very foundation of what was being expressed by this person on Facebook was not Scripture, but rests on the concept of universalism, mingled with a large dose of “name-it/claim-it” heresy.
The soteriology of both of these heresies relies on the idea that all humanity possesses a spark of deity, therefore they will not suffer eternal punishment because God will not allow any part of deity to suffer in eternal separation from Him. The “Name-It/Claim-It” crowd pushes the envelope of heresy further that to speak evil of any whom God has named as divine is to blaspheme God Himself.
If such is the case, then Jesus, Paul, and John would be guilty of blasphemy as defined by those holding to the name-it/claim-it nonsense. However, since Jesus was sinless [John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26; 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22; 1 John 3:3, 5], and Paul [2 Peter 3:15-16] and John [Matthew 18:18] wrote Scripture [2 Timothy 3:15-17], then we cannot accuse them of blasphemy.
This brings up the second major problem with the Facebook poster’s initial statement: what is meant by the phrase “speak poorly?” I have encountered this same or similar phrases from other followers of the “name-it/claim-it” teaching and no one has yet to objectively define what he or she means according to Scripture. When pressed, the phrase is another way of saying “speaking negatively” or “being critical.”
Now keep in mind, the name-it/claim-it cultists are not stating their opposition to anything which is objectively and propositionally defined as sin in Scripture, because when pressed for evidence from Scripture to support their claims, they cannot point to any passage which when correctly understood in light of the grammar and context, which would support their claims. No, when they are pressed for clarification of what they mean, what they mean are people who “speak poorly” of another, or “speak negatively,” or are “being critical,” are people who make them feel uncomfortable or uneasy – usually because the person being accused of being “negative” or “critical” is exposing unbiblical behaviors, beliefs, or experiences to the light of Scriptural truth and showing those beliefs and behaviors to be false.
Now, it must be kept in mind, that I am not referring to such sins of the tongue as slandering anyone – because that is condemned in Scripture, regardless of whether or not the victim of the slander is a child or God or a child of the devil. And we must not speak “evil” of anyone [Titus 3:1-2]. It must be noted however, that slander is to present someone in a false light–it is a general terms meaning to speak falsely of someone. Speaking evil is a more precise term–meaning specifically to falsely accuse one of criminal behavior. However, it is not speaking evil when we refute errant beliefs with the plain teaching of Scripture. Nor is it slander. We are not making a false accusation of criminal behavior, nor are we presenting their heretical teachings in a false light. If the teaching of Scripture makes a person “feel” uncomfortable or uneasy, that person needs to examine him or her self to determine what is making them uncomfortable. I would daresay the fault lies with the person who is uncomfortable, not the one proclaiming the truth of God’s Word.
The name-it/claim-it cultists cannot refute Scripture without exposing their own disregard for the Word of God, so the only recourse left is to malign the character or motives of those who disagree with them.
Therefore, anytime someone makes an assertion of moral absolutes that it is a sin to “speak negatively” of another, we not only have a right, but a duty to challenge them according to Scripture. [1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1] They need to clarify what they mean by the use of the vague and highly subjective pejorative. Any statement which cannot be supported from Scripture by either express command [or prohibition], approved precedent, or necessary inference cannot be accepted as binding on any believer. Those who seek to limit and prevent correction within the household of faith are encouraging sinful attitudes and false doctrine within the camp rather than promoting growth and true maturity.
Moreover, it is incumbent upon those who pastor congregations to adequately teach sound doctrine to the members [1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9]. The problem is that so many have fallen for the artificial distinction being made by Presbyterians between so-called “teaching” elders and “ruling” elders. Scripture knows no such distinction. If a man is called to be an elder, he is called to pastor the congregation, and, as a pastor, he must be able to open up the Word of God for that congregation. The elder/pastor has an obligation to keep the congregation from error.
§ Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.