I think I am finally winding down on this subject. This will probably be my last post on the controversy regarding rebound. At least for a while. (Unless the Lord moves me otherwise, of course.)
Anyway, I want to wrap up my contention that 1 John 1:9 is not directed to believers in the sense of something they are to do, but rather it describes something they’ve already done. That is, acknowledge they are sinners in need of a savior and believe in Christ, who then forgives them their sins and cleanses them from all unrighteousness.
Pastor Farley and Lighthouse Bible Church have been on summer vacation the last week or so, and in the interim I’ve gone back through my notes on Pastor Farley’s initial lessons on the matter of not finding evidence in the Bible to support the doctrine of Rebound. This time I looked up every verse, copied many of them down and gave a really careful, step by step look at everything that was said. In some cases I even re-listened to the original message.
I was also moved to read the information in my NAS Open Bible that prefaces each of the books. There I was surprised to learn that the Gospel of John and his three epistles were all written around the same time: about 90 AD. I also discovered there that I John was written with the presumption that its readers would have knowledge of the Gospel of John.
Therefore, I went to the Gospel itself and found that all references to light and darkness that John made there apply to believing in Christ or not believing:
“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God… In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.” ~ John 1:1,3
Right there John tells us what the “light” is: Jesus.
“[John the Baptist] was not the light but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light which coming into the world, enlightens every man. ~John 1:8,9
Note, the light comes into the darkness; the darkness doesn’t obliterate the light. The movement is one-way.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” ~ John 3:17-21
In John 8:12 we find,
“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
In John 9:5
“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
John 11: 9, 10
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
Finally, in ch 12, Jesus is speaking to the Jews, who are arguing with Him, saying,
“We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, “The son of Man must be lifted up. Who is this Son of Man?”
Jesus therefore said to them, “For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light.”
The Jews continued to not believe and to question and then
Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me. And he who beholds me beholds the One who sent Me. I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. …”
All of this clearly refers to salvation: walking in the light is a believer, walking or remaining or being in darkness is an unbeliever.
chapter 12 is the last time John mentions light and darkness in his Gospel.
So, with all this in mind, look how John starts his first epistle:
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen …concerning the Word of Life… we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins [say we do have sins], He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
To me, the parallels are overwhelmingly clear: walking in the Light means a believer; walking in darkness means an unbeliever. That is the context in which 1 John 1:9 is found, and thus, that is the meaning that ought to be given it.
Well, I’m sure I’ve gone on long enough, despite my intention to be brief — though, in the face of all there is to say on this, I think I have been. If this subject has piqued your interest and you’d like to know more, I invite you to check out Pastor Farley’s study on this, beginning with that first message “I Have a Confession to Make” and continuing on as he lays out the case verse by verse.
By the way, Pastor John Farley was a student of Col. Thieme’s prior to being mentored and ordained by Pastor Robert McLaughlin. Pastor McLaughlin was mentored and ordained by Col Thieme, himself).
I have been reading your posts on rebound and I would like to make some general comments now that your series is winding down. I certainly don’t begrudge you the right before God to evaluate doctrine and change your mind based on your convictions. That is what Colonel Thieme called “privacy of the priesthood” and Roger Williams called “soul liberty,” a concept with which I completely agree.
I am familiar with the teaching that the epistle of 1 John centers on tests of assurance for the believer. John MacArthur and every Calvinist theologian I know of teach this. As time goes on you will realize that your assurance of salvation has gone up in smoke. Pastor Farley will find many more passages in many other Gospels and Epistles that deal with assurance. You will find that there is no way that you can meet all of these tests and your assurance will suffer for it. The way that most Calvinist teachers handle this is by teaching that, as time goes by, a true believer will conform more and more closely to all of the tests.
Of course there are examples in both the Bible, and real life, where people who claim to have believed have not proceeded to conform more closely to the faith but instead have wandered far from it. No matter what Pastor Farley calls it he will have to bring up the topic of true/false assurance or head/heart belief. Personal assurance will then take another hit.
I have told people on several occasions that I am a Dispensationalist until I find another theology that is more faithful to the Word of God. I don’t believe that God would leave His flock in a position of so much uncertainty and doubt. It isn’t so much that Thieme, Walvoord, or Chafer were such spiritual giants that I have no choice but to blindly follow their lead. Rather it is that I am knowledgeable of the competing doctrines of the Christian walk and find them to have even greater problems. You can justly accuse me of being subjective when I write that but it is my belief.
Thanks for this comment, Glenn. It opens up an entirely new area of consideration, and I appreciate, not only your measured approach, but the opportunity to consider it. To this point, Pastor Farley’s teaching has been focused not on our assurance of salvation, but on whether the Bible justifies the doctrine of confession/rebound or the filling of the Holy Spirit as something that can be turned on and off by our actions (ie, sinning to lose it, confessing to regain it). Assurance came up only from the standpoint of interpreting what 1 John 1:9 meant, given that John was not teaching believers in his congregation about the filling fo the Spirit here, but rather attempting to instruct everyone in his congregation regarding who might be saved and who might not. This instruction was needed at the time because of the infiltration of the Gnostics, who were claiming to be Christian while not believing in either the Hypostatic Union nor the propitiatory death of Christ on the cross — hence, claiming to have fellowship while walking in darkness, advocating false doctrine, a false Jesus, and not loving the brethren to boot.
I am firmly in the dispensational camp, as that is one doctrine that seems obvious “to the most casual observer.” 🙂 Pastor Farley has been as well, and has given no indication of departing from his belief in this doctrine. Most of the force of his teaching has been precisely because we are in a new dispensation — the Church — and no longer bound by the dictates of the law. As for the Calvanistic idea that some are chosen for salvation and others chosen for damnation, quite apart from their will, that is one about which he grows quite exercised, appalled by the attack on God’s character embodied by the view that He would every choose anyone to NOT be saved. I agree with him.