A Critique of Stair's, Who Then Can Be Saved?
The following is a critique of Stair's beliefs on salvation which came from Bro. Stair's Overcomer Ministry links page. I have only included those portions that I intend to comment on.
(Stair's comments are in bold, my comments in regular type and scripture is in Teal, Stair is using the NIV (usually in caps) and my scriptures are from the NIV.
WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED?
I want to write this month on a subject that really needs to be dealt with. With the nearness of the coming of the Lord Jesus, this issue needs to have some clarification. This question has caused much confusion and really needs to have a scriptural answer in order to give the right direction so that you and all that want to be saved can and will be in that day when He cometh. In Matthew 1:21 the word of God tells us Jesus came to save men from their sins. Read it with me.
"AND SHE SHALL BRING FORTH A SON, AND THOU SHALT CALL HIS NAME JESUS: FOR HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS."
Take note dear one, not in their sins but from their sins.
As Stair will reveal later in his article, he has his own special interpretation of the word "sin", so please keep that in mind as you read along.
I would ask the readers to look up in your favorite Greek dictionary/concordance and check out Strong's #575 where you will see that this word apo, which is a preposition, not only means "from" but also means "in". According to Strong this word means "off, i.e., away (from something near), in various senses (of place, time, or relation; literally or figuratively)." Then Strong gives us several variations of apo, "after, ago, at, because of, before, by (the space of), for (-th), from, in, (out) of, off, (up-) on, (-ce), since, with. In composition (as a prefix) it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, etc."
Thayer's Greek Lexicon breaks this word down even farther according to the type of verb it follows. In the case of Matthew 1:21 we are talking about the verb "save", i.e., "saved from". We have 4 options to choose from: (1) after verbs of motion, (2) separation of a part from the whole, (3) of any kind of separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship of the two is destroyed, (4) and of a state of separation, i.e., of distance.
It appears to me that the 3rd choice is the only one that applies with the verb "save". Thayer expands on this 3rd category by stating that this prepostion is used, "(a) after verbs of averting, loosening, liberating, ransoming, preserving; . . . (b) after verbs of desisting, abstaining, avoiding, etc., . . .(c) after verbs of concelaing and hindering; . . . (d) . . . by repentance to turn away from wickedness. . .".
Now, is there any doubt that this word apo means just what it says, i.e., Christ saves us from our sins and it doesn't matter whether we are saved "from" our sins, or whether we are "in" sin or not, because you have to be "in" sin to be saved "from" it. Right?
So here we see right at the start of Stair's article that he is not telling us the truth about this one little word and is basing his whole theory on it. I would be tempted to quit right here but lets see what other nuggets of fool's gold we can glean from this "prophet" of God.
I'm going to let him continue without interruption for awhile so you can get a feel for where he's coming from with this sin theory.
Jesus came to deal with sin, both inbred and committed sin, in the lives of all men. Knowing the power of sin, He first paid the redemptive price for our forgiveness of those sins.
"IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS, AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS." (I John 1:9).
The Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus came to save sinners.
"THIS IS A FAITHFUL SAYING, AND WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION, THAT CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS; OF WHOM I AM CHIEF." (I Tim. 1:15).
Then in Romans 5:8:
"BUT GOD COMMENDETH HIS LOVE TOWARD US, IN THAT, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US."
And still in another verse:
"I CAME NOT TO CALL THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT SINNERS TO REPENTANCE" (Luke 5:32).
You can readily see if you will that one of the main reasons for Jesus coming in the flesh was to save men from sin that was grieving the heart of God. Since He made man and man sinned, God, who loved men, made redemption for man. First, He gives His word. Eat of every tree in the garden; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the day you eat thereof you shall die (Gen. 2:16-17). Why did God do that?
Why? Because God wanted man to either love him truthfully or have the option to reject him. God did not want a bunch of robots doing his bidding. He wanted a relationship with man.
Well it is easy to understand. The very place called heaven, God's dwelling place, was filled with harmony, peace, love, and joy. The devil, Lucifer, was filled with pride and rebelled against the position of God and sought to dethrone Him. When this pride gripped him, sin was found in him.
"HOW ART THOU FALLEN FROM HEAVEN, O LUCIFER, SON OF THE MORNING! HOW ART THOU CUT DOWN TO THE GROUND, WHICH DIDST WEAKEN THE NATIONS! FOR THOU HAST SAID IN THINE HEART, 'I WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN, I WILL EXALT MY THRONE ABOVE THE STARS OF GOD: I WILL SIT ALSO UPON THE MOUNT OF THE CONGREGATION, IN THE SIDES OF THE NORTH: I WILL ASCEND ABOVE THE HEIGHTS OF THE CLOUDS; I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH.' YET THOU SHALT BE BROUGHT DOWN TO HELL, TO THE SIDES OF THE PIT" (Isa. 14:12-15).
Do you see what Stair is doing here? He is preparing to compare Lucifer's sin with yours. However, angels are spirit beings (Heb. 1:4) and are not subject to death (Luke 20:36). They were also not created in the image of God and therefore they cannot be redemed by Christ, like man because Christ did not die for the angels. So, can angels repent from their sins? No. Can man? Yes.
We also read in Ezekiel 28:14-15 these words:
"THOU ART THE ANOINTED CHERUB THAT COVERETH; AND I HAVE SET THEE SO: THOU WAST UPON THE HOLY MOUNTAIN OF GOD; THOU HAST WALKED UP AND DOWN IN THE MIDST OF THE STONES OF FIRE. THOU WAST PERFECT IN THY WAYS FROM THE DAY THAT THOU WAST CREATED, TILL INIQUITY WAS FOUND IN THEE."
Since sin brought rebellion and turned heaven into a place of confusion and evil, God embarked on a plan to restore heaven to harmony without sin.
Stair makes it sound like Heaven was in chaos and God could do nothing to control it.
Lucifer and those angels that followed him were cast out of heaven down to earth. Then in their hatred for God and His creation they destroyed earth (Gen. 1:2).
How does Stair get all that from the 2nd verse in the Bible (which he didn't bother to quote for you like all the others, by the way)? I'm going to quote verses 1-3 below so you can see the whole context of the passage:
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. . . ."
Does that verse say anything about Lucifer falling from Heaven or that the earth was destroyed by Lucifer after it was created by God? No. If this information is found elsewhere in the Bible then Stair should have referenced it. It is merely his imagination working overtime. But if you hadn't been reading along with Stair with the intention of checking what he was saying, you wouldn't know that he wasn't interpreting the Scriptures correctly.
So God again intervened and said, "Let us make man" and we will give him a free will and let him choose who will be God.
I just read Genesis 1:26, 27 where Moses tells us about God creating man and I don't see where it says anything about God's purpose was to "let him choose who will be God." Here is the passage in question:
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
The way Stair wrote his interpretation for this verse, if you were listening to it over the radio, it would sound like all of the above was a quote from scripture, but it's not. It's just more of Stair's opinion not based on fact.
Man will replace those fallen angels. But they will be a tried people who have, by an act of their will, submitted to the word and will of God through His offer of divine grace. They, on the basis of love, serve and worship the God of love and forgiveness.
Does Scripture say that man will replace fallen angels? Not in my Bible. It does however say that man will one day be exalted above the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). And how can man replace an angel when man is a redeamable mortal being and angels are unredeamable spiritual beings? It just doesn't wash.
Also, if you will notice Stair is getting around to his theory that man can become perfect and perfect man can replace angels, which is also a bogus theory that I will explain later.
So we see that Lucifer was the first to sin and that it was based on a lie and he became the father of lies. He told himself that he will become god and when that does not work he now tells man, God's creation, that they shall be as gods. God cannot lie and has given His word as to what man can be. Sons of God, heirs of God through Jesus Christ. But we must remain obedient and faithful from a heart of love. Sin is really believing a lie and the word of the father of lies, thereby rejecting the word of the Almighty God. Until iniquity (sin) was found in him... just what is sin? It is any thought, word or action, omission, or desire, contrary to the law or word of God.
That sounds OK, as far as it goes, but Stair puts his own interpretation of what sin is into this, as we will see below.
Look at the major lie promoted through the very church world. "Everybody sins every day." You cannot live without sinning, they say. This lie was given by the very father of lies knowing that God hates sin and will destroy sinners.
Now, we see where Stair is heading with this theorythat man can quit sinning and become sinless through his own efforts and therefore be accepted by God. Is this scriptural? At first glance it appears to be so, if you take scripture out of context.
You cannot serve God and mammon. Let us look at some of the verses in the bible that define sin.
"WHEREFORE I SAY UNTO YOU, ALL MANNER OF SIN AND BLASPHEMY SHALL BE FORGIVEN UNTO MEN: BUT THE BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST SHALL NOT BE FORGIVEN UNTO MEN" (Mat. 12:31).
Here again, we see God's great desire to forgive sin. But here He also mentions a sin that even God cannot nor will not forgive. I hope to deal with that sin before I am through.
I would prefer to deal with it right now while it's still fresh in our minds. The Scripture that Stair quoted above says ALL manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. So what can this mean? If there is a sin that we can commit that won't be forgiven why doesn't scripture spell it out for us so we can avoid it? When Jesus said this he was talking to Jews who had seen him perform many miracles and drive out demons. And yet they were attributing these miracles to Satan. In other words, in spite of the miracles they were persisting in unbelief. This is when Jesus told them about the unforgivable sin, which obviously has to be unbelief. But this isn't what Stair believes.
"JESUS ANSWERED THEM, VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, WHOSOEVER committeth SIN IS THE SERVANT OF SIN. AND THE SERVANT ABIDETH NOT IN THE HOUSE FOR EVER: BUT THE SON ABIDETH EVER." (John 8:34-35).
Again I repeat, you cannot serve God and mammon or sin. Now we know that when one commits sin and does it continually, he is not a servant of God nor a true child of God. Can you not see and understand that sin still separates one from God?
"BEHOLD, THE LORD'S HAND IS NOT SHORTENED, THAT IT CANNOT SAVE; NEITHER HIS EAR HEAVY, THAT IT CANNOT HEAR: BUT YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE SEPARATED BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD, AND YOUR SINS HAVE HID HIS FACE FROM YOU, THAT HE WILL NOT HEAR." (Isa. 59:1-2).
This scripture is referring to the fact that when we sin God will not listen to our prayers. It is not saying that we will loose our salvation. One thing I find very annoying is when teachers quote out of the OT when teaching on sin rather than the NT. Why? Because God's program for paying for one's sin in the OT was different before Christ came and died for our sins. He paid it all. There is nothing more we can do to absolve ourselves in God's eyes than believe on his Son:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM IS NOT CONDEMNED, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." (John 3:16-18).
Why didn't Stair use these NT verses when he was preaching on sin? Could it be because they are contrary to what he is teaching? Also, please notice that these verses indicate what I said above about who will be condemned and who won'tunbelievers will be condemned, believers will not. Therefore Stair is not teaching the truth about sin or even salvation for that matter.
Of course we are expected to not sin anymore, after we claim Christ as our Lord and Savior, but man will never reach sinless perfection on this side of heaven. This is why Christ left us the Holy Spirit, to guide us away from sin. Therefore, the verse Stair quoted above is not saying we are permanently separated from God.
The wages of sin is still death and those that love their sin and willingly just go on in that sin will die or be separated from God.
Stair just took another scripture out of context. Only he didn't provide a reference this time. It is coming from Romans 6:23 but he isn't telling you the whole context of that verse either, which I will provide below:
"When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
As you can see, the phrase "the wages of sin is death," is clearly meant for unbelievers, not a believer who has been promised eternal life. It is only the unbelievers who are promised death. And as we saw above, believers are not under condemnation. It is only unbelievers who willingly continue in their sin because they don't have the Holy Spirit guiding them. Here is another example of how just listening to what Stair says, and not following along with him in the scriptures, can lead you down the wrong path, because he is not teaching the truth of the Word.
"AND WHEN HE IS COME, HE WILL REPROVE THE WORLD OF SIN, AND OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND OF JUDGMENT: OF SIN, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE NOT ON ME" (John 16:8-9).
I'm surprised Stair used this Scripture because it says the reason these folks are judged is because They believe not on Me. This just substantiates what John said above in his gospel, that it is unbelievers who are condemned.
In these verses we see that the power over sin is to believe on Christ.
Is that what the verse above said, or was it talking about judgment unto death because of unbelief?
In Him you receive grace and power over sin; that is the power to stop sinning.
We receive God's grace when we believe. However, we never quit sinning. If that were so then why did Paul struggle with sin so much? (Romans 7:15-24):
"We know that the law is spiritual; but I AM UNSPIRITUAL, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but IT IS SIN LIVING IN ME. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in MY SINFUL NATURE. For I have the desire to do what is good but I CANNOT CARRY IT OUT. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to dothis I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it but IT IS SIN LIVING IN ME that does it. So I find this law at work. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. WHAT A WRETCHED MAN I AM! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to Godthrough Jesus Christ our Lord!
So, there we see that Paul struggled with sin all the time. However he didn't condemn himself to death, and neither did he believe that he was headed to hell because he couldn't attain sinlessness. Instead he trusted in Christ who died for his sins and had promised him eternal life as we saw in other scriptures.
Let no one tell you that God did not intend to have a people that could or would live without sin.
"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" (I John 2:1).
Once again Stair has used a verse that refutes his own position. He must be getting tired. Please notice that John said "IF" you sin, you have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ. Stair has been implying that "IF" we sin we are condemned.
God does not forgive unconfessed sin. The Holy Ghost will convict men of sin in order to lead them to repentance. If men are not convicted, they will not repent. Therefore, they blaspheme the Holy Ghost and this sin will never be forgiven. What are some of the sins accepted in the church today, never called sin and never confessed nor forsaken as sin?
One is seeking the doctor for healing.
I think this is one of the most dangerous beliefs that Stair preaches. Before you make up your mind that he is right, you might want to read the book of Luke, written by a disciple of Christ who was a doctor.
Another sin is to watch TV.
I agree that most of what is on TV is abominable, however if one can't discern truth from lies and doesn't have the will power to turn off programs that are blatanly sinful then they have no maturity and even less intelligence. There are still some good programs on TV, and especially on Christian channels. However, what Stair is doing is falling right in line with a lot dishonest leaders who prefer to keep their people ignorant of the world around them so they can control them.
Another grave sin is the way this generation of Christians dress. Mostly the women but this also includes the men.
Stair then quotes from Deut 22:5 saying that women shall not wear men's clothes. He is implying that women should not wear pants. But did men wear pants in the time of Moses. No. They wore what would today look like women's clothes. So telling women to not wear pants has no basis in fact. How come men aren't wearing the same garments and are now wearing pants???? I agree that women should not dress like men and vise-a-versa, but this is not what Stair is saying. He has just imagined another means of controling his people. No TV. No Doctor. No pants for women, no braided hair, etc. Stair sounds more like a dictator than a precher of righteousness.
Do you see what Stair has done with these pet "sins" of his? He is claiming these are the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, i.e., unforgiveable sins. And yet there is no scriptureal proof that these are even indeed sins to begin with. He is merely using them to control his followers like any other dishonest teacher who is leading the sheep away. And why are the sheep listening to him? Because it "feels" better to be doing something to "earn" our salvation rather than just accept the free Grace given by God. They are letting Stair tickle their ears with works salvation.
One last thing on this subject of sin at this time. The word of God tells us that even the thought of foolishness is sin or that it is a sin to foolishly think that you will get by with sin and that God will not keep His word in regard to sin.. . .If one persists and excuses sin and there is no conviction of sin, then by the word of the Lord, that man or woman has not been born again and cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
"WHOSOEVER ABIDETH IN HIM SINNETH NOT: WHOSOEVER SINNETH HATH NOT SEEN HIM, NEITHER KNOWN HIM."
"WE KNOW THAT WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD SINNETH NOT..." (I John 3:6 & 5:18).
Stair is using the KJV version of the Bible and that translation does not adequately portray the meaning of this verse because the words in question, in the Greek, mean one who is in Christ will not CONTINUALLY sin. The tense of the words in question, "abideth" and "sinneth" are both in present tense. John himself, back in 1:9, admits that Christians fall into sin occasionally so Stair's interpretation cannot be what John was saying. Also the words "seen" and "known" are in the perfect tense, indicating that this person has never in times past ever known Christ. The word "see" in this instance also means to "see with discernment." Therefore this verse is not talking about a believer. The same thing can be said for the verse in 1 John 5:18, it means they won't "continually" sin. This is the way the NIV and a lot of other translations interpret these verses.
So, everyone who is continually sinning does not know Christ because it means they are not being led by the Holy Spirit. However, even the most stauch Christian falls into sin occasionally (just like the apostle Paul) but God will not let us stay there, and he brings us back through the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why Christ sent us the Holy Spirit in the first place. So I think we can safely ignore any of Stair's teachings on the subject of sin because he knows not whereof he speaks and he especially doesn't know Greek.
© February 11, 2000.
Back to: Brother Stair: False Teacher