Salvation Verses Transformation
By David J. Stewart | March 2016
Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
I love rescue missions! Pacific Garden Mission (PGM) was founded in 1877. The renowned professional baseball player turned saw-dust-trail evangelist, Billy Sunday, was saved at the Pacific Garden Mission (PGM) in 1886, when Mrs. Sarah “Ma” Clarke shared the Gospel with him. I enjoy listening to PGM's radio program called “UNSHACKLED,” which began airing in 1950. Unfortunately, I have heard multiple plans of salvation taught in various episodes (there's now over 3,000 episodes).
In episode #3396 the PGM narrator makes the statement: “LIFE TRANSFORMATION IS THE GOAL AT PACIFIC GARDEN MISSION.” Although that motto sounds noble, it is disturbing because their primary goal ought to be PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO GET SOULS SAVED!!! But you say, “They do preach the Gospel at PGM as the first step of seeing lives transformed.” The problem is that the heresies of Calvinism and various forms of Lordship Salvation have crept into many churches today, which are all false Gospels. In so doing, they have mixed DISCIPLESHIP with SALVATION, which is ANOTHER GOSPEL. Despite having some heart-wrenching testimonies, which are a blessing, PGM's UNSHACKLED series propagate the false teaching that a person must stop their willful sinning to be saved, which is “ANOTHER GOSPEL” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4).
“The worst pervert in America is the Gospel pervert!”
SOURCE: Brother Lester Roloff, from the sermon, “The Gospel Perverts Or Jesus?”
Please notice our text passage of Scripture from Romans 12:1-2. The Word of God commands believers to “BE YE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND.” Getting saved does not transform a person. When a person gets saved (by faith alone in the Gospel), the Holy Spirit of God comes in to indwell that person (1st Corinthians 3:16-17). Getting saved does not change a man one bit. The change is the glorious presence of the blessed Holy Spirit of God, Which is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). Once a person is saved, a whole new world of understanding is opened unto them, because of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1st Corinthians 2:14-16).
In UNSHACKLED episode #3187, the story of Henry Christian, the narrator says:
“Jesus said, 'he that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth aboard.' Salvation begins with repentance: Turn from your wicked ways and follow the One Who said, I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” [emphasis added]
My friend, that is NOT the Gospel. PGM preaches a forked-tongued Gospel. They speak of the free grace of God in one statement, but then they tell people they must forsake sinful behavior to be saved. That is works! Receiving the “free gift” (Romans 5:15; 6:23) of God does not require turning away from your wicked ways. That is reformation! We read in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 4:5 plainly teaches, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
UNSHACKLED is really unbiblical sometimes. Later in episode#3187, Henry Christian says to his mother:
“I'm saved mom, I gave my life to Jesus Christ... Jesus will change your life too. Please, think about giving your life to Christ... Mom, if you put your trust in Jesus for salvation, He'll lead your life.”
Being saved doesn't mean having your life changed! Being saved doesn't mean letting Jesus lead your life! You don't have to give your life to Christ to be saved! You don't get better to get saved, you get saved to get better. But growth in grace takes time, as a new believer nurtures on the milk of the Word (1st Peter 2:2). UNSHACKLED may all sound really good, but it is NOT the Gospel. PGM is wrongly mixing discipleship with salvation. Nearly all of the UNSHACKLED episodes that I've listened to, automatically conclude that receiving the free gift of God mandates: following Christ, being led by Christ, turning away from sinful behavior, surrendering your life to serve God, forsaking the world and being completely transformed; yet, none of this is required to be saved. Pacific Garden Mission teaches Lordship Salvation, which is Calvinism, a false doctrine of devils.
What PGM needs to do is preach the simple Gospel, and then mentor new converts, helping them find a local New Testament church where they can be water baptized and join the church; otherwise they won't make it to spiritual maturity. New converts need to be indoctrinating with the Words of God, teaching them the things of Jesus Christ. The problem is that rescue missions operate on a short-term basis, unlike a church family where you grow together over the years. PGM tries to do it all in a week! If you doubt anything I say, listen to UNSHACKLED for yourself, and you'll hear a bunch of religious heresy instead of “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). The new life that Christianity offers requires transformation, which salvation alone cannot bring! The mind must be RENEWED by the preaching, studying, searching, abiding, memorizing and teaching of God's inspired Words in the King James Bible!!!!!!! Your salvation didn't change you one bit!!! PGM doesn't seem to understand that truth. The presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit doesn't mean instant maturity, instant consecration, instant surrender, et cetera. Just as a newborn human baby must grow into adulthood, so also must a baby believer grow into maturity (which takes years). I say that kindly, but truthfully.
I've noticed that nearly all of UNSHAKCLED's episodes are based upon testimonies of people from churches (not the mission), all around the country, and even international. Where are the stories of the men who were saved at PGM, from off the street, whose lives were immediately transformed? They don't exist!!! The only one I know of is Billy Sunday, but he was already a successful man in the secular world, not a bum off the street. If PGM's Lordship Salvation is so great, then where are all their converts from off the streets of Skid Row??? The spectacular stories make great radio shows (with some captivating background organ music and amateur actors), but in reality it takes many years for a properly mentored new believer to grow in maturity in the Lord.
When a person gets saved, they don't change one bit. The only difference is now they have the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. All things become new, as a baby believer's spiritual eyes are now opened for the first time, and they must begin to grow. There may be instant coffee, but there are no instant mature Christians!!! PGM's UNSHACKLED radio programs give the impression that a person must commit them self to substantial lifestyle changes in order to be saved. That's what they repeatedly teach! The Holy Bible says that salvation is a gift! A gift can only be received, not achieved. God only saves those who are trusting to be saved, not those who are trying to be saved. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith.
“When anyone comes promising salvation to those ‘who make full surrender' of all that they have to God, and who 'pay the price of full salvation' he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary's cross and the work that saves is finished. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender when He yielded His life on
Calvarythat saves us, not our surrender in any way to Him.”
SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside, from the Gospel tract, Another Gospel.
Pacific Garden Mission (PGM), whether they intend it or not, teach Calvinism in some of their episodes. In one UNSHACKLED episode I heard a man teaching that you cannot just write your name in the back of your Bible; but rather, you need to surrender your life to Jesus every day for the rest of your life. That is a satanic plan of damnation!!! Eternal life is a free gift, that you receive ONE TIME by faith alone, and then it is yours forever. Calvinism requires a believer to persevere in holy living, otherwise they say you're not saved. This is a false works-based plan of salvation.
The idea that repentance is from sins for salvation is not found in the Bible, and constitutes a works-based plan of salvation. In UNSHACKLED episode #3399, the story of “Dorie: The girl nobody wanted,” the PGM narrator guides the listener to pray “Please come into my heart and transform me to be more like you.” Although innocent sounding, this is not the Gospel. You don't have to “ask” Jesus into your heart to be saved. You don't have to ask Jesus to “transform” you to be saved. Being “transformed” according to Romans 12:2 comes only by having our mind “RENEWED,” which comes by nurturing on the milk of God's Word (1st Peter 2:2).
Kindly, Pacific Garden Mission hypes the spectacular ideology that a man is supposed to get saved and become an instant transformed creature! That is not Biblical. Growth in grace requires a lifetime. A new believer requires YEARS to mature. A new believer can choose to behave as a mature Christian does, but there are no shortcuts, the same as is true in the physical body. A child may choose to act like an adult in some ways, but they won't actually be an adult until they become an adult. The same is true spiritually in the Lord. It is important that my web visitors understand that Pacific Garden Mission is a rescue mission, not a church. In a church, the church family is edified and built up in the Holy Scriptures from week-to-week.
In a rescue mission, souls are pulled from the flames of Hell by the preaching of the Gospel, saved as by fire. It is totally unbiblical to propagate the idea of instantly transformed alcoholics, perverts and bums off the street into transformed Christians! I realize that some people do get saved and instantly demonstrate some type of outward change, but that is not the norm. Alcoholics are chemically addicted to the drug alcohol and in most cases will required medical intervention to recover. You cannot just tell them to believe the Gospel and be transformed from alcoholism to recovery. I'm just going by what is propagated in the UNSHACKLED programs.
“You don't go to Hell because you won't quit
SOURCE: Pastor Curtis Hutson; Quote from the classic sermon, Why Do Men Go To Hell? (exposing 'Lordship Salvation')
I have literally laughed at numerous UNSHACKLED episodes, as I hear ACTORS testifying of instant recovery from alcoholism just because they got saved. For every such claim there are a hundred SAVED ALCOHOLICS like Noah! I'm sick and tired of corrupted preachers, including many of Pacific Garden Mission's UNSHACKLED episodes, misusing the Gospel as a crutch to force behavioral changes upon sinners. Growth in grace has absolutely nothing to do with receiving the free gift of eternal life. New converts need to be mentored, or else they will not grow to maturity (Luke 8:13-15; Matthew 28:19-20).There is nothing more important than the Gospel. Either a person must turn away from deliberate sinful behavior to be born-again, or they do not. It cannot be both. The Bible says they do NOT (Romans 4:5-6).
Heresy is creeping into our churches by the hour!!! Churches all across the world love, support and listen to UNSHACKLED. I have been blessed by some of the life's stories myself, but as a born-again Christian I am commanded by God to be on guard against heresy creeping its way into the church. I haven't heard all 3,000 plus episodes, but I'm working toward it. Of the hundreds of UNSHACKLED episodes I've heard, I'm saddened that many of them make unbiblical statements, adding things to the Gospel.
The following excellent information by Dr. Hank Lindstrom is from the helpful Christian website, GetGodsGift.Org...
The Bible teaches in Romans 12:2 that a believer is transformed by the RENEWING OF THEIR MIND. The following Scripture passage applies to the Christian, and is a matter of discipleship, not being saved. Ephesians 4:22-24, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
“You don't get better
to get saved, you get saved to get better!”
SOURCE: Pastor Curtis Hutson; Quote from the classic sermon, Why Do Men Go To Hell? (exposing 'Lordship Salvation')
Pacific Garden Mission needs to leave the Gospel alone, and stop requiring people to turn from sinful behavior to be saved. You will not find the words “turn from sin” or “repent from sin” to be saved. We are saved by BELIEVING the Gospel, period. John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
We are saved by God's IMPUTED righteousness. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Eternal life is a free gift, which dies not require turning from sinful behavior. Those who teach that a changed life is necessary to be saved are liars. On their UNSHACKLED program, Pacific Garden Mission often quotes 1st John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The Bible doesn't say that such a person is not saved, it says they don't have God's love in them.
We read about many worldly men in the Bible; namely, Lot, Samson, Solomon, David, Demas, Peter, et cetera. Proponents of the Lordship Salvation heresy would lead us to believe that they weren't really saved, but that is untrue. I'm tired of hearing false prophets saying that salvation is solely by God's grace, while at the same time hypocritically teaching that you must forsake sinful behavior to be saved. Romans 11:6 plainly teaches that it cannot be both—salvation is either by works or grace!
1st Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.”
“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8
You Need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS