Saturday, February 25, 2023

In Defense Of Evangelist Onorato Diamante's Preaching

John 3:15-16, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

This blog is my rebuttal to the following horrible YouTube video by Pastor Roger Jimenez who ruthlessly attacks Onorato Diamante for preaching that you can be saved by simple childlike faith, without adding an unnecessary requirement to pray a prayer to get to Heaven...

Kindly, Brother Diamante is 100% correct on the Bible. I have heard Pastor Steven Anderson (whom I love and promote his awesome ministry) teach that he believes a person CAN be saved by simply believing without faith, but he thinks that calling (praying) is the Bible method to get saved. I heard pastor Anderson also say that he doesn't want any of his church members counting anybody as being saved who does not pray a sinner's prayer. I humbly think he is right in the first thing he said, but wrong on the latter.

I have no problem with soulwinner's and preachers leading lost sinners to Christ by leading them in a sinner's prayer, just so long as it is clearly explained to a person that they DON'T have to pray to be saved. Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do. Kindly, I strongly disagree with Pastor Jimenez (whom I also love and support his ministry) that it is impossible to believe on Jesus without also calling. That is not true, proven by Romans 10:14, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"

When I got saved at age 13 in 1980, I didn't walk down the aisle to find out what I just did. Consequently, for the next several years I lived in tearful fear. I literally cried often, afraid that I wasn't saved and might miss Heaven. I was shy and reluctant to seek advice from my pastor. I read every religious tract I could get my hands on. When a preacher spoke anything about salvation, I sat on the edge of my pew. I did learn many great truths that helped me, so that after 20 years I finally found the absolute 100% assurance of my salvation. The one truth that solidified my salvation beliefs is that I DIDN'T have to pray any prayer at all to be saved, I simply could have just believed.

In hindsight, the reason why I couldn't settle the assurance of salvation is because of the unbiblical addition of being required to pray a prayer to be saved. I couldn't remember over time what I had prayed at the time I thought I got saved, so it was a nightmare for me trying to remember what I couldn't remember. No one had ever told me that I could simply BELIEVE to be saved, without praying, until I read Pastor Max D. Younce's helpful book titled: "Salvation And The Public Invitation" (backup link). That book changed my life, solidifying my salvation beliefs.

To clarify, it is okay to call upon the Lord through prayer to be saved. It is a natural thing to desire to call and ask Jesus to save you. But faith is enough, without prayer. The choice is yours alone to make. If you want to pray, invite Christ into your life, commit to reform your life, confess Jesus publicly, get water baptized, and do a bunch of other possible WORKS, it is okay just so long as they accompany your faith and are not attached to your faith. If you put your trust in any of those things that I just mentioned, you cannot be saved. Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do.

The inherent danger of requiring lost sinners to pray is that they might become confused for years to come, as I was for decades. Even worse, they might rely upon their prayer instead of Christ. I heard a Contemporary Christian Music singer say in an interview that she "got saved at age 3 by praying the Jesus' prayer." She is as lost as Judas Iscariot! You can pray and still not be saved, but you cannot believe the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen the third day and not be saved. John 3:15-16, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Respectfully, Pastor Jimenez keeps citing John 4:10 as his go to Bible verse, while ignoring the 85 references in the Gospel of John to the word "believe" without any mention of "calling." Pastor Curtis Hutson (1934-1995) correctly said: "A good rule to follow when interpreting the Bible is to never use an obscure passage to contradict a clear one."

One of my favorite Bible passages is the true story of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10. Cornelius was a centurion, a commander over 100 soldiers. They were Italians. We read in Acts 10:1-2 that Cornelius was a good man who prayer to God, gave alms to the poor, faster and feared God. Albeit, he was not saved yet. Cornelius was religious but lost. Billions of people in the world today are religious to varying degrees, but they have never been born-again by faith alone in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God arranged a meeting for Cornelius and his friends to hear the Apostle Peter preach the Gospel.

If you read the rest of Acts chapter 10, you will see that Peter simply preached the wonderful GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ, and when Cornelius BELIEVED IT he was saved. Acts 10:43-44, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” Galatians 3:1-2, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?I love that simple small phrase, “by the hearing of faith.” Hey, that's how Cornelius got saved in Acts 10:44. Acts 10:43-44, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” That is, they BELIEVED the Gospel that they heard preached unto them and were instantly saved. They became born-again into God's heavenly family, born anew of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9).

Kindly, in the preceding terrible video, Pastor Jimenez uses a lousy illustration of salvation. He uses the illustration of a World War II soldier abandoned in the ocean who is rescued by a passing military ship. When someone asks him how he was rescued, he says that he saved himself. Let me give you a much better and accurate illustration of salvation. Let's use the same soldier abandoned at sea again. A passing ship comes to his rescue, throwing a life preserver into the water. They tell him to just take hold of the life preserver and they'll pull him in (this can be likened to God's free offer of eternal life). But the man asks them, “Will you please save me!” Would that make any sense? No, it would be confusion. Why would you ask someone to save you, who has already offered to save you? Dear reader, God is freely offering you His free gift of forgiveness of sins which includes eternal life. All you need to do is TAKE IT! Salvation is a take proposition, not a give proposition.

I need to say this, knowing that it will offend some people. I love the New IFB movement, but the New IFB is in essence Pastor Steven Anderson! Whatever that man preaches becomes the dogma of the entire IFB movement. Pastor Anderson denies a biblical pretribulation Rapture, and so do ALL new IFB pastors who follow him. I am not against men following men, if the man they are following walks with God and is doctrinally sound. I humbly think that Pastors' Anderson and Jimenez are correct on the two deal breakers—the inspiration of the King James Bible, and a free grace Gospel. No doubt some people will argue with the claim I just made, that these pastors are all in collusion together, but if you simply look at the commonality of their beliefs you will see that I am right.

Norm Diamante is not attacking the new IFB movement, they are attacking him. All norm is teaching is that faith is the only righteous thing that I can do. Faith is enough! In Acts 8;27-38, we read about the Ethiopian eunuch. Phillip "preached unto him Jesus" (verse 35). In verse 36 the eunuch asked to be water baptized. We know that baptism cannot save a sinner. So Phillip told the eunuch that he could be baptized, but only if he BELIEVED. Acts 8;37, "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." There is no mention of calling or praying in this verse, but only to "BELIEVE" that Jesus is the Son of God.

In my humble opinion, Pastor Anderson's error on "prayer" as the Bible method of soulwinning does not affect the Gospel, because he does explain to people that it is faith and not prayer that saves a person. However, leading people in prayer to be saved runs the risk of confusing people doctrinally (as it did me for decades), causing me much unnecessary pain of soul, fear, worry and grief. I knew that prayer didn't save me, but I thought that praying (calling) is how you believe. I was misled by ignorant preachers.

I know this matter is splitting hairs doctrinally, but God's simple plan of salvation is important and worthy of defense. Philippians 1;17, “
But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. Kindly, I am not saying that the New IFB are wrong on the Gospel. I have had some angry people try to convince me that the New IFB are wrong on the Gospel. As I mentioned earlier, I know Pastor Anderson does believe that a lost sinner CAN be saved by faith alone without prayer. He just thinks that leading people in a sinner's prayer is the Bible method of soulwinning. I respect his right to disagree. I love Pastor Anderson.

When I attended Hyles-Anderson College (1985-1993), I led people to pray a sinner's prayer to be saved. By God's grace, I led hundreds of people to Christ during my time at Bible college. I plainly explained to all of those converts that prayer cannot saved anybody; but rather, we are saved BY FAITH alone. I wasn't using a different Gospel, I was just leading people to Christ in a manner that can and has confused some people.

Now that I have honed my beliefs decades later and I know better—after having learned from my own painful experience with doubting my assurance of salvation for so long; and also having learned that I was saved by simply believing, and I didn't have to pray at all to be saved—I have perfect peace in the matter. I haven't had the slightest doubt or worry about going to Heaven for decades. It is the great Bible truth that faith saves, and prayer is not required, that gave me this blessed confidence. The only way that the New IFB can support their heresy is by selectively cherry-picking the Scriptures. If you read the Apostle Paul's definition of 'THE GOSPEL' in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, there is no mention of praying to be saved.

When the Philippian jailer in Rome asked Paul and Silas in Acts 16:30b, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved,” their simple answer in verse 31b was: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Again, there is no requirement to pray, but simply to believe.

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