Greg Laurie is a false teacher who preaches a false gospel,
believes in a false god, and teaches other destructive heresies
(2 Peter 2:1-2).
Laurie is also the featured speaker on an international daily radio program, A New Beginning, and serves as a board member of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. (ibid.)
In the New Believer's Bible Laurie says, "Recognize Satan's Strategies . . . Any so-called gospel that distorts the message of Jesus Christ found in the Bible by adding to it or taking away from it . . . is not the gospel, but a 'watered down' version that will give you a false assurance" (New Believer's Bible, 1 Timothy 4, p. 1056 or p. 270). This is exactly what Laurie has done with his "void" gospel (i.e. good news).
I. A False Gospel
A. A False Void
Under "HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD", Laurie says,
Purpose, meaning, a reason for living - these are all things we desire and search for in life. Despite steps each of us takes to find purpose and meaning in life, we still feel empty, unfulfilled. That is because there is a spiritual emptiness in each of our lives. We each have a hole in our heart, a spiritual vacuum deep within our soul - a "God-shaped blank." Possessions won't fill this hole, nor will success. Relationships alone cannot satisfy this emptiness, and morality, in and of itself, falls miserably short of occupying this space. In fact, even religion cannot fill the void in our heart.
There is only one way to effectively fill that void. This way will not only help us to have a life that is full and rich on this earth, but - more important - will give us the absolute hope of spending eternity in the presence of God. Before we can truly appreciate this good news though, we need to understand the bad news, which is a serious problem we all have. (New Believer's Bible, p. A1, Greg Laurie General Editor, copyright 1996, New Living Translation; New Believer's notes copyright 1996 by Greg Laurie, bold added)
This "spiritual vacuum", "void", and "God-shaped blank" is a lie. Laurie calls filling this void "good news" (i.e. gospel). This is nowhere taught in all of the word of God. On the contrary, Scripture says, "they are filled with all unrighteousness" (Romans 1:29). "The hearts of the sons of men are full of evil" (Ecclesiastes 9:3), and they have an evil spirit working in them (Ephesians 2:2). False assurance is certainly given, when a void that doesn't exist is supposedly filled.
B. An Antithetical Gospel That Flatters The Sinner
In Laurie's book, How To Share Your Faith, Laurie claims this "void" is a "void for God".
And if you come upon a person who has gone from relationship to relationship, trying to fill a void for God with a man or woman, you could speak of what it is to have a relationship with the living God who will never abandon or "dump" him or her. (How To Share Your Faith, p. 30, copyright 1999, underlining added)
In the context of "THINGS THAT ARE TRUE OF EVERY PERSON", Laurie says, "you are lonely for the companionship of your Creator" (Five Minutes With Jesus, p. 97, copyright 1992). In another book,
PEOPLE ARE LONELY. We tend to imagine the lonely as shut-ins or widows or people who recently moved to town. We think that the healthy or famous or important could never be lonely. But everyone who doesn't know Christ is lonely for His companionship. (The UPSIDE-DOWN CHURCH, p. 79, copyright 1999, bold added)
In another book,
Every person is lonely - lonely in a way that relationships can't fill . . . children can't fill . . . friends can't fill. I believe it's a loneliness for God." (Why Believe? p. xvi, Billy Graham Library Selection special edition, copyright 1995)
Besides "adding to" the gospel (Galatians 1:8-9; Proverbs 30:5-6) by adding a "void" that doesn't exist, Laurie preaches the opposite of the gospel. God says, "The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts." (Psalm 10:4) "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, . . ." (Romans 1:28) And, "There is none who seeks after God." (Romans 3:11) And, "An evil man seeks only rebellion." (Proverbs 17:11; see also Romans 1:18-32; 3:10-18; Proverbs 14:2). Psalm 10:3 says the wicked "renounce the Lord." John 3:20 says they hate the light (1 John 1:5). Romans 1:30 describes them as "haters of God." They are not lonely for Him.
Laurie's teaching flatters the wicked as he lies to them. Laurie's "void for God" and "loneliness for God" deludes the clear declaration of Scripture making it out that the sinner isn't really as bad as the Bible says. After all, they wanted God all along (according to Lauire).
C. A False Why
Moreover, Laurie uses this "void" (that doesn't exist) to explain why people sin.
For instance, if someone is strung out on drugs and/or alcohol, you might emphasize that only Jesus can fill the void that person has tried to fill with these substances. If you struggled with these yourself, you could share your own personal story of how God filled the void in your life you once tried to fill with these cheap worldly imitations. (How To Share Your Faith, p. 30)
But I'll tell ya what God says to you tonight. He looks at the root of your problem. He knows why you do the drugs. He knows why you drink. He knows why you fool around sexually. Because you're empty inside and there is a void deep in your heart you're trying to fill with those things and it's not working. (1994 Harvest Crusade, Anaheim, CA)
Indeed, God knows why people do such evil deeds. It is because they despise Him.
He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is perverse in his ways despises Him. (Proverbs 14:2; see also Romans 1:18-32; John 3:19-20)
D. A Works Gospel
Besides adding to the gospel (Proverbs 30:5-6) and teaching the opposite of the gospel, Laurie deceitfully teaches a gospel of works in his perverted teaching about "free will." In the context of "Why Would a Good God Send Anyone to Hell?", Laurie says,
The truth is that there are some things only God can do - such as cleanse us of our sin, forgive us, and justify us. At the same time, there are some things only we can do - such as come to him, believe in him, and repent of our sins. While God does indeed love everyone (see John 3:16, p. 895; and Romans 5:8, p. 966), he has given us a wonderful but dangerous gift. That gift is called "free will." It is the ability to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, God and Satan, and heaven and hell. God will not force his salvation and forgiveness upon our lives. (New Believer's Bible, Hebrews 2, p. 1073 or p. 287, bold added)
It is a gospel of works to teach that man chooses God based upon his own "free will." It is contrary to the gospel found in Laurie's own Bible (New Believer's Bible) on page 973 (or p. 187) which says,
So receiving God's promise is not up to us. We can't get it by choosing it or working hard for it. God will show mercy to anyone he chooses. (Romans 9:16, NLT, bold added)
So you see, God shows mercy to some just because he wants to, and he chooses to make some people refuse to listen. (Romans 9:18, NLT; see also John 6:44)
In the NKJV Romans 9:16 says, "So then it is not of him who wills." Yet, Laurie says it is. This is a works gospel, because Romans 9:11 reveals that salvation is "according to the election of God, not of works," and the "works" being spoken of includes the work of the will (Romans 9:16; see also John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:1-10).
E. A Blasphemous Gospel
In addition, it is blasphemy to say, in the context of the Almighty God, "there are some things only we can do" (2 Timothy 3:3, "blasphemers"). "For with God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37; see also Philippians 2:12-13). "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen" (Romans 11:36; see also Hebrews 2:10). This "all things" includes the "will" of man (Proverbs 16:9; 20:24; Jeremiah 10:23).
Moreover, contrary to Laurie's claim "there are some things only we can do - such as come to him," John 6:44 says, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." Furthermore, see Acts 26:9-18 where God forced His salvation upon Paul, which is contrary to Laurie's words, "God will not force his salvation and forgiveness upon our lives."
F. According To Laurie, The True Gospel Isn't Good Enough
Furthermore, besides adding to the gospel, teaching the opposite of the gospel, and preaching a works gospel, in Laurie's book, The God of the Second Chance (copyright 1997) Laurie actually admits that the true gospel is not enough (people "couldn't care less"), therefore he "appeals" to the flesh (2 Peter 2:18) and preaches a man-made void gospel.
Even if we don't have the highest motives, if we truly come to Jesus Christ, He will accept us. He will receive us and forgive us. In time we get the bigger picture of higher motives and how we were separated from God by sin.
Some people would criticize me for saying that. They might say, "The problem is you preach a man-centered gospel. You tell people that Jesus can fill the emptiness in their lives - that He can give them peace. What you really ought to say is, 'You have offended a holy God and sinned against Him. You have to turn away from the sin and repent.'" I don't disagree with that statement. It's true that we have offended a holy God. And when I present the gospel I emphasize that. But if we only say that to most people we fail, because they couldn't care less about a holy God they have offended. However, people do recognize that they have voids in their lives. When we tell them that Christ can fill those voids, that appeals to them. (p. 193-194, bold added)
So, according to Laurie, we have failed if we give someone the simple gospel of truth! Laurie does not believe in the power of the Word of God. Instead, Laurie uses human wisdom and his own persuasive words that will save no one. Paul, who preached the true gospel, refused to do what Laurie does, because unlike Laurie, Paul was a man of God. Paul wrote,
My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)
Laurie gets people to put their faith in the wisdom of men (1 Corinthians 3:19), not in the power of God.
In this same book, The God of the Second Chance, Laurie attempts to justify his use of human wisdom by reasoning (immediately after the quote above),
I am, after all, only following the example of my Lord. Remember how He went to the woman at the well . . . (p. 194)
Laurie perverts John chapter 4 (the woman at the well passage) and reveals his twist of Scripture in his book, How To Share Your Faith (copyright 1999).
As they conversed a bit, she became somewhat flippant in her response to him. [Where is this to be found?] Jesus could have retorted, 'Repent, you adulteress!' Yet, it is interesting to note that he did not do that. He saw behind the facade to what was really troubling this woman. Instead of hammering her for her immoral lifestyle, he went to the root of the problem: she was empty and separated from God. Then, lovingly and tactfully, Jesus shared with her that he as God could fill that void in her life that she had previously tried to fill with men. He essentially told her that if she drank from the "well" of relationships, she would thirst again. (How To Share Your Faith, p. 34, copyright 1999, bold added)
The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly." (John 4:11-18)
This text is void of any void, and the well Jesus was speaking of (in verse 13) was a literal well. He spoke not a word about some "'well' of relationships." Jesus said nothing about her "emptiness" either. But rather, He exposed her sin (verse 16-18), and gave Himself as the answer for her need for life (verse 13-14). Laurie perverts and adds (Proverbs 30:5-6) to the gospel Jesus gave in John 4.
Scripture says, ". . . if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:9) Laurie preaches an "other gospel". He should be accursed, and is (2 Peter 2:14). The true gospel is void of Laurie's void (e.g. Romans 1:16-11:36; Ephesians 2:1-10), and thus Laurie does exactly what he says is a Satanic strategy. He gives people a false assurance. He gets people to fill a void that isn't even there. Therefore, no salvation is taking place, just as 2 Peter 2:17 says, "These are wells without water."
II. A False God
A. A god Of Second Chances No Matter What
In Laurie's book, The God of the Second Chance, on pages 110-111 Laurie describes the false god in which he believes via the story of the prodigal son.
Let's consider the prodigal son story again. Imagine what might have happened if, after a few months of being home, the prodigal son got tired of hanging around with good old Dad. What would have happened if he had said, "Dad, I am leaving again. I'm returning to my old prodigal life." Let's say he went out and committed the same sins again and, once again, returned home repentant. Would the father have forgiven him a second time? Yes!
Scripture says no such thing (Proverbs 30:5-6, see below). Laurie continues.
Suppose he did it a third time. Would the prodigal have been forgiven a third time? Yes, he would have. A fourth time? A fifteenth time? Would he have been forgiven? Again and again the answer is yes.
In the same way, if we sin against God, will He forgive us? Absolutely. If we have blown it more than once, will He still forgive us? Yes. He will forgive us again and again and again. No matter what we have done, what sins we have committed, God stands ready to forgive us if we will come to Him truly repentant. He will forgive us for embezzling money, for cheating on our spouses and, yes, even for committing murder! (bold added)
With Laurie's context of the prodigal son, going back into a lifestyle of wicked living, Laurie turns the grace of God into lewdness (Jude 4) and describes a false god of second chances. The true God warns via the writer of Hebrews,
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witness. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31)
There is no second chance here, no longer a sacrifice for sins, and nothing but vengeance and a "certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries." The true God warns, in some cases, there is no second chance!
Yet, in complete denial of the words of the true God, Laurie writes,
No matter what you have done or think you have done, there is still room for forgiveness, redemption, and second chances. (ibid., p. 119)
The true God, again, warns to the contrary.
Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hands and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, when your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. (Proverbs 1:24-29)
Isaiah 55:6 says, "Seek the Lord while He may be found." There is a time when He will not be found (e.g. Proverbs 1:24-29; Luke 8:10, 18; John 12:37-41; Hebrews 3:7-11).
In Laurie's preface to The God of the Second Chance, Laurie makes his error on this accord abundantly clear.
The purpose of this book is to show you there really is such a thing as a second chance - for everyone - no matter who you are or what you've done. (p. xii)
Laurie's god gives everyone a second chance, no matter who they are or what they've done. The true God, the God of the Bible, gives second chances to whomever He wills, and whomever He wills He hardens (Psalm 115:3; Romans 9:16).
B. A god That Does Not Send To Hell
In addition, Laurie's god does not send people to hell. In How To Share Your Faith Laurie writes,
How can a God of love send people to hell? God doesn't send anyone to hell. We send ourselves there. Hell was never created for man but for the devil and his angels. When speaking of the destiny of those who hypocritically claimed to follow him, Jesus said, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41, italics mine). [How To Share Your Faith, p. 66, bold added; see also this same statement in how to live FOREVER, copyright 1999, p. 20]
For a Biblical answer to Laurie's question, see our article, How Can A God Of Love Send People To Hell? The Bible never teaches that "we send ourselves" to hell, or that "hell was never created for man" (see Proverbs 30:5-6; and Romans 9:22). Plus, the Bible does teach that God sends people to hell. In fact, note the very verse Laurie quotes, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire . . . ." Note further what the Word says.
And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4-5)
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-12, 15)
". . . when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction . . ." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; see also Matthew 8:12; 10:28; 13:41-42, 49-50; 18:8-9; 22:13; 25:30, 41; Mark 9:45, 47; Revelation 19:20)
It is true that people bring God's wrath upon themselves (e.g. Jeremiah 2:17). Yet, it is nonetheless God bringing His wrath. Laurie's god doesn't send people to hell. The God of the Bible does.
C. A god That Doesn't Initiate Wars
Moreover, Laurie's god doesn't initiate wars.
Take wars, for instance. They are not initiated by God but humanity. (How To Share Your Faith, p. 63, bold added)
Scripture says, "The Lord is a man of war; The Lord is His name" (Exodus 15:3; see also Psalm 18:34).
D. A god That Does Not Cause Disasters
Not long after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Laurie produced a tract entitled "Why?" His deceit in this tract is consistent with his statement above. In the tract Laurie writes,
The question often asked at a time like this is, "Why?" And more specifically, "Why did God let this happen?" Some have even phrased the question, "Why did God do this?"
God did not do this, friend. Wicked people did. The Bible tells us, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" That's so true.
It is true that wicked people destroyed those towers, but it is a lie to say "God did not do this." Scripture says,
If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it? (Amos 3:6)
I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, . . . (Romans 11:36, see also Lamentations 3:38)
Laurie's god gives second chances to everyone. The true God gives second chances to some (Luke 15:11-32), and not to others (Hebrews 10:26-31). Laurie's god doesn't send people to hell. The true God, the God of the Bible, does send people to hell. Laurie's god doesn't initiate wars. The true God, the God of the Bible does. Laurie's god didn't destroy the World Trade Center. The true God, the God of the Bible did. Laurie preaches a false god and gets untold thousands to trust in this false god, who cannot save. Truly, Laurie leads people, not to heaven, but rather to the eternal torment of the unbelieving (Revelation 21:8); because he deceitfully sways them away from faith in the word of God.
III. Other Destructive Heresies (2 Peter 2:1-2)
A. A Forgiveness Lie
Commenting on Mark 11:25, Laurie says,
As verse 25 of this passage implies, an attitude of unforgiveness can actually hinder our prayer life.
In verse 25, Jesus is not saying that God's forgiveness is dependent upon your forgiveness of others. (New Believer's Bible, p. 842 or p. 56)
Laurie's teaching here destroys the serious warning Christ gives. The bottom line to forgiveness is this: if you are not forgiven, and you die in such a state, you go to hell (Matthew 18:23-35). Scripture says,
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too (Mark 11:25, NLT)
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15, NKJV)
B. A Discipleship Lie
The requirements of discipleship are different than the requirements of salvation. To be a Christian, you need to believe in Him whom God has sent, and then you will receive eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is a gift. To be a disciple is to take up the cross daily and follow Him, making His will your will. It is a commitment. As you are learning, every disciple is a Christian but not every Christian is a disciple. (Discipleship, Giving God your Best, p. 30-31, copyright 1993)
Let's look first at the statements of Jesus concerning what is required in order for us to become His disciples. But let me make this doubly clear: These statements are not Jesus' requirements for salvation. (The UPSIDE-DOWN CHURCH, p. 112)
Laurie's statements above are damning lies. Jesus said,
And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:27)
Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:34-36)
Bottom line? If you are not a disciple of Christ, you are on your way to hell (see also Matthew 10:37-39; 16:24-27; 28:19; Luke 9:23-26; 14:26-33; Acts 11:26)! Jesus' requirements for discipleship are requirements for salvation! If anyone does not follow Jesus Christ (i.e. is not His disciple, John 8:31-36; John 10:27), they will be destroyed (Mark 8:36; 1 Corinthians 16:22).
C. Lewdness (Jude 4)
The British preacher Alan Redpath once said, "It is possible to have a saved soul and a lost life." In other words, it is possible to be saved and forgiven of one's sin but to waste one's life by not serving the Lord." (New Believer's Bible, 1 Corinthians 3, p. 986 or p. 200)
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (Romans 14:7-8)
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. (1 Corinthians 6:9)
D. A Lie on the Fear of God
In the context of Luke 19:11-26, Laurie turns the fear of God into something bad.
The third servant wanted to "play it safe," so he buried his money. He did so because he had a false perception of his master. He claimed that his master was hard and unfair. In the same way, this person is often motivated out of fear of God rather than a love for God. (New Believer's Bible, p.882 or p. 96)
Scripture says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10), and "is wisdom" (Job 28:28). The fear of God and the love of God are not in opposition to one another. They go hand in hand. As Paul said, in the same context, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;" and, "For the love of Christ compels us" (2 Corinthians 5:11 & 14).
The servant in Luke 19 exemplified that he did not fear his master, as his master illustrates.
And he said to him, "Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?" (Luke 19:22-23, NKJV)
If the servant truly did fear his master, he would have done something with his master's money.a true church, P. O. Box 797, Lake Hughes, CA 93532 1-800-HOW-TRUE (1-800-469-8783); www.atruechurch.info [Editor's note: Cephas Ministry is not in agreement with "A True Church" but do agree with the article.]