Believe and be saved

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. (John 3:16) This is the most important verse in the Bible in my opinion. Being sinners we were all destined to perish but God’s grace and love made a way for our salvation. Amazingly God did all the hard work and asked us to believe on His Son! This sounds too good to be true and so unfortunately people add extra rules to receive this gift. The Roman Catholic Church adds baptism, the sacraments and other regulations into a package for salvation. The common “sinner’s prayer” is an unwanted adaptation since the focus is on the prayer and not on believing.

The Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship sadly has its own version of salvation. Since they do not have written doctrines, it is not possible to determine their official position but they have a fairly consistent approach to salvation. In its evangelistic meetings there will be one or more testimonies in which the person usually gives details about their sinful past, how it was confessed and stolen money and goods were returned, how God “spoke” to them through a Bible verse and finally how they were filled with peace and joy. Then the message, especially Mr. Joshua Daniel’s message, will focus on sinful actions and end by asking the gathering to go home and pray and that God would “speak” to them. Not much is preached about how Jesus obtained salvation nor believing on Jesus for salvation. In the oral and printed testimonies of people the pattern recurs. Confession of sin, returning stolen money and goods, getting right with people they earlier had problems and God speaking to them from a verse in the Bible showing them that their sins are forgiven and they are saved and finally being filled with peace and joy. There is nothing wrong with these steps but unfortunately the fundamental step of belief is relegated to the background and rarely mentioned.

Since the simple step of belief has been wrapped around by many “holy” procedures, the general attitude of LEF is that they are superior Christians. This is probably the biggest reason why people do not easily leave the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship. Nobody wants to leave superior Christianity for  inferior Christianity! Confession and restitution are good but it should be spontaneous and not forced. In Luke 19:8, Zacchaeus committed to return four times the amount he cheated people. In Acts 19:18&19 some new believers in Ephesus confessed their deeds and burnt their books of occult. But the Bible does not record such incidents happening for every new believer. It is recorded that in the early revivals of LEF, incidents of public confession spontaneously occurred. In my opinion, what happened spontaneously has been converted into a doctrine without a strong Biblical mandate. They also incorrectly use the term repentance for this process. In the Bible, the word “repent” means “to change one’s mind”. By changing the meaning of the word, there is a false feeling that they are more closely following the Bible than other churches. LEF’s “superior” position has led to some people feeling that they are not saved since they did not get any verse from God or feel saved even though they believe in Jesus, pray and read the Bible regularly. Also when people wait for verses for a proof of salvation, it is no longer by faith but by sight! There is also no guarantee for a nice feeling after believing. “The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. That’s the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 (ISV).

Dear readers, if you have been confused about salvation, especially by the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship, prayerfully consider these verses:

  • For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Romans 1:16a
  • 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. Ephesians 2:8,9
  • Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Act 16:30b-31
  • To all who received him, those believing in his name, he gave authority to become God’s children. John 1:12 (ISV)
  • Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn’t believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16 (ISV)
  • If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For one believes with his heart and is justified, and declares with his mouth and is saved. The Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will never be ashamed.” “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-11,13

Salvation is something that God initiates and it is difficult to specify clear rules. There has to be repentance where the person realises that he or she has been without God and in the wrong track and the desire for God forms. Confession, restitution and giving up of sinful habits may occur immediately or may be a gradual process. Belief and faith in the invisible God develops and the new birth occurs! For some this seems to happen instantaneously while for others it takes time. But it is important that nobody neglects it.

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17 Comments

Filed under Christian doctrine

17 responses to “Believe and be saved

  1. I agree with SFT. if you are really concerned and really think that this is all false teaching, go and pray. posting all this and trying to disturb the faith of people is not apt. there are ups and downs. this may be a somekind of a challenging situation. so we need to pray to bring it back to the true church status. Church is one body. if something happens then we wait for it to heal in God’s presence
    Comparing this situation to primary school by @suniemi is not correct.

  2. Josh

    The author does leave the common Protestant perspective against the Roman Catholic Church about it’s theology of salvation. Having given up Protestantism for a decade and joining the Catholic Church, I believe in it’s theology fully. Before I made this decision, I spent years studying it’s history, theology, the Catechism of the Catholic Church alongside the Bible. I conclude that in the doctrine of salvation, both Catholics and Protestants are saying the same thing albeit the interpretation being different and the understanding or opinion slightly varied.
    Besides, I invite all Protestants(LEF or non-LEF) to the RCC. You can ask me any theological or historical questions you have (joshua.chandran@gmail.com). As I have been writing in lefiwhistleblowers blog too, I reiterate that the RCC was founded by our Savior in 33 AD in Jerusalem. It is currently 2000 years old and it has withstood trials, temptations, sins, scandals, wars and persecutions. Since the Holy Spirit is it’s President and the Father it’s CEO, the Son of God it’s Founder, I have no doubt that the RCC will ever sink(as the LEF is and as so many man-made organizations have sank). I give an open invitation to any Christian or non-Christian to try the Church that our Lord founded.

    • Josh,
      Jesus did not physically start any church. The church can said to have started on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Jesus had already ascended to heaven. The New Testament never teaches the church to be one single human organization. In the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, we see the church as independent groups of believers in different regions. They could have had loose connections with each other due to their common founder like Apostle Paul. When the New Testament has no criteria that the church should be a single human organization, it’s strange that the proponents of the RCC harp on this non-Biblical requirement. Since it is the Holy Spirit that is the connecting link between different groups of believers, there is no requirement that believers should all come under the same denomination.
      Organisations fail, but the Church remains for ever being nurtured by the Holy Spirit. Let not the misdeeds of Christian organizations like LEF push you to the RCC. Organizations fail but Jesus never fails.

  3. clb

    Bring Jesus Christ back into central focus. Bring the light in, darkness flees, bring love in, hatred disappears. The Christian faith is Christ centered, not man centered. Man can preach morality and do moral policing, but only the indwelling Holy spirit can initiate and continue a spirit led life.The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace etc. Only when a person invites Jesus into his life can these fruits be seen. By your fruits you shall know them. Is there love, joy, peace etc among us? Everyone who has accepted Jesus as Lord and saviour is a child of God, not only those who stand on pulpits and preach. Whatsoever we do to the least of our brethren we do to the Lord himself. Look at yourself and be depressed
    Look at the world and be Distressed. Look at Jesus only.Messages should focus not on people or the world but on Jesus.He who is busy looking down on others will not look up.

  4. SFT

    Sir,
    When did LEF teach man-centered salvation? moreover it is generally taught that repentance is holy spirit initiated. If a person do not set things right with others then how is it possible to be right with God?
    There may be some people within and are puffed up and boast in their shallowness. But it is not a general condition. Teaching in LEF generally revolves around to see the works of our LORD JESUS through faith. What makes it cultish?

    • Amian Amahar

      SFT/Truthsearch3:

      Please read again what ‘Suniemi’ has written above and elsewhere. Cultishness develops when one person (or an exclusive group of people) obstinately retains leadership in opposition to the Biblical pattern of the ordering of local Christian fellowships, which should be independently governed, in accordance with the wishes of the local church membership, as to both leadership and finances. Some bloggers and their families, here and on the ‘LEFWhistleblower’ site, have been very damaged by the cultish practices of the LEF organisation, which seem to have developed under the leadership of the now deceased Mr.Joshua Daniel and other members of his family. This is obvious in the anger evident in what some people write, and how they express themselves, but it does not mean that the substance of what they write is incorrect. You should know that many older Christians (myself included) have in the past politely but firmly challenged LEF’s practices and teachings, have spoken with Joshua and Lily Daniel in person about these. The Daniels have never responded in any substantive way, and people have left, or distanced themselves, from the fellowship because they no longer wished to be part of, or be associated with, ungodly practices and dubious teaching.

      It is possible to preach a comparatively ‘Biblical’ gospel, but to distort it in practice. Thus many cultish groups superficially employ the teachings and name of Jesus. In the case of the LEF, teachings that derive from the Bible, initially, have been distorted to give wrong impressions of what being a Christian is really about, what a Christian should be doing, to whom (or not!) a Christian should be ‘subservient’, and how (and by whom) resources derived from tithes and offerings should be managed. Simple people, often with little opportunity of seeking sound Biblical teaching elsewhere (especially in India, and in connection with the Biblical and historic ordering of the local church) have been exploited. This does not mean that the original persons involved in what initiated and preceded the ‘LEFI’ many decades ago had wrong intentions, but that the status of the LEF is now that of a cult, and honest, God-fearing, Jesus-loving folk who are associated with it would do well to leave it and seek a Biblical, locally-governed church elsewhere. If that is difficult in India, then ex-LEF persons can simply meet together locally and pool resources as necessary, until such time as God makes it clear that He, and He alone, has appointed a local leadership from amongst them.

      I do not know whether you have been ‘planted’ on this site, as some have been, to defend the regrettable current LEF status quo. Whether you have, or whether you have not, please, in a sober and questioning fashion, discover for yourself in what ways the LEF has become overall so cultish that no genuine Christian should continue to support its activities, either financially or practically.

      Suniemi has supplied all the information you need, in a sober and thoughtful manner. I have also made many contributions to this site under the name ‘Amian Amahar’ or ‘GE’. I am not bitter or damaged by the LEF, and have no need to have anything to do with the organisation per se in my situation. However I grieve for those, particularly in India, who are still caught up in it, to their own spiritual or physical detriment. Do not be afraid of what man can do to you…….

      • SFT

        Sir,
        We are not planted any body for any purpose. We honestly seek the truth in the fear of our LORD JESUS. As people who are benefitted by the teaching in LEF we are deeply troubled by the current happenings and are seeking the remedy. Honestly speaking we have no intention to leave LEF because we met God in this fellowship. Our intentions, efforts and prayers are directed in view of lifting up LEF from the present day situation of being called a cultish brand to a true churh. We may be needing your experience.
        Thank you.

        • People do not remain in primary school because that’s where they learnt ABC! So although it is very hard to leave a church where you met God, sometimes it may be necessary. The Bible does not command you to remain in the first church. Jesus commanded us to go into all the world preaching the gospel. This implies that we will be changing churches as we move to different cities.
          If important Christian truths like grace and salvation by faith are not clearly taught and believed and there is no respect for Biblical church leadership principles, I am skeptical that LEF will rise out of it’s mess.

          • SFT

            Sir,

            We have thoughtfully considered your advice that it is better to leave a primary school. But where to go for graduation? Moreover you are skeptical that LEF would rise out of it’s mess. Indeed Jesus our LORD had commanded us to preach gospel to entire world. Then is it an easy task without a strongly built organization like LEF? We are a group of evangelists and we are taught in LEF to rely on the promises of God. In our own experience we have seen the fulfillment of God’s promise given to us through Isaiah.58:11 & 12, which reads thus………
            ” And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” Of course the promises of God were our treasures and we are building the work of God based on his promises only and as a result souls are being saved.
            Earlier we have tried to defend LEF in whistle blower blog out of our commitment to LEF since they appeared to be using very strong and angry terminology. Though there is no change in our disposition, yet due to the exposure of the whistle people, and after our own investigation, we are slowly gaining some understanding regarding contra biblical aspects in the issues of leadership and money management which is causing a great deal of grief to our hearts. In fact we feel very much humiliated because of the accusations of monetary corruption in LEF by some people. Since the whistle people have not properly responded to the comments we have posted in their blog, we also have stopped correspondence with them. We detest any kind of unrighteousness and surely we will by no means comply with any people who try to mock God. The recent case of Mr.Gideon of Nalgonda have caused us agony as we are aware of the sacrifice of Mr&Mrs.Gideon.
            Therefore in order to have proper enlightenment, we have requested your pleasant mind to supply us with the extracts of Werner Hoerschelmann. If LEF is turned out to be a cult, we we direct our all prayers and efforts to restore it to its original calling. For that the present day LEF evangelists are to be supplied with proper material regarding the issues of leadership and church governance and they must be convinced through amiable correspondence avoiding disorderly tumults.
            In this connection we respect your experience and sound learning of the scriptures. We believe that it is God who builds a fellowship and the same God will cause its fall if it is found unrighteous in his sight. We are hopeful of your cooperation

            truely yours
            SFT

            • Amian Amahar

              SFT:

              I understand your sentiments as set out above, and to some extent your feelings of loyalty. However some of what you write bears the hallmarks not only of wrong LEF teaching or emphasis, but also of the way the Christian church has generally declined of late.

              A church is not really any kind of set ‘institution’, in the biblical sense. It is simply a group of born again people who meet locally to worship, grow in grace, and evangelise. In order to do this effectively they elect a leadership and agree to discipline themselves as the body of Christ according to the principles of Scripture. If you examine the New Testament accounts of church life, and especially once the local churches had been established through the exceptional ministry of the apostles (those who had had direct relationships with Jesus Himself, and whom He had appointed specifically for this task) you will see that they became independent groups, not relying on any one person or group of people for their continuation as God’s local churches, though they had amiable and supportive relationships with like-minded groups elsewhere. Their ministry was given to them directly from God, not second-hand through generations of people claiming some kind of special and unbiblical ‘anointing’. The special ministry of the apostles died with them, once they had established the New Testament church, and encouraged it through their teaching, which was derived first-hand from Jesus Himself.

              Your thinking that the ministry given to the church of preaching the Gospel to everybody can only be brought about through big organisations is demeaning to those who labour as individuals for decades in God’s service, sometimes not seeing fruit for a very long time, but nevertheless leading godly lives in obedience to the Word. If you really want to promote the Gospel in Spirit and in truth, then you can best do so by meeting together in local groups as the early church did, and seeking to order yourselves according to the apostle’s instructions and the early churches’ practice. You do not need the discredited and redundant ‘services’ of the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship, or the Daniel family and their followers. The very name will now have negative connotations worldwide, and in any case you will need to discover for yourselves in what areas the founder(s) failed to observe the Word of God so that the present situation came about; you can then rectify these failures and begin again on a more sure foundation.

              There is so much evidence in the New Testament that the godly are expected to eject ungodly leaders from their local fellowships. If this does not happen (as with LEF) a fellowship becomes the province largely of ungodly leadership, and then it is no longer a Christian fellowship. What does the Apostle John write in the letters to the seven churches (in Revelation)? Through him The Lord says that He will ‘spew (such churches) up out of His mouth’. This does not mean that godly people just sat back and waited for God to act, meanwhile being accessories to the deeds of the ungodly by their continuing presence amongst them, but that they left the ungodly church so that they would not be implicated when God finally did judge it. We are called to be active, not passive, in our fight against evil, and especially where it takes root in the church itself.

              Yes, some of the comments on the Whistleblower site are not as well-expressed or gracious as one might wish. However many have been brutalised and misled by people they had trusted, sometimes (naively) with their spiritual welfare, and even (wrongly) with their eternal destinies. They are therefore suspicious of, and hostile towards, those who appear to support or approve of the ones who have hurt them and/or their families. Is this not a ministry that you, and those whom you represent, could undertake? Why not make it clear to such people that you want healing for them, and to help them to find (earthly) spiritual fellowship, soundly Biblical teaching, and spiritual homes amongst truly humble people who only seek to obey God’s will as discerned from His Word, and take care of His flock? So many vulnerable folk are saying ‘Where would we go if we leave the LEF?’.

              Could you not graciously undertake such a ministry? Should you not feel a calling to be of assistance to those whom the LEF and the Daniels have turned away from the peace that can be found in the Saviour? If you do, you cannot minister to them under the auspices of the discredited LEF, and neither should you try.

              May God bless you as you seek guidance in these matters.

          • How can you compare this situation to Primary School !!!!!
            Church is not a single member thing. when its in bad state we need to pray for its betterment. so that it becomes a church truely standing for Christ. but how can u suggest someone to leave that. Thats not what the Bible teaches you.
            Jesus said go ye into all the world and prech the gospel. Yes!! but that doesnot mean u can do that only if you change a chruch or something.
            If you really care and THINK LEF is not in a proper condition better pray. If you are skeptical about this, where is your faith !!!

    • clb

      Bring Jesus Christ back into focus as the early church did – Peter, Paul etc.

  5. GE/Amian Amahar

    Alsing Patel: for your information, a small group of ladies in England have started to pray for the Indian lady (wife of a ‘leader’) that you are so concerned about. Please tell her that we are lifting her to the Lord, who is the only one who able to carry her through this sad situation, and he will do so because he has promised. We wish we could offer her the personal fellowship the she would love to have…..

    • Alsing patel

      Dear one thank you soo much for your much needed prayer. Your loving prayer will certainly encourage her. All that she wanted was to be in one with Godly ladies. Though not in person your ladies prayer is a big answer from God which longed for years. You will find her when the Lord comes . It is told God put togther those who lift each other in his reighn . She will be a part of you and thank you. Wish it is earlier. My Sincere humble gratitude to all the wonderful ladies. Aww struck. lease continue to hold her up in your prayers. Now she knows she is in group of her ow.

  6. Hi there.
    Dear Sir/Mam,
    Since you have so much knowledge
    about lef you must have been a part of lef but you’ve been deeply dissatisfied for the reasons only you and God knows. This January I searched for blogs about lef retreat experiences. I found this blog. Well I thought of attending the retreat and respond to your posts.
    I’ve attended the retreat and I’ve found it to be a blessing. The people are humble. They have this hunger for God. I’ve astonished by seeing their faith. Coming to your this particular post you’ve missed the logic. What I see is a mere hatred or dissatisfaction.
    1.In every conversion in new testament jesus himself was preaching and so called people had direct encounter with God. So since word is God so getting a promise from word is nothing wrong I guess. Not every one will have divine vision in which God appears. But every sinner should have this interaction with God (remember word is God).
    2 . Matthew 5:24 clearly says set right with your brother before you offer your gift at altar.
    So asking forgiveness and setting right will happen if you want to have Christ in your heart.
    3.You say there is this superiority feeling among lef people. You have this feeling of inferiority I guess. You assume that you are not a great believer as Paul or Peter. You want to settle for less and you’re asking for others to settle for less. Our God is great if he can speak to Paul, Peter, beggar, blind he can speak to us in this generation. They leave their jobs their comfort zones not because they are superior but they want to be humble and follow the word of God.

    PS:I’m not a part of lef for your kind info. I was confused after reading your blog. There might be some people who are spiritually pride but don’t say whole of the lef is like that.

  7. Amian Amahar

    I would agree with your analysis of the LEF approach. However in theological terms, Holy Spirit-initiated regeneration (being born again) must occur before true repentance or saving faith are possible. Without regeneration we are blind and deaf to the Gospel (as Jesus himself observed). Isaiah prophesied ‘Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped’. I believe that the scriptures indicate that regeneration takes place at one particular time (and before repentance), but we ourselves may not know exactly when that time is. We can only say, with the formerly blind man, ‘All I know is that once I was blind, but now I can see!’. The sanctifying results of being regenerate will continue until believers meet their Saviour face to face, as the previous post indicates. The LEF, in common with other groups whom its adherents would regard as in error or less ‘spiritual’, makes salvation man-centred, in that it promotes prompt and often publicly-exhibited repentance and restitution as necessary evidences of salvation. People are encouraged to examine their past lives in great detail in order to ‘confess’ every sinful action, before they can truly be ‘saved’. One adult ‘leader’ spoke, almost with glee, about how God had allegedly shown him that as a child he had not repaid a small coin he had acquired from another child. He went to great lengths to trace this child decades later in order to repay him (without success, as I recall), and then told this story more than once for the encouragement (?) of others. There is nothing wrong, in principal, with putting right a perceived wrong at a later date…..but repeatedly to refer such actions during the course of a ‘sermon’ could be interpreted as a form of spiritual pride, though the ‘preacher’, under the LEF influence since his youth, probably did not realise this.

    There is a fine line between the ignoring of the need for repentance, and the encouragement of largely ‘man-made’ repentance. It is hard enough for believers to tread the narrow path. They do not need additional stumbling blocks from either Romanism or the LEF…..or, for that matter, from the charismatic/prosperity Gospel movement, with its own unbiblical insistences.

    • Alsing patel

      I have been in fellowship for 48 years. Both are right. There are wonderful godly humble people who are the back bone of fellowship. Attended soo many retreats. It was big blessing. But the selfish, gossiping, manipulative people have upper hand now. Take the blessing and bless others. Be harmless as dove also wise as serpent. I have seen many sacrificial lives have been taken advantage and wsted. Who ever is blessedvthrough the retreats stay strong and pray God to guide identify the one who can make your life blessing to many till the end of your life. Many who start soon get distrated for position andcstart gossiping and manipulating and ruin others life. Pray God you tovthe right person till the end and make your life a blessing to many.

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