A Warning to the Church About
Galatianism...or Galatian Religion
By William Handschumacher
Rock of Offence Special Commentary
It's important to understand that both Galatian religion and Replacement theology are derived from the Holy Scriptures, which is correctly declared to be "God's Word". Many church leaders and their followers believe this to be the only qualification that must be satisfied in order for a doctrine to be taught as 'Divine truth'. It also explains why Galatianism was eagerly adopted by various mainline denominations, where it enjoys wide-spread acceptance throughout Christendom. Due to its correlation with Scripture, some refer to Galatian religion as; 'Biblical Christianity or Historical Christianity'. In the paragraphs that follow, we will see why these popular names and labels are dangerously deceptive.
A growing number of Bible scholars
are now warning the Church that
the popularity of Galatian religion
originates from a dangerous
For any theology, doctrine or
teaching to be considered 'Divine
It must satisfy at least two
qualifications - not just one.
It must be recorded in the
official 'canon' of Scripture.
It must be taught and kept
within the original context
where God placed it. Saint
Paul referred to this respect
for the Bible's context as...
'Rightly dividing the Word.'
(2 Timothy 2:15)
Many of us are aware of dishonest journalists who are caught quoting politicians and other information sources 'out-of-context'. Most of their audience fails to notice the practice, which is why it's so effective. As a result, the strategy has been used (and despised) throughout human history as an effective tool to manipulate public opinion. The problem here is obvious.
If anyone is quoted 'out-of-context'
then they didn't really say what
The same is true of God's Word.
You can use it to quote what God
says about any Biblical topic.
However, if you lift His words
from their intended context, and
reinsert them into a context of
your own design (in order to
defend your doctrine) - you are
not quoting what God actually
said. You're attempting to make
God say what you want Him to say
as a way to persuade your
As a result, God's words and commands are often used 'out-of-context' to validate a teaching that's contrary to His intentions. Unfortunately, these practices have existed within Christendom since the first century. In this study readers may be shocked to discover that those who support Galatian religion (and its countless variants) - use this same method as a way to make it appear that God says things ... that He does not say.
We are not suggesting that church
leaders are being dishonest when
they quote God out-of-context.
We have never met one minister who
was deliberately trying to deceive
The problem is caused by the way they were taught to interpret the Scriptures ... possibly in seminary. Many were taught to ignore or reject Saint Paul's command to 'rightly divide the Word' (or to respect the context of the Bible). As a result, they view the Scriptures as one continuous and uniform program of faith, where context is often ignored. However, Old Testament faith connected to Judaism - and New Testament faith in Christ are radically different (similar to oil and water) ... and can never be mixed. As a result, the Bible warns that handling its teachings as 'one continuous uniform message' perverts the Gospel of Christ and leads many dangerously astray in their faith.
The deceptive nature of Galatian
religion comes from its abuse of
Scriptural context. It takes rules
and principles that were only
meant to operate under Old
Testament Law - and makes them
binding upon the New Testament
Church governed by Grace...which
it now incorrectly declares to be
'The New Israel'. This perverts
Christ's salvation into a false
religion dependent on both Law and
Grace - that ignores the warning
given in Romans 11:6 concerning
this illegal practice.
Galatian religion is a counterfeit
or 'religious imitation' of
Christianity that God does not honor.
It has been in existence since the
first century...so it's not new. As
a result, what much (but thankfully
not all) of the modern-day Christian
Church believes to be authentic
Christianity - is actually...
A Religious Counterfeit
The apostolic leadership of the first century church, led by James our Lord's half-brother, met in Jerusalem and condemned this same doctrine in Acts chapter 15. Theologians often refer to this meeting as "The first Jerusalem Apostolic Council". However, their official ruling failed to stop its progress. Later, the same theological teaching resurfaced and nearly destroyed an entire congregation under Paul's care. As a result, Paul wrote his 'Epistle to the Galatians' in order to expose the error. This is where 'Galatian religion or the Galatian error' originally got its name.
C.I. Scofield Warns that
Galatian Religion is a
In order to provide different viewpoints, we sometimes include a quotation from C.I. Scofield, who was the architect of the popular 'Scofield Reference Bible' - and speaks a sober warning to the church. We are not necessarily students of Scofield. Yet, we find that his writings reinforce the subject of this Bible study.
"Most of us have been reared and now live under the influence of Galatianism. Protestant theology is for the most part thoroughly Galatianized, in that neither the law or grace is given its distinct and separate place as in the counsels of God, but they are mingled together in one incoherent system. The law is no longer, as in the divine intent, a ministration of death (2 Cor. 3:7), of cursing (Gal. 3:10), or conviction (Rom. 3:19), because we are taught that we must try to keep it, and that by divine help we may. Nor does grace, on the other hand, bring us blessed deliverance from the dominion of sin, for we are kept under the law as a rule of life despite the plain declaration of Romans 6:14."
"In contrast to Reformed theology is Dispensationalism. Dispensationalism says that to find the believer's rule of life you must go not to Mount Sinai, but to Mount Calvary. Mount Sinai is powerless to justify a person and Mount Sinai is also powerless to sanctify a person. The law is not the believer's rule of life. Something else is. The Scofield Bible states this position very clearly: "The test of the gospel is grace. If the message excludes grace, or mingles Law with grace as the means of justification or sanctification, or denies the fact or guilt of sin which alone gives Grace its occasion and opportunity, it is 'another' gospel, and the preacher of it is under the anathema of God."
Taken From "Footnote #6" in the Scofield
Reference Bible under Galatians 1:6.
Important Note: Reformed theology, Replacement theology, Supersessionism, Holiness theology, Dominion theology, Lordship Salvation, Amillennialism, Calvinism and various brands of fundamentalism are all different denominational variants of the Galatian error.
Scofield uses the modern theological term "dispensationalism" - which carries the same meaning and intent as Paul's command to "rightly divide God's Word". Both of these terms warn all students of the Bible that they must respect the context of Scripture. Otherwise, an incorrect understanding of God's Word and Christ's salvation will result.
We should not make the mistake of thinking that Scofield is just offering us his own personal beliefs concerning this problem. He is citing the Apostle Paul, who uses the word "accursed" when describing the misleading Biblical message of these Galatianized preachers (Galatians 1:6-8). The word 'accursed' suggests a type of 'Divine rejection' that falls upon these unsuspecting ministers (and their followers who spread the same message). They are preaching what some passionately like to call "the uncompromised Word of God". However, when the word 'uncompromised' is used to describe their brand of Bible teaching, it sounds good, but often means something totally different than what their listening audience thinks.
This is what they are not being told:
The preacher is refusing to "rightly divide" God's Word (as Paul commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15) and teaching it "undivided" ... or "uncompromised" as some like to say.
When Scripture is interpreted and taught "undivided" - the difficult-to-satisfy (and in many cases 'impossible to satisfy') requirements of Old Testament Law are illegally mixed with the New Testament Grace of Christ. These additional 'difficult or impossible to satisfy' behavioral requirements, usually based on the Ten Commandments, are then applied to obtaining (and keeping) salvation. As a result, salvation (eternal life) - paid for by the blood of Christ at the cross - is changed from a gift that God gives freely according to Grace (or His unmerited and undeserved favor) - into a benefit that must be earned through proper behavior, personal merit and good works. This means salvation becomes 'conditional' - and is therefore no longer a gift. It is this counterfeit merit-based evangelistic message that supporters are proudly calling 'uncompromised' ... because they have convinced themselves that true salvation can only be received when righteous works and personal merit are added. Yet, in our writings we use the word 'illegal' to describe this popular brand of evangelism ... because God warns against handling the Scriptures in such a dishonest and misleading way.
Those who reject Saint Paul's command to "rightly divide the Word" often attack God's Grace by calling it the sugar-coated gospel, easy believism or "greasy grace". Red flags should go up when we hear these common phrases in a sermon. On his daily radio program, one angry fundamentalist preacher accused those who preach salvation as God's free gift (or salvation available by grace as taught in Ephesians 2:4-9) - as being members of "the Grace cult" ... and suggested they were "of the devil". It is for these reasons that our commentaries and studies attempt to expose this popular yet dangerous theology, which has dominated the Christian Church in various ways since its birth in the first century. It nearly destroyed the Galatian Church and motivated Saint Paul, who wrote over half of the New Testament canon, to both refute and publicly condemn this counterfeit Bible teaching for the remainder of his life.
By performing a close examination of Paul's writings, we discover that the Galatian Church had embraced a 'different gospel of Christ' consisting of a mixture of Old Testament Law and New Testament Grace. In addition to the Galatian error, some theologians refer to it as 'meritorious salvation' (a conditional salvation obtained through both grace and personal merit). It is similar to the salvation doctrine taught in many churches today. This illegal and confusing mixture of 'works and Grace' is then applied to the way salvation is obtained (and kept) - and leads listeners astray in their faith without their knowledge.
Those who embrace this 'mixed
gospel message' often ignore
Paul's warning - that works and
grace are mutually exclusive.
Speaking to the Roman Church
about our Grace-based salvation,
Paul warns ...
"And if by Grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work." (Romans 11:6)
What Paul says here is important
because Ephesians 2:8-9 warns
that, after the cross, true
salvation only comes by Grace
through Faith in Christ Alone.
Theological Terminology Often
Causes Confusion Among
Galatian Religion - or Galatianism - is actually 'a major theological heading', under which are found many different branches or expressions. C.I. Scofield previously mentioned one as being Reformed theology. However, there are many others such as; Replacement theology, Supersessionism, Holiness theology, Dominion theology, Lordship Salvation, Amillennialism, Calvinism ... and the large and commplex religion of 'Roman Catholicism' ... which was opposed and confronted by Martin Luther (a former Catholic Priest) and major leader of the Protestant Reformation. This list is not exhaustive. Yet, by putting all of these expressions together, we can easily see the shocking evidence that most of Christendom (some studies reveal it's 80-90%) is dominated by various expressions of 'Galatian Religion' - and most Christians are totally unaware of the eternal consequences involved.
A more recent addition to the 'Galatian Religion list' is referred to by various Bible Scholars as; "Lordship Salvation" - a deceptive 'works and merit-based' salvation doctrine. Actually, this writer, as a young inexperienced Christian, sit under the teachings of Lordship salvation for many years before discovering its heritical foundation. This is why I'm so passionate about exposing it. It subtly takes "The Lordship of Jesus" (an important Biblical truth) - and insists that you must be totally obedient to Christ's Lordship in every part of your life - in order to be saved.
The following is a common phrase used by Lordship salvation ministers; "If Jesus isn't Lord of all - then He's not Lord at all." (And...if He's not Lord at all - then you are not saved)
The following is an excellent teaching exposing this popular yet dangerous doctrine given by Dr. Andy Woods of Sugarland Bible Church. (Note: The teaching is in PDF format - so make sure your browser supports it.)
What's Wrong With Lordship Salvation?
By Dr. Andy Woods (PDF format)
Baptist theologian, Dr. Ernest
Pickering, comments on this
same dangerous brand of
"One of the chief objections to the notion of 'Lordship salvation' is that it adds to the gospel of grace. It requires something of the sinner which the Scriptures do not require. The message of salvation by grace proclaims to sinners that they may receive eternal life by faith alone whereas the message of "Lordship salvation" tells sinners they must be willing to give up whatever is in their life that is displeasing to God. At the point of gospel presentation they do not know what things those are, nor does the personal worker seeking to point them to Jesus know. There is a vast and significant difference between believing on Christ for salvation and learning from Him as our Lord....None of us are happy with shoddy, fleshly, and disobedient Christians.
But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel. Well over 100 times in the New Testament, we are told that salvation is by faith or through believing. It is a very serious matter to add an ingredient to the gospel of salvation which is not found in the New Testament.... Our task is to keep preaching the plain, simple gospel of free grace. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to produce in true believers those qualities of righteousness which we all devoutly long to see."
[Lordship Salvation, by Dr. Ernest Pickering, published by Baptist World Mission, P.O. Box 1463, Decatur, AL 35602]
The Bible Exposes the Error
of Galatian Religion
In contrast, the Bible warns that it generally consists of two major covenants (the Mosaic covenant and the New Covenant of Christ) ... where each is governed by a radically different set of principles and rules (Read Galatians 4:21-31). As a result, if these two different covenants are mixed together - it creates a dangerous heresy that leads many astray in their faith. This is why the Bible translators inserted special title pages (which were not included in the original manuscripts) ... that separates Scripture into its two major components; the Old and New Testaments (or the Old and New Covenants). Once again, Saint Paul refers to this practice of keeping the Holy Scriptures separated as; 'rightly dividing the Word".
"Be diligent to present yourself approved of God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly (or correctly) dividing the Word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
It is important to understand that the
Bible consists of these two major
covenants ... which are separated by
the cross. As a result, the Holy
Spirit operates in a totally different
way under the New Covenant, which
began after Christ's sacrificial death
and the day of Pentecost; as recorded
in Acts chapter 2.
Jesus Provides a Stunning
Preview of the Holy Spirit's
"And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the helper (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of Truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of mine and declare it to you. A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father." (John 16:4-16)
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:16-17 Also read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 John 4:4)
In these Scriptures, Jesus is telling
His disciples about two periods of time
and the different administrations they
The first involved the time
period they were living in before
the cross, which operated under
the authority of Old Testament Law
The second involves a future
time following the cross which
operates under the authority of the
Contrary to popular teaching, Christ's crucifixion represents a dividing line in God's Word between these two spiritual administrations (or covenants), where each are governed by different principles and rules.
Saint Paul provides one of
the clearest descriptions of
these two covenants when
"But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He (Jesus) is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second." (Hebrews 8:6-7)
"In that He (Jesus Christ) says, "a new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:13)
Failing to respect this change
initiated at the cross...
causes us to interpret and believe
the Bible in a way that God never
Return To Home Page