Grace Christian Fellowship

Amended Doctrines

  • This notification is written for the purpose of informing those who receive tapes of some important doctrines that Pastor Ricci has studied more thoroughly and found it necessary to come to some different conclusions than those we have previously held. We therefore have changed some points of doctrine contained in certain taped studies of the Bible. Rather than rescind the current tapes, which contain an abundance of sound doctrinal teaching, we have decided to simply inform our listeners of some of the amended doctrinal studies to date. These changes concern the doctrines of Rebound, the Filling of the Holy Spirit, Winner and Loser Believers, and Shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ. After reviewing the Scriptures and upon closer examination of these doctrines, Pastor Ricci has revised some of his earlier teaching. We believe this to be in closer accordance with what the Scriptures teach.

    The doctrine of “Rebound” based on 1 John 1:9 does not apply to the believer. Confession of sin here deals with Gnostic unbelievers who claimed they did not sin (see our booklet on “Rethinking Rebound” for an in-depth study on this subject). Every believer has a permanent fellowship God through the Cross; our fellowship with God is never presented as something that can be lost and must be regained (1 Corinthians 1:9). Believers do not need to confess sins to be forgiven or in fellowship with God; all the believer’s sins are forgiven at the moment of salvation through faith in Christ and removed forever as a barrier between God and us (Romans 3:24-26, Revelation 1:5, Psalm 103:12). When a believer sins, he needs to thank God for the forgiveness that Christ provided by relating his sin to the Cross. Then he must turn from dwelling on his sin to focusing on growing in Christ through learning the Word of God.

    The Filling of the Spirit does not depend on a rigid mechanical exercise of constant, moment-by-moment “rebound,” as taught dogmatically in so-called “doctrinal” churches. Spirituality is a process of growth (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 cf. Hebrews 5:11-14), and the more a believer is filled with the Word of God and conformed to the image of Christ, the more he is filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19 cf. Colossians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:18). The Holy Spirit is our true teacher (John 14:26), and His ministry is to glorify Christ, not Himself (John 7:39). The Spirit is always at work in the believer’s soul, leading and convicting, no matter what his current condition may be (Philippians 1:6). For further study, see our booklet Biblical Spirituality: How a Christian is Filled with the Spirit.

    As to the teaching that distinguishes between “winner” and “loser” believers, the Scriptures teach that there are no such distinctions in the one Body of Christ. Every believer is said to be an overcomer (1 John 5:4-5). Therefore, every believer shares in Christ’s victory and is a winner (John 16:33, Romans 8:37, 1 Corinthians 15:57). No believer, no matter how weak, is ever called a “loser” in the Bible. This is a false designation. (For further study, see our series on the Doctrine of Heaven: Overcomers.) Every believer rules with Christ as a priest, heir, and joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17, Galatians 4:4-7, Revelation 20:5-6, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3). A believer can lose rewards (1 Corinthians 3:15, 2 John 1:8), but he still has an inheritance that is guaranteed and can never be forfeited (Ephesians 1:13-14, 1 Peter 1:3-4).

    Finally, regarding Shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ, no believer will suffer shame at our Lord’s coming. 1 John 2:28 is again directed to Gnostics who professed to be Christians, yet denied that Christ came in the flesh, and were therefore unsaved. These false professors would suffer shame at the Lord’s appearing. Believers, however, will experience exceeding joy and comfort at the Rapture and ensuing Judgment Seat of Christ (Jude 1:24, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, 1 Corinthians 4:5). The believer’s sins were judged at the Cross and forgiven, and God remembers them no more (Colossians 2:13-14; Hebrews 8:12, 10:17-18). For further study, see our series on the Doctrine of Heaven: Shame or Joy at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

    Respectfully Yours,

    Pastor John A. Ricci