Beware of Donald Grey Barnhouse!

May 19, 2010 by: KJVOnly

I understand he passed away in 1960 but his teachings are still being broadcast so they still need to be preached against.

I don’t say this lightly but I heard a statement of his that puts the lie not only to the philosophies taught on his radio program but is completely contradictory to the clear teachings of Paul that are our guides today.

I’ll explain.


On tonight’s program, Life and Peace, he made the statement that he had, for many years, believed Romans 8:5-6 to refer solely to the unsaved. He claimed the Lord had showed him that it also refers to today’s Christians! As you will see, not only does that contradict the plain reading of Romans 8 but it contradicts the Risen Saviour’s plan for Christians today. It also raises serious questions about Dr. Barnhouse’s teaching and what his final authority was.


Let’s start by simply reading Romans 8:1-9. Just those nine verses is enough to contradict what Dr. Barnhouse taught. As always, God provides many more examples as well.

  1. THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
  2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
  3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
  4. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
  5. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
  6. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
  7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
  8. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
  9. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:1-9 KJV

Dr. Barnhouse’s statement makes it sound like people should always be walking around, judging themselves whether they have a carnal mind or a spiritual mind. Nowhere in those verses is that idea presented. Look at verse 9.

  1. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:9 KJV

Paul’s condition is solely “if so be that the Spirit of God dwell IN (emphasis mine) you.” When you look through the entire Bible you see how many times the Spirit fell ON someone but never IN them. The only time the Spirit is mentioned as being placed IN us is in Ephesians 1:13-14.

  1. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
  2. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:13-14 KJV

Until the Jews rejected Stephen’s preaching, recounted in Acts 7, the Holy Spirit was placed ON people but He could leave again. Look at King Saul in the Old Testament. There are several recountings of when the Spirit was placed upon him and he prophesied. Yet it is also recounted that the Spirit left him and he flew into literally murderous rages. Saul tried to kill David several times, to the point of pursuing him! Do you really think the Holy Spirit would stick around when such sin is on a person’s mind and in their heart?

Look at modern Christianity’s favorite holiday, Pentecost. That’s where the Pentecostals get their name! I’ve not heard of a denomination called the Christmases or the Easters (or Passovers for that matter). Look at Acts 2.

  1. AND when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
  2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
  3. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
  4. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-4 KJV

Notice the end of verse 3: “it sat UPON (emphasis mine) each of them.” That verse 4 says they were filled with the Holy Ghost in no way implies the Holy Ghost now dwelled in them. Verse 3 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit stayed “outside” as it were. If you think that’s not enough, look at Peter’s sermon detailed in the same chapter, verse 17 to be specific.

  1. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
  2. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Acts 2:16-17 KJV

Verse 17 says “upon all flesh”. What people don’t want to believe is that the time we live in now is different from the Old Testament, from Gospel times, from Pentecost and from the Tribulation and Millennial Reign. We are living now solely because the Jews rejected Jesus and then rejected Stephen! Stephen said he saw Christ STANDING at the right hand of God! The only times Christ is mentioned as standing is when He is returning to Earth! If the Jews had repented after Stephen’s sermon, God would have started the Tribulation and Christ would have returned and reigned for 1,000 years and fulfilled the book of Revelation! We would never have existed! Yet God knew the Jews would reject Stephen. One only has to read the various prophecies in the Old Testament to see that. All the mentions of the heathen, the Gentiles, the people who speak a strange language, etc.

In the same book of Romans that Dr. Barnhouse appeared to love so much, it is made crystal clear why we Gentiles have been given a special dispensation and a different way of being saved. It is to make the Jews jealous and to bring them back to God! When the fulness of the Gentiles is completed, the Rapture will happen and the current method of salvation will end.

  1. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
  2. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Romans 11:24-25 KJV

The Tribulation and Millennial Reign will absolutely be a time where people will have to walk right or risk immediate death. All the warnings Jesus gives in the Gospels, where people should flee to the hills, or one person is standing and another one is left, is talking about that time! WE do not have to worry about that because the Holy Spirit has been SEALED in us! God placed the Holy Spirit in us as a sign that He would keep His promise and make us inherit eternal life with Christ Jesus. Our salvation is settled at that point and CANNOT be lost! The Spirit CANNOT leave us even if he wants to (and believe me, he wants to!). That’s why Paul warns against grieving the Spirit because the Spirit lives inside the Christian and cannot leave. If this were pre-Stephen the Spirit could leave and get away. He cannot now. God sealed him in us.


Since the Holy Spirit is sealed in us, and Christ Jesus performed the spiritual circumcision where he cut away our flesh, Romans 8:1-9 is only applicable to the modern Christian because there is NO condemnation! We have the Spirit so there isn’t even the remotest possibility that we are “after the flesh”. We still have our flesh and still struggle, awaiting the redemption of our bodies, but sin is not imputed to us. We are doing bad works, that will burn at the judgment seat, but our salvation is not an issue.

  1. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  2. Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  3. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 KJV

  1. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
  2. For other foundation can no man lay that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
  3. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
  4. Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
  5. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
  6. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

I Corinthians 3:10-15 KJV

How much clearer does it have to be made? If we perform good works, ones that please God, they will survive the judgment seat’s fire and we shall receive a reward. If the work is bad, it will burn and we will suffer loss BUT WE WILL NOT LOSE OUR SALVATION!!!!!


When Dr. Barnhouse said the Lord had showed him that Romans 8:5-6 meant something different than he’d been teaching for many years, he revealed that the truth was not his primary aim AND that he did not follow Paul’s teachings even though Paul alone is the apostle to the Gentiles.

What I really don’t understand is why anyone thinks Dr. Barnhouse’s way is preferable to the clear teachings of Scripture found by rightly dividing the King James Bible? Why did Dr. Barnhouse find “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6 KJV) preferable to “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Why would someone want a way of life that makes you question your salvation every moment, never letting you progress beyond that point, giving no security at all AND is contradicted by rightly dividing the King James Bible to the truth that a Christian is crucified with Christ and is a new creature, every second a new chance to do right, to live righteously, “as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13). Let’s look at that whole verse.

  1. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
  2. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
  3. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 6:12-14 KJV


So, Dr. Barnhouse would have Christians live in contradiction to Romans 6:12-14 (a passage he had to cover earlier in his studies to get to the Romans 8 passage that prompted this article) and live as if you were still on the cross! I had a guy in a laundromat tell me that he still believed “take up your cross” was active and a command for Christians today! Why does anyone think that? Christ himself is not on the cross, why should we be? If you want to follow Christ you have to follow the Risen Saviour and He gave his instructions to Paul to give to us. Anyone else is preaching another gospel and is not to be followed. We can learn from the entire Bible (and there are so many riches in the Old Testament alone, especially Nehemiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) but our pattern for living today is to follow Paul, as the Risen Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, commands us to.

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