Warning on Doug Stauffer's Book "One Book Rightly Divided"
Updated: Jan 2
In spite of Doug Stauffer's profitable stance on the King James Bible, there are very important reasons to not read this very dangerous and heretical book, and avoid it.
A number of years ago now, I bought this book thinking it would help me to understand the Bible better. Not only was my philosophy wrong, the book did the opposite. Fast forward about a decade and we end up in a church where this book and author is not only highly exalted, the book itself is given away freely by the pastor. Unbelievable. Out of that came this warning report, which I shared with that pastor and some of the people of that church, but they didn't like the warning. Man on a pedestal is more important than the Word of God or a mere "trouble-maker" warning about their exalted saint. God has instructed me to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Th. 5:21) and “to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Ju. 1:3). And so I will.
“Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” (2 Ch 19:2)
Stauffer indicates his book will bring forth the “key” to properly understanding the Bible, hence the cover illustration featuring a key on a Bible, but this is not true right from the starting blocks since a saint doesn’t need a “key” to understand the Bible, and nevertheless, if there were such a “key,” it would ONLY be true salvation, the new birth, the pure gospel which is the power of God, which brings immediate indwelling of the Spirit of truth and the understanding of literal truth in Scripture. The Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of Truth” (Jn 14:17; 16:13) and the Author of Holy Writ, and He teaches the truth to all He indwells (see 1 Jn 2:20-21, 27). Ironically, the book itself presents the very opposite of what the book is titled. Rightly, it could be titled “One Book Falsely Divided.” If nothing else, the author reveals that he does not actually understand how to rightly divide the Word of truth and that is terribly concerning in light of what passages such as 1 Jn 2:20-21, 27 teach.
Consider some of the number of very serious errors in Stauffer’s “key” to rightly dividing the Bible, brought about by falsely dividing Gods Word, and embracing the false hyper-dispensationalism teaching.
1. He claims Paul preached a different gospel than Peter, and Peter didn’t preach the gospel of the grace of God (p. 26).
No, Paul didn’t preach a different gospel than Peter and No Peter didn’t preach a different gospel than the gospel of Gods grace. He preached the exact same gospel as all the other preachers in Gods Word (e.g. 2 Pet. 3:9). There is not even one hint at such abstract ideas found anywhere in Gods Word. Not only was Paul’s gospel the same as Peter’s, it was the same as every other true preacher that’s ever lived, including all the prophets of the OT. The gospel/salvation has never changed. It’s exactly the same throughout history, whether under the O.T. or now or in the Great Tribulation. Its all the same.
2. He claims in some dispensations people were saved by works.
No they definitely were not. He claims people will be saved by works during the Tribulation (p. 23). He also claims Abraham had to keep his salvation through works (p. 175). Absolutely false and the same egregious interpretation of Jam. 2 that Rome teaches. Abraham was saved by faith in Jesus Christ through grace in Gen. 15:1-6 (see also Rom. 4:1-8) and he is the prototype of true faith for our time and for all time (Rom 4:18-25). Salvation in the 70th week of Daniel is exactly the same as today and in the OT times. So according to Stauffer depending on the dispensation during which a person lives, he may have to work to keep his salvation, meaning that the sacrifice of Christ is not completely sufficient for some. Again, this is certainly not true and reflective of a false gospel by one that doesn’t know how to rightly divide the word of truth, which again is ironic considering the book is on that very subject. This is “another gospel” (2 Cor 11:4) which is a perverted gospel (Gal 1:6-9). Salvation has never been by works, only ever by grace (Rom 11:6) and what he writes about Abraham is exceedingly egregious and revealing of one who doesn’t understand truth. Rom. 4 is so clear about all this, as are hundreds of other Scripture. Stauffer is teaching a works-salvation here and does not believe in salvation by grace for all.
3. He claims Hebrews and James teach losing salvation (pp. 23, 29).
No they don’t. That would contradict the rest of Scripture and again would be a works “gospel.” Hebrews happens to be one of the clearest and strongest books on the subject of eternal security of salvation. It is in his misinterpretation of Jam. 2 that he supports his error on Abraham’s alleged works salvation, which is plain heresy.
4. He claims 1 John teaches salvation by faith plus works (p. 56).
Again, absolutely not. 1 John is a crucial epistle on the subject of evidence of salvation. It gives assurance to those truly born again (because they meet the dozen plus proofs of true conversion in this epistle) and revelation to the false professor of their lost estate. No truly saved person has ever viewed this epistle to be one teaching faith plus works.
5. He claims only Paul’s epistles are for the churches and that Paul was the spokesmen for the church (p. 17).
He says, “God’s specific directions for the Church are found predominantly in the thirteen epistles that God used Paul to pen for the Church” (p. 22). Definitely not true. This contradicts a lot of scripture including Peter and the other apostles and prophets who wrote the N.T. The entire N.T. is for churches, even much of the O.T. (see Jam 5:10; 1 Cor 10:11). While we know that Paul holds a unique place as the apostle to the Gentiles and he was given some wonderful revelations of church truth, he was not the only apostle who wrote for the churches. The non-Pauline N.T. epistles are as much for the Church as Paul’s are, Paul’s revelations in no way contradict those of the General Epistles, and he did not preach a different gospel from the others.
6. He claims the four gospels and general epistles of Hebrews to Revelation, while containing some church age applications, are actually written for Great Tribulation saints (pp. 20, 27).
He categorizes this into the so-called Age of Readiness, when people are looking for Christ’s coming kingdom. Stauffer claims that these books are not addressed directly to the church-age believer and that reading them is like reading mail intended for someone else (p. 28), and that they are primarily written for the Tribulation time (p. 47). This is patently false and has zero Biblical support. Where in the world would someone come up with such a philosophy?! He very clearly does not understand Scripture and the right division of it, which is ironically the very subject of this book. To the contrary, the General Epistles are fully church-age revelations, like the rest of the NT. The epistle of James was written for the churches in this present age as certainly and fully as Ephesians. There are no doctrinal contradictions between Paul’s epistles and the General Epistles, which is where heretics like Stauffer get their confusion from. They claim to have the “key” to rightly understanding Scripture, but in so saying and then expounding, they reveal themselves to be blinded to the truth and false dividers of God’s Word and false teachers. And the book of Acts, though we recognize its transitional character and the fact that there are things in it of a temporary nature (e.g. the apostolic miracles), it should be studied and applied as church doctrine and practice.
7. He claims the book of Acts was not given “to show how to establish the local church or its functions” (p. 72).
He says, “The church should base its existence or functions upon the book of Acts any more than upon a history book of the Soviet Union” (ibid). Yep, that’s some pretty serious heresy. The book of Acts details the beginnings of the local churches and is written to all church-age believers on the practice and doctrine of local independent churches.
8. He claims the seven churches of Revelation 1-3 are not local bodies of Christ (p. 29).
But that’s all they actually are. Seven local independent bodies of Christ located in Asia Minor in the 1st century. It is abundantly clear that Stauffer reads into scripture whatever he wants to read into it (which is the false interpretation methodology of eisegesis), and that the Holy Spirit is not his teacher.
9. He teaches lots of other heresy in the book.
Among many other examples that could be given, in chapter 3 he claims: “One must consider that if any Tribulation saint takes the Mark of the Beast, there is no hope (Revelation 14:9-11). Faith alone will not save him.” This is an excellent example of the confusion and heresy that Stauffer teaches in this book. Salvation has never changed and will never change. It’s always been by repentant faith, and it will continue to be like that in the seven year Tribulation period. No saint will ever take the mark of the beast! Those that take the mark of the beast during the Tribulation are lost people, the text makes that abundantly clear (Rev. 14). Their mark seals them as eternally lost, but they were already lost. That is why "faith alone will not save him" because it is not true Biblical "faith."
Other issues with Stauffers book is the corrupted repentance, which means a corrupted gospel (Gal 1:8-9) which fits with the rest of what he teaches about Scripture and the heresy of works salvation. Another issue is his quotation of compromisers or heretics such as Charles C. Ryrie, John R. Rice, I. M. Haldeman, and Louis Sperry Chaffer, which is very concerning. He also embraces false teachings such as “carnal Christianity,” which was invented, or popularized, by the heretic Louis Sperry Chaffer and propagated by revivalist IFB churches today, which is most.
10. He also zealously embraces hyper-dispensationalism, as noted here in all these errors, which is plain heresy and irreconcilable with God’s Word.
His teaching is largely the same as that which has been promoted by the ravening heretic Peter Ruckman for many years, though Stauffer gives Ruckman no credit (see here for more on Ruckman: What about Ruckman?) He does however give credit to a man from whom he received “the principles of right division,” which was Dave Reese, who is a hyper-dispensationalist like Stauffer and a very confused and heretical teacher in his own right.
Stauffer’s expanded third edition (2006) slightly modifies a few of these things, but it presents the same type of heretical hyper-dispensationalism. He does not renounce anything he taught in previous editions.
Unbelievably, Stauffer even has a chapter warning about “hyper-dispensationalism”! In this, he conveniently redefines hyper-dispensationalism to mean something other than what he himself believes and teaches. In fact, he sets up a straw man variety of hyper-dispensationalism that doesn’t actually exist, or if it does exist, is very rare. Many dispensational teachings are in error and all hyper-dispensational teachings are heresy. Stauffer defines hyper-dispensationalism as “any intentional false division of the Bible” (p. 149). Well his book is full of “false division of the Bible” without even knowing his motives.
Stauffer is also duplicitous and cowardice. He refuses to take a stance upon what he writes. Back in 2016, during a debate on the rapture with Joe Schimmel, when confronted with an argument against some of his teachings written within this book, he quickly backed down and made excuses. He did not stand by the words he wrote. Part of his reply was, “I wrote that book years ago and nobody’s views stay the same forever” and he no longer fully believed what was written in his book and that he was actually in the middle of re-writing it, yet he had just been supporting that very book mere months prior to doing the debate in an interview. So he will stand by his book when he’s trying to sell copies, but in intellectual debates he backs down. The only acceptable rewrite would be to destroy the book all together since the entire book is based upon a false and heretical foundation. But that hasn’t happened, so Stauffer is simply duplicitous.
In conclusion, beware of the “keys” to the Bible that are offered by false teachers such as Doug Stauffer.
Any claim, such as the one made by Stauffer in this book, that someone has discovered a “new key to” or has only recently learned the “real meaning of” Scripture is false. If it is new it is not true, and if it is true it is not new! The real key to understanding the Bible is firstly true salvation, then simply taking God at His word, to approach the Bible through the rules of normal language, and to let the Bible interpret and speak for itself, rightly dividing the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). The Holy Spirit only teaches in this manner, and He does so to all them He indwells (1 Jn. 2:20-21, 27).
Irregardless of sincerity or intentions, this book by Stauffer is seriously confusing and contrary to Scripture, and contains trucks loads of error, lies, heresy and damnable heresy (2 Pet 2:1). It presents a false gospel, which is damnable heresy, and the Bible warns those who preach a false gospel (Gal 1:6-7) are “false brethren” (Gal. 2:4-5) and “accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9) and there is a lot of false gospel in this book. Unbelievably, Stauffer actually accuses this of the Apostle Peter, as referred to in the first point in the warning, which is very frightful. Claiming Peter preached a different gospel than Paul (and not only Peter, but all the O.T. prophets, and the angel in Rev. 14, etc) means Peter and the others are accursed, since Paul said God will curse any man who preaches a gospel different from his! (Gal. 1:6-9).
Paul said true believers “rightly divide the Word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) but Stauffer’s book is a disaster of false division.
No one should give any heed to it. It should be burned or locked away in the box of Christian poison. We are commanded to have the attitude of the Psalmist:
“Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” (Ps 119:127-128).
We are to prove ALL things (1 Th 5:21), to test everything by the Word of God (Ac 17:11), to preach with rebuke and reproof (2 Tim 3:16-17; 4:1-4), to earnestly contend for the faith (Ju 1:3). Without judging and reproof, there is no mechanism of correction and error can grow apace. We are to be as the Berean’s, who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (A. 17:11) and then “mark them . . . and avoid them” that teach false doctrine (Rom. 16:17-18). Hence this expose of Doug Stauffer and his ‘One Book Rightly Divided’ book.
I find it simply shocking that professing Christians would actually recommend this seriously heretical book or give it away to others, not only the pastor of our former church, but also independent Baptist so-called preachers such as William Grady and J. Wendell Runion of International Baptist Outreach Missions. In his glowing Foreword to Stauffer’s book (which he calls a “spiritual masterpiece”), Grady said that “this book will undoubtedly create shock waves within certain ‘camps’ of fundamentalism.” The only shock waves it should create is the blatant heresy that streams from its pages.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Am 3:3)
“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Pr 13:20)
Doug Stauffer needs to be marked and avoided, NOT embraced and promoted.
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom 16:17-18)