The Bible and False Teachers
As the ticking of God's prophetic timeclock brings us closer and closer to the day of the Lord's return, believers need to be on guard against false teachers and false teachings.
By means of laziness, deception, apathy, willing rebellion, and myriad other methods, people today seem more apt to indulge in and adhere to blatantly false doctrine than ever before.
Not only is this a sign of the end times, but it's a threat to the eternal heavenly destination of innumerable souls.
Christians should be on guard against the false teachings of our day so that we can educate our friends and neighbors who might be at risk of being deceived.
For as the news of our time illustrates, false teachings and deception are widespread, even in "the church"...
A new survey finds Christianity is no longer the default faith of most Americans. The survey was conducted by The Barna Group, which found that half of Americans believe Christianity is just one of many options for genuine faith. George Barna, the group's founder, believes the study confirms that more Americans are adopting a pluralistic mindset. "Americans are increasingly very accepting of a diverse array of faiths," he notes. "They're less likely to think that Christianity is right or accurate in what it teaches." [More...]
According to the rest of the story, most Americans are developing their views on faith from "conversations they have with friends" rather than the Word of God as outlined in the Bible. Despite the fact that Americans are more literate than most of the people who have lived throughout history, the overwhelming majority refuse to read the bible for guidance in daily living, choosing instead to follow their own teachings and desires.
Almost 2,000 years ago, Paul warned of this time in a letter to Timothy:
"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NLT)
The following exerpts from the Friday Church News Notes on The Way of Life website, only serve to underscore the depths to which America has fallen.
More Emerging Coolness: The Purple People Leader
Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, has announced a series of talks on leadership principles entitled "Purple People Leader." Whatever can be said about these people, one thing is sure; they are worldly cool. The name is a take on the silly 1950s pop song "Purple People Eater." Since it hit #1 on the Billboard chart in 1958, the song has sold one hundred million copies. It is about a "one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater" that comes to earth to play in a rock & roll band. Furtick says, "Rather than run from culture we have chosen to harness it..." [More...]
Harness the culture? Be "Worldly Cool"?
Embracing this world is not embracing God Almighty, but rather, the god of this world:
"Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT)
Those who think the Word of God needs worldly culture to be relevant simply don't understand the message of the Gospel.
Also from WayOfLife.Org:
The latest edition of Saddleback Church's publication "The Slice of Life" advertises "Rock Star Karaoke." The announcement says, "Are you a single adult looking to blow off some steam and sing your heart out? Then join us for Rock Star Karaoke this Saturday, January 24 at 8:00 p.m. in Tent 2 and sing your favorite hits and watch others do the same! This is your chance to feel like a rock star, so bring your friends!" [More...]
Here's what Paul had to say about such things in his letter to the Romans:
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Paul is explicit in his assertion that copying the behavior and customs of this world is not in conformance with God's will. Just because such events enjoy worldly success by successfully assembling thousands in "a church" doesn't mean they are activities sanctioned by God:
"There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." Proverbs 14:12 (NLT)
Conformance to the Word of God should be our measuring stick for success, not any worldly outcome.
Once one of the nation's most popular televangelists, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller is watching his life's work crumble. His son and recent successor, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, has abruptly resigned as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral. The shimmering, glass-walled megachurch is home to the "Hour of Power" broadcast, an evangelism staple that's been on the air for more than three decades. [More...]
Who is Robert Schuller?
According to the article:
He studied marketing strategies to attract worshippers and preached a feel-good Christianity, describing himself as a "possibility thinker" and spinning his upbeat style into a 10,000-member church and a broadcast watched by millions worldwide. [More...]
We've seen this time and time again.
Does the Gospel of Christ need a marketing strategy?
Is it not worthy of attracting people on its own merit?
Later in the article, we read this disturbing tidbit:
The Schullers consider the church a family business and the younger Schuller's 2006 appointment was sanctioned by the Crystal Cathedral's parent denomination, the Reformed Church in America.
Apparently, the Schuller family considered their ministry "a family business," not an outreach for bringing the Gospel of Christ to those in need. Peddling the Word of God for profit is nothing new.
We've seen it before:
"Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, 'The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be called a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves!'" Matthew 21:12-13 (NLT)
Receiving money for preaching the Gospel of Christ is not contrary to God's will.
However, when money becomes a person's primary motive for evangelism, then something has gone drastically awry. One can not serve two masters. Either you serve Christ, or you serve money. But you can not serve both.
As we look around us, many religious organizations are crumbling. Others seem fine in their outward appearance, but in reality, they're rotten to the core. These organizations have been built on a foundation other than Christ, and any such organization is doomed from the beginning.
That's why our guide should never be worldly organizations whose motives and agendas conform to the world. Instead, our guide should be the Holy scriptures:
"But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money." 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NLT)
Always question doctrines and teachings, whether old or new, to see if they conform to the Word of God as laid out in the Bible. Only in the Word can you find the final authority on the truth.
Always investigate matters for yourself, and don't depend on others, for in this world, false teachers are always among us:
"But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." Jude 1:3-4 (NLT)
Today, the world is host to an endless array of false teachers who will tell a willing public that anything and everything is acceptable to God. They will point to God's unending grace as evidence for believing their lies. But don't listen to them. Listen to the Holy Spirit within you. For the Holy Spirit of God does not chase after worldly desire:
"But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God's Spirit in them." Jude 1:17-19 (NLT)
As false teachers multiply, the Lord's return draws ever closer. In such times, we should strengthen each other and those around us by remaining alert at all times.
Let the Word of God always be our guide; let the Glory of Jesus Christ always be our focus.
Britt Gillette is the founder of End Times Bible Prophecy and the author of Coming To Jesus and Signs Of The Second Coming. Receive his book 7 Signs of the End Times for FREE when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.
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