False Teachers

May 10, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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With all of the different events taking place in the church and all of the men and women who claim to be preaching the gospel, a question arises. How do you know? How can you be sure that the man (or woman) that you are hearing speak is actually speaking the truth? Some talk about how they’ve heard from God and how God “told them” things. Others proclaim that the growth and size of their ministries is proof that God is “blessing” them. There are many “preachers” today, especially in America, and all of them profess to be Bible-believing, truth-preaching, Christians. But are they?

 In the New Testament, there are a number of passages of scripture that should give us pause before we go proclaiming that “Pastor so and so” is the next “up and coming” pastor. Unfortunately, a number of people in the church seem to go by appearance or charm. Others go by whether or not the one preaching agrees with what they already believe. We go by sound or size of the church or by popularity or by relevancy.

 So, how should Christians be testing their pastors/preachers and other people claiming to do the work of God?  Continue Reading False Teachers…

When God gives you what you ask for

July 7, 2008 at 9:35 am | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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I was listening to a Christian talk radio show talking about the “revival” in Lakeland, Florida. They briefly touched on this subject, but it got me to thinking about some things…

 

As humans, it is our nature to desire things. We want our way and will push to differing degrees to get it. This is something that comes with our fleshly nature. If you don’t believe me, get a group of little kids together and give one a popsicle. In seconds you’ll have them all clamoring for a popsicle. If you were to leave them alone, there might even be a fight or two that breaks out. It may seem humorous at first, but this is how all of us act. The newscasts are full of stories where people have manipulated their way into what they wanted. There are stories of marriages destroyed because men and women wanted something (or someone) and did whatever they needed to do to get it. There are stories of huge corporations that have been ruined because a few people did whatever they could to get what they wanted.

 

While I’m sure that anyone who has been around long enough has seen examples of this in the lives of those around them, I’m sure that they’ve seen it in their own lives too. But what happens when it involves God? What happens when we clamor and cry and moan to God for something that we think that we need but probably don’t? While it may be hard to find people to admit this, it happens all the time! We beg and plead for things from God, believing them to be exactly what we need, and sometimes He gives them to us. Oftentimes, this does not bring us the result we expect and actually makes our lives more difficult.

 

In scripture, this happened a number of times. One of the most glaring times occurs is in 1 Samuel 8. In this chapter, the people have come out of Israel and have been through the time of the judges. These were men and women who were raised up as deliverers of God’s people. Samuel was the last judge of Israel. During Samuel’s time as judge, the people of Israel cried out for a king to judge them like all the nations. This thing displeases Samuel and he prays to the Lord. The Lord responds to Samuel and tells him to do as the people wish for they have not rejected Samuel but have rejected the Lord Himself! The Lord was their king and it was He who was their Judge as well. God makes it clear to Samuel that this is the same thing that they have done since they were brought out of Egypt. They have forsaken the Lord and His Word for their own desires. They have turned their back on the One who would rule over them with a just and fair hand in favor of a human king. God then proceeds, through Samuel, to tell His people what will happen to them because of this human king. Samuel ends with a chilling phrase (1 Sam. 8:18):

 

“Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

 

The response of the people echoes the response of so many “Christians” today. The very next verse says that they refused to listen to the voice Samuel. They told him that they wanted a king over them so they could be like all the other nations.

 

Just like the people of Israel, I think that many of those who name the Name of Christ have refused to listen. While they profess to follow Jesus, and they can sing the hymns and speak the lingo; in their hearts, many of them desire to be just like everyone else. We see this in stories where members of a church are prosecuted for stealing money from the church. We also see this in the direction that many of the churches are going these days. We hear much about social issues and very little about the gospel. We see events, concerts, and conferences that bring in a lot of money, but they do very little in the way of changing the people attending. It seems that the people of God are once again trying to be just like those around them, and just like before, God will give them what they want.

 

This brings me to things like the Lakeland “revival”. I’ve heard the reports and seen many of the videos and I can’t help but wonder if this is basically God saying, “Ok, you’ve clamored for this for a while and you wouldn’t listen to my Word so, here you go!” I can’t see anything going on in Lakeland as being of the Lord. To hear the way the “revival” is going is bad enough. The stories about visions of heaven and “face to face” encounters with Jesus should make all of us at least skeptical. The videos, on the other hand, make me sick and angry at the same time. To see a “pastor” who weighs over 200 pounds run across the stage and kick a man who has stage-four colon cancer in the gut is appalling. To then hear that same “pastor” tell the man that he was being “obedient to the Lord”, and that sometimes you have to “drive the demons out” by kicking the man in the gut, is horrible. Is this the “revival” that America needs? Is this revival at all? Or is this God finally giving us what we’ve clamored for?

 

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul gives Timothy a solemn charge (verses 1 and 2):

 

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

 

This is what Paul expects Timothy to spend his life doing. He is to be preaching the Word. Not his own version of the gospel, but that which Paul preached, which is the same thing that the other Apostles and Jesus Himself preached. This is what Christians are to be doing. This is what pastors are to be doing. The interesting thing about this charge is that there is a reason for it:

 

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

 

While I believe that these things have always happened, I believe that it is happening with a greater frequency and with more damage than ever before. People today, including many “Christians”, are looking for preachers and teachers that will preach to them what they want to hear. They are in agreement with the pastor when his “word from the Lord” agrees with their own desires. Sadly, they are having no trouble finding these types of “Christian” “leaders”.

 

Before he gives Timothy his solemn charge, Paul spends all of chapter three preparing Timothy for these people.

 

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 – emphasis mine)

 

Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also. (2 Timothy 3:8-9)

 

But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  (2 Timothy 3:13)

 

The remedy that Paul gave Timothy for this is the same one that we need to be using today:

 

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

What we need in the church today is to get back to the scriptures. They are what we have been given to be equipped for every good work. We don’t need “revivals” where the “pastors” are beating the congregation. We don’t need heavenly visions or “face to face encounters”. What we need is to get back to the truth of the Word and to allow it to be the authority in our lives. We need to start studying it and applying it rightly so that we may turn around and teach others. We need to start pointing out the false and avoiding these men and women like we’re told.

 

Paul’s warning for Timothy should be something that the church today takes seriously. It should be something that we are ever on the alert for. For those who see this “revival”, or any other “ministry” that goes against scripture, as something good and “holy”, take another look through the eyes of scripture. If you still see these things as “moves of God”, then you and I will have to disagree…

 

Your thoughts?


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